Moving a team in the proper direction requires leaders that can keep the compass pointed toward the correct goal. Leaders that can chart out the course, see the ocean of opportunity, and navigate the waters ahead. Leaders that are good at moving along according to the mission and values of the people and organization they serve.
Unfortunately many leaders shipwreck their teams, and themselves.
There are 3 types of leadership styles, 3 directions towards which they bring a team. Some are destructive, others counter-productive. Only one will achieve success for themselves and those around them. They are the anchormen, the pirates, and the captains. Let’s take a quick look at the traits of each.
Anchormen. The Landlubbers.
These are people who hold the team back. They are the landlubbers that would rather stay ashore and want you to stay with them so they can have company to allay their fears.
They don’t embrace change or progress. They will discourage anyone else from charging forward. There are many reasons for this: fear of their own inadequacy, of change, of being challenged by other’s growth, just to name a few. Sometimes it’s because they don’t by into the mission of the organization. For whatever the reason, they would rather embrace the status quo.
Anchormen discourage people from any ideas they bring up.
However, in today’s world, if you stay put you fall farther behind. Then there needs to be more energy extended to catch up. In a yacht race, is crucial to stay in the race from the start. Lagging behind will require a lot more work from your crew to make up.
Pirates. The Scourge of the Seas.
Of the 3 leadership directions, this one is the most subtle. Pirates may fully help chart the forward progress, but as the ship