I was recently sitting around with a group of friends from all walks of life and career backgrounds discussing various leadership styles and how different types of professional jobs require different types of leaders. Some believe leadership style is situational. Others think a good leader can work in any field. Most of us would agree that leadership doesn’t just happen in the office — there’s leadership in parenting, marriage, community, friendship, philanthropy and just about any activity where we have to interact with others.
As in any aspect of life, communication and leadership go hand-in-hand. Just the other day, I was told about a law firm executive who suspected her assistant was dilly-dallying too much throughout the day, surfing the web, catching up on her FB messages and Insta posts, etc., when she was supposed to be getting work done. Instead of discussing these issues directly with her employee, the boss decided to BLOCK certain sites from her work computer, and forbid the employee from using her phone while at her desk. There’s not really a right or wrong way to lead, but I would venture to say that this particular boss probably won’t be getting an A+, 5-star rating on “Yelp @ Work” if such a thing actually existed. Instead of leading with contempt and fear, a better alternative would be to employ absolutely ANY OTHER strategy.
Let’s think about this: What would YOU do if you suspected an employee of being distracted while at work? Would you speak to the employee about it? Would you install spyware on their computer? Fire them? Write them up? What I would do is ask myself WHY this employee is not interested in what they are getting paid to do. It may be that they are not being challenged enough. Or maybe they simply don’t like what they are doing. Maybe they feel they are being underpaid or under-appreciated. Maybe they are going through a rough time at home, or a recent breakup. A good leader asks themselves what they can do to better motivate and encourage people around them to be the best version of themselves possible — in and out of the boardroom.
For me, when I find someone whom I think is exceptional, smart, driven and generally a good person, I will do everything in my power to ensure they stay in my life — whether as an employee, business partner or a friend — and that we continue to mutually inspire one another to not only be better people, but happier human beings as we try to make sense of this unpredictable, weaving and winding adventure we call life, smiling and laughing at every turn. And that’s the thing of it, when it really comes down to it, to me, the best and most effective type of leadership is the kind that leads with laughter. And that’s no joke.