Leadership Style — CEO Shop Talk

Leadership style or cattle today? Hmmm, which one?

Big Red Car here on one of those Texas days that makes you want to get on a horse and herd cattle up the trail, cross the Red River into the Indian Territory, and kick up your heels at a dance hall in Abilene, Kansas.


Listen, Big Red Car, I am not going to Abilene, Kansas. I like it right here. Go away, Big Red Car. Notice the lovely earrings. Cattle are controlled by numbers and they are assets on the hoof.

Maybe not.

OK, so I wrote a blog post a while ago about finding your “authentic” leadership style. I was talking to some CEOs (me, the Big Red Car, not that other guy, The Boss) and we got on the subject of leadership style. Everybody got hung up on the word “authentic.” Haha, it was funny.

Finding Your Authentic Leadership Style <<< read this

Leadership Style, Big Red Car?

Here are some takeaways I was asked to address.

 1. Your leadership style will change over time, based on the subject at hand, and based on the audience.

No, you are not bi-polar or suffering from borderline personality disorder. You are being smart based on the environment in which you are leading. It’s OK.

 2. As you lead and the company follows, there will be things you used to do which become routine and will not require the exertion of leadership.

When you are running a public company, the production of routine US Securities and Exchange reporting (10Qs, 10Ks, 8Ds) will become so routine they get done while you nap.

Board meetings will not be torture sessions.

The best CEOs, eventually, work themselves out of a job and just manage by wandering around asking questions.

 3. Changing situations — hyper growth, crisis management, fundraising — will call for temporary applications of a different style of leadership.

Don’t be afraid to drop in and out of different styles.

 4. Leadership styles become good friends and you become comfortable with them.

Two things — don’t become so comfortable you become archaic. Styles and situations change. Don’t mess with something which works. Do not fix things which are not demonstrably broken.

 5. Use an Anonymous Company Survey to gauge the effectiveness of your leadership style.

This is like using two mirrors to see the bald spot on the back of your head. You want feedback on what is working and what is no. The anonymity heightens the probability you will get something useful.

Read this blog post on The Anonymous Company Survey <<< link. There is an exemplar of an Anonymous Company Survey at that link.

Trust me, you will get gobs of useful feedback.

 6. Don’t get strangled in your literary underwear. There are a million different words used to describe leadership style. Moses did not come down from the Mount with a tablet dealing with leadership style (damn good leader, Moses, no?). Use the words that work for you.

And, dear reader, that is it for today because what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. Be kind to someone today who will spend the rest of the day trying to figure out why.cropped-LTFD-illust_300.png

2 thoughts on “Leadership Style — CEO Shop Talk

  1. Today tried that a little: To get ready for a legal case, needed, say, four copies of an old letter. So, off to my local town library. Walking in, I hesitated and looked around. Since it was late and the library about to close and I the only customer, all the staff looked at me. I checked, and as usual all the staff was female. The one at the reference disk was cute. The several others were cute/pretty 30 years and 100 pounds ago, each. So, I said loudly, “All pretty girls!”.

    That generated some remarks, one of them something about needing new glasses! Hopefully there will be no law suits for sexual harassment!

    So, off to the copying machine. Dropped in three quarters, made four copies for 15 cents each, and punched a button for my change, 75 – 4(15) = 15 cents. But there was then 25 cents in the change chute.

    So, back to the front desk, I recited the arithmetic while quickly all the staff was worried that I would be complaining about the copying machine, and at the end I returned the extra 10 cents. Then the comments from the same staff, the pretty girls, went up about an “honest” person!

    Gee, for just 10 cents I got a reputation at the town library as an honest person! And for 0 cents I got a reputation there for flattering women!

    Then I replied “Now all you girls can take that money for beer and pizza!”.

    Ah, that’s a leadership style of a kind! Sure, after I left, maybe all those women agreed that I was a public pest! Ah, at times a leader has to risk being in part a pest?

    The leadership I wish I’d known was important early on, say, when I was 14, and that I wish Dad had taught me was with girls! I had some just fantastic opportunities (where can I apply to repeat year 14 again, with all the opportunities?), but the girls needed some leadership. E.g., I needed to make clear that what we were after first was to be less lonely, have more affection, and each of us have one more person in our life who cared about us. Then I needed to explain that I wanted her trust and her mother’s trust and never wanted to do anything that would cost me that trust. Then — explain that Mother Nature had grabbed me by the back of the neck and had me care about her, want to have her happy and to do my best to keep her from being hurt, and myself of course never to hurt her.

