In a few conversations recently, I was asked to describe my leadership style. One with a recruiter, one with a startup-founder, and another was a friend looking for ways to improve. I don’t make any claims about where I’m at in my leadership journey though I do have several principles and methods I’ve adapted that have shaped how I manage and lead today.
My management style has been shaped by mentors I’ve worked for and various authors such as Jim Collins, John Doerr, Patrick Lencioni, Ray DalioRay Dalio Author, American billionaire investor, and hedge fund manager. Founder of investment firm Bridgewater. Author of Principles series of books, Simon Sinek, David Marquet, and several others. Each of these authors has provided valuable insights and techniques that have helped me to manage teams and coach individuals effectively.
One of the most important things I have learned is the importance of having the right people in the right roles, as Collins states in his book “Good to Great”. This means ensuring each team member is well-suited to the job they’re doing and that they have the skills and experience needed to be successful. Success is best achieved when everyone on the team understands their role and are aware of the goals and objectives we are working towards.
Another important principle that I have come to rely on is the idea of a meritocracy as Dalio describes in his book “Principles”. This means that I believe that people should participate and be rewarded based on their performance and contributions rather than on their seniority or status within an organization. An environment of trust must be cultivated internally such that no one holds back. I believe that this is the best way to ensure that the most capable and talented ideas and people rise to the top and that the team is able to perform at its best.
I have also come to rely on the idea of a level 5 leader, as Collins describes in his book “Good to Great”. A level 5 can balance a strong sense of humility with a fierce determination to achieve great results. I believe that this type of leader is best able to inspire and motivate their team to create a positive and productive work environment.
Another key principle that I have come to rely on is the idea of helping people find their “why” as Sinek writes in his book “Start with Why”. When people understand the purpose and meaning behind their work, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated. I have found that by helping team members to understand the bigger picture and how their work fits into it, they are more likely to be committed and passionate about their work.
Finally, I have found that implementing OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) for goal and people management, as Doerr writes in “Measure What Matters”, along with regular check-ins, has been extremely beneficial in managing teams and individuals. This system ensures that everyone is aligned on the goals and objectives and that progress is tracked and evaluated regularly. With OKRs team members stay focused and motivated and helps ensure that any issues or problems are identified and addressed early on.
Today I view managing people and teams as a challenging but rewarding aspect of being a leader. This was not true early in my career when I thought my talent alone could make projects succeed. The ideas and concepts of various authors have changed my views, shaped my management style, and have provided valuable insights and techniques that have helped me to manage and motivate teams and individuals more effectively. By following these principles, I seek to create a positive and productive work environment that inspires and motivates the teams I work with to achieve great results.
I list many of books and authors referenced above in my resources page here on the site.