Outstanding Leaders and The Duality of Balanced Leadership
We often hear people refer to the notion of outstanding leadership, but what does that mean? Some believe that two distinct perspectives in the leadership spectrum are directly correlated to outstanding leadership. The first is viewing the leader as someone who commands and motivates from a distance. The second is a leader who pursues an up close and personal approach with employees. I believe outstanding leaders combine both of these perspectives into their leadership style.
Commands and Motivates from a Distance
When I consider a leader who commands and motivates from a distance, what comes to mind is the ability of a leader to navigate the organization in the right direction. In the same way a sailor utilizes a sextant to verify the angle between a star or planet on the horizon to determine the latitude and their location out at sea, a leader must navigate all the complexities within an organization. This includes conveying a strong vision for the company, setting realistic goals, and holding employees accountable for results.
Pursues an Up-close and Personal Approach
A leader who has an up-close and personal approach with employees is someone that I view as a mentor. This individual is approachable, available to employees at any time, and has a genuine concern for the organization's outcome and the employees they lead. These leaders are relatable and have a level of humility that attracts people to them. My first mentor during my career in Transportation and Logistics was Richard Borzym. He held an executive position within the company and had a great deal of responsibility. Despite the demands of the organization, he invested his time and effort into my career development. When I made mistakes, he gently guided me to reflect on the outcome and how I could have handled the situation differently. He encouraged me when I doubted my abilities to accomplish specific tasks and always made himself available to me professionally and personally. He was a wonderful mentor and friend and someone I have never forgotten. I learned a lot from him and a lot about myself. He helped me become a better version of myself, and much of my career success is based on the foundation that he helped me establish in my early 20's. He was a great example of a leader who operated from these two perspectives.
Demonstrating Outstanding Leadership
Exceptional leaders are comfortable balancing the need to focus on the future while also maintaining a foot in the organization's current standing. They are approachable and recognize the importance of investing time in their employees. Balancing this type of duality can be challenging at times. Leaders are often tasked with difficult feats, and typically every step they take and every move they make places them in the arena of duality. The need to balance the tumultuous waters within their organization while simultaneously remaining agile to ensure their companies maintain a competitive advantage. It requires a delicate balance of managing the organization from a distance and up-close, which enables the leader to, in essence, "zoom in and out" to have more operational clarity.
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Dr. Cristina Rosario DiPietropolo is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Leader Essentials Group, an executive consulting firm focused on strategy execution and leadership development. Extensive experience across multiple industries and highly skilled in the areas of strategic planning, organizational behavior, human resource management, change management, leadership, and digital marketing. Over ten years of teaching experience as a Visiting Professor of Management, with a special focus on leadership in entrepreneurship, organizational behavior, and international management.