On Love, Fear, and Building Strengths

On Love, Fear, and Building StrengthsIn response to my recent post “Are the Most Effective Leaders Loved or Feared?” I received this e-mail from Becky, RN BSN Quality Improvement Coordinator :

“I love the fear and love regarding leaders that you posted. I am reminded of Jampolsky’s book, “Love is Letting Go of Fear” that I once read with its inspiration and recommended often.

My experience has shown that warmth will get you everywhere … being real is what people relate to, without the need to be the expert at everything. One can always research for clarification.

Allowing staff to grow and offering responsibility — recognizing the strengths of others — builds character, dedication, and loyalty and will turn out leaders to which you may silently smile to yourself that you just might have had something to do with that! I say that a great leader is one who can go on vacation and come back to a clean desk having staff with problem-solving skills and the ability to replace you!

Becky has packed many key leadership truths in her short comment. Here are a few thoughts she triggered:

• Becky’s comment that “warmth will get you everywhere” has a scientific base as shown in “Demanding Leaders Are Much More Effective – and More Likable“.
• Being real is at the heart of strengths-based leadership development. Leaders are much more effective when building on natural strengths rather than focusing on weakness and trying to change who they really are.
• Going on vacation and coming back to a clean desk is a good test of a leader’s ability to develop a team who owns and solves problems rather than the leader defining his or her job as the chief problem solver. See “Breaking the Manager-Employee Dependence Spin Cycle“, “How Many Monkeys Are On Your Back?” and “Monkey Management: Creating Empowerment and Growth“.
Fear and courage is a key theme of my book, Moose on the Table: A Novel Approach to Communications @ Work. At the time of the book’s publication, I blogged “Courage is at the Core of Leadership“. These themes were explored further in “Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmm on … Courageous Conversations” and “A Kid Gives a Lesson in Courageous Leadership“.

In a follow up e-mail Becky explained that her company was just purchased. Everyone is now waiting to see who will have jobs and who won’t. She writes, “Let’s see about practicing what I preach. Others seem to be more concerned than me. I see an open door if this one closes … every thought today creates tomorrow’s reality … mine isn’t fear filled.


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For over three decades, Jim Clemmer’s keynote presentations, workshops, management team retreats, seven bestselling books, articles, and blog have helped hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. The Clemmer Group is the Canadian strategic partner of Zenger Folkman, an award-winning firm best known for its unique evidence-driven, strengths-based system for developing extraordinary leaders and demonstrating the performance impact they have on organizations. Check out www.clemmergroup.com for upcoming webinars and workshops.

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