50 Posts :50 Rules Tom Peters on Leadership #3

3.    Leadership is confusing as hell.  

No kidding! Have you noticed how many leadership books there are out there? I wrote about this approach to leadership development a few weeks back in the post How much does it cost to learn to lead?. Have you ever wondered why followers are confused by leaders? There really are any number of practices that make up the concept of leadership and the majority of leaders do what comes naturally. They do not follow some educational discipline, no they follow their instincts. They learn from experience. But then where is experience documented like a roadmap for everyone to follow. Just as every human being is truly unique so is the leadership model of every leader. They are all subtly different and who is to say which is right and which is not?

To make matters even more complicated, how a leader interacts with their environment is also contextual. That is they react or interact with their environment in a way that they instinctually believe will achieve the right or best outcome. When they see things not going in a good direction they adapt their behavior to influence the outcome differently. In fact this process is ongoing almost continually. Translation there is no recipe, no one size fits all answer to how to lead in a given situation. This is why in my coaching practice I insist on knowing what is going on, what is the environment, what are the relationships like, what is the leadership context before I offer advice on how you might influence the outcome. I am not there, arm chair quarterbacking can only take you part way.

Challenge: Ask someone who reports to you what they believe your leadership style is. If it is confusing or surprising or even if not ask them to provide specific examples of your behavior that makes then believe that way. Caution you cannot punish or otherwise react negatively to their feedback or you are done.

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