What’s Your Leadership Methodology?

I was recently in a meeting and someone asked me, “What is your leadership methodology?”   Honestly, I thought to myself, “Huh?”  But instead I asked, “what do you mean by methodology?  You mean what do I think makes a good leader?  How do I coach a potential leader?”  I got, “you know what I mean.”  Well, actually I didn’t, but I did get a moment of clarity.  I don’t have a singular methodology when working with individuals or businesses on leadership nor will I ever.  Why?  Simple and well known.  Every individual and business is different. Furthermore, I have yet to come up with a new methodology that surpasses the fundamentals of human engagement.  In my blog post Crazy Busy? Create T.I.M.E, I outlined the core of my beliefs on leadership but thought I would elaborate on what I think makes a good leader.   Could you call it a methadology?  I suppose if you wanted to sound like an expert of sorts or claim that you or I came up with it. Both of which would rarely be true.  The reality is it’s mostly known, unfortunately not widely practiced.  Easy read….in bullet form.

~ Good leaders understand that the most important use of their time is investing in others and not “doing” the work.  This is not easy on the ego.  People felt valued when they were delivering the tangible result.  But when they stepped into a leadership role and were expected to actually spend their time coaching and connecting with people, they questioned their value.

~ Good leaders are comfortable in their own skin.  This is probably one of the most common ones I have to coach people on.  We are all riddled with insecurities (Go back and reread my post, Wave the White Flag), but when we try and compensate for them with things other than vulnerability and humility we land wrong, offend people, look ridiculous, and if truthful, question our own authenticity in our quiet moments.

~ Inspiring leaders not only have deeper purpose but spend the necessary time in helping those they lead connect to deeper purpose and feel valued.  And in doing so align individuals and teams with the desired culture and goals of the company.

~ A good leader speaks in language that makes sense to the person/s in front of him/her.    Asking questions like, “what is your leadership methodology?” or using jargon you learned in your MBA program, are not signs of good leadership.  In my language, good leaders spend much more time trying to relate than sounding smart.

~ Great leaders become trustworthy because their intent, authenticity, and sincerity are consistently visible and felt.

~ Dynamic leaders provide employees clarity…consistently.  Whether it be, “The Gift of Truth” or practical expectations, they provide the employee these opportunities to win and erase irrational thoughts in the person’s mind…you know what I mean because you have had these thoughts…Am I going to get fired?  Am I doing good?  Does he think I am smart?  Why doesn’t she like me?  Dynamic and integral leaders not only provide clarity to erase these thoughts, but they give timely feedback and never surprise someone with an unhappy ending without giving them the opportunity to correct.

~ Superior leaders are “Students first, and teachers second”.  They do not feel the need to sound smart but they do listen with the intent to learn and then when appropriate shed some wisdom on the situation.  Fundamental lesson….we have two ears and one mouth for a reason.

~ The best leaders seek and receive coaching.  No, not a plug for people that do what I do.  A simple truth.

I could go on here but I am guessing you are getting my point.  Leadership, at its core, is about being a decent human being with unwavering intent to help those that we lead.  I made jest of “methodology”.  I did so because I think too many people are surpassing the above (and others) fundamentals and looking for the next wave of methodology that has been repackaged and made to sound sexy…sexier than the last and surely social media ready.

Fact of the matter is, to do some of what I mentioned above is freaking hard work.  It’s gut-wrenching.  Soul checking.  Draining.  And, time sucking.  But, can be more gratifying than anything else and hit the bottom line in ways one could only wish for.  Great leaders master these fundamental things before adopting any textbook methodology because they understand that it will take people to adopt and execute a set of procedures or principles and if they don’t trust you, the leader, implicitly, all will fall short.

If you are struggling to get a group of people behind you or feeling frustrated in your leadership position, please do yourself and the ones you lead a favor and revisit some of the above fundamentals of great leadership.  I should mention that I love discussing and learning new approaches to leading people and change.  I believe that one should be smart and competent…have vision.  But, I am certain that it all comes down to people and having sat with hundreds of employees this past year I can tell you that the above is what people crave.  The work force of today is screaming for authenticity, trustworthiness, unwavering intent, and inspiration from leadership.  And, YOU (Please remember that true leadership is action not position), if you slow down and focus, can provide these things.

So, two months into the new year, press the reset button and lets go back to the basics.  The last thing I will say about leadership is simply that great leaders don’t forget where they came from.  Yes, you have heard this before but, have you forgotten?

Notice that nothing here is sexier than the blog next door or new.  It’s just words from a guy who does in fact care about people and wants desperately to have people experience true leadership on both ends…the gratification in seeing an employee evolve and the happiness one feels when being inspired and directed by a great leader.

I have shared it once and will share it again…Maya Angelo said, “I have learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”


Stay True,


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  1. Bravo Coach , another excellent read. I have to agree that listening plays a huge role in successful leadership. There is nothing more frustrating then not being heard. People often confuse good leadership with a leader who is just a good delegator. You have to motivate and inspire people to do what you need them to do that’s the hard part, without that the delegating just becomes another task on the endless pile of tasks. The end result doesn’t always turn out well and potentially not a true reflection of that employees capabilities so, did the employee fail or did the leader fail the employee ? Stay in the mud with your team, gain respect, be honest, be fair, listen and lead with conviction. Just my thoughts on the subject . :)- Thank you for this powerful post.

  2. As always, I appreciate your transparency and honest approach to leading others to success. There is nothing more important than the act of listening: listening to gain clarity, to understand, to learn, and to lead. I had to chuckle when I read the portion about “what is your methodology “. I knew what your response would be before reading any further. Labels won’t get us very far; following a prescriptive plan won’t either. However, your uncanny ability to understand the need of others is as fluid as the dynamic range of personalities you serve. Lesson learned for the readers.

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