    Then explain that my family was a member at one of the best churches in town, a wealthy Presbyterian one, where they built a grand, new sanctuary, got a 20 year mortgage, and paid it all off in 12 months, and that they have a very active Youth Group that we could go to — as a couple we would fit in much better socially than going alone. In this way, she could meet some more girls, nice girls, from our school, quite good, and some newer schools, also good closer to that church. Explain that I wanted to have her for Sunday dinner at my house — good food because Dad, a better cook than Mom, did most of the cooking. She, the girl I was talking to, didn’t need to worry about dressing well enough because what she wore to school would be just fine. Should have explained that, to avoid misunderstandings, we needed to communicate clearly about our relationship.

    Then I was 14, she just 12, and still the prettiest human female I ever saw in person, in movies, or as models in magazines. But, without understanding the need for such leadership, we didn’t communicate at all well; she assumed about me too much of the worst she had heard about boys; and we had some misunderstandings that eventually broke us up.

    At the breakup, from a serious misunderstanding from poor communications, with actually nothing at all actually wrong, I felt my guts had been ripped out and I’d lost the third most important thing in my life, and I have good evidence that she cried all night and was deeply upset, and even seriously harmed psychologically, for years, maybe her whole life.

    Dad never explained any need for any such leadership to me.

    Why was the leadership needed so much? Because the US has been seriously hurt too often for too long with too much poor family formation, not enough grandmothers and grandfathers helping young parents be good parents, etc.

    Each time DC takes the US to war or wrecks the US economy, more families are seriously hurt, and more children grow up with too little understanding and too many fears. It’s a really big bummer.

    We need to STOP messing up the economy, e.g., the housing bubble, the 1999 stock market bubble, the Volker 22% prime rate to stop the post-Viet Nam war inflation, the Great Depression, and when we do mess up the economy we need to FIX IT right away and not have the disaster just continue for 8,12, whatever years.

    We need to stay the heck OUT of absurd foreign adventures. And when we do need to do something overseas for “vital US interests,” then we go over there with overwhelming force or whatever we need, get the main stuff DONE quickly, get the heck out and back home, and leave the little stuff undone. We are there for the defense of the US, not to bring Jeffersonian democracy to shitpit hell holes. They will likely remain hell holes, but just ones not much threat to US national security.

    That DC politicians would expend US blood, treasure, and the strength of US families for some “New American Century”, some “new world order,” or to “bring democracy, freedom of religion, freedom of speech” to shitpits and generally police the world is outrageous arrogance and shooting US families in the gut that should be resisted absolutely.

    The harm to US families is a high price we have been terribly slow to see and far too willing to pay. To correct this disaster, we need better leadership from the level of families all the way up to DC.

    For such leadership, I’ve been impressed by Trump: Apparently he saw some of the main needs for better government, e.g., so that he could leave a better country for his and all children. He saw what US citizens were suffering and how to explain to them and get their votes. Then he used his gorgeous Boeing 757 airplane and lots of airplane hangers to give lots of rallies to explain to his target supporters. Okay.

    But he hasn’t stopped there: Instead, he KEEPS explaining to his supporters, continues to have rallies, will have another rally on the night of the WH Correspondents Dinner he won’t attend, each Friday has a weekly update, uses Twitter to pass out the most important news, directly to citizens, undercuts the credibility of the MSM and its ability to make their lies the accepted truth, has at least once a week meetings, speeches, etc. that are well publicized, does frequent sit down interviews, and has one heck of a good staff for publicity. So, he keeps reminding his supporters, several times a week, really essentially daily, sometimes hourly — over and over and over and just never stops.

    Well, I could have used that example with that girl of 12 where I was trying to have us boy/girl friend, less lonely, with more affection and caring, less anxiety, more security, more good connections with family and friends, more fun, etc. Then we could walk to the closest public library, get the best books we could find on couples, sit and read them together, take notes, pick what we liked, decide to “go steady”, meet with an assistant minister of my church for some advice on how to do well going steady, etc.

    Leadership. All simple to do. I could have done it all. I just needed some leadership from my father to get me started.

    Now with Trump, the US is finally getting some much needed, good leadership. Finally.

    Our country has been so short on good leadership for so long that it has been too willing too often to pick and/or put up with some really bad leadership from DC. The costs have been grimly high beyond belief. Maybe after Trump the US social, psychological, and political capital will be enough better to have the US finally have really excellent leadership for at least several generations. Hope so.

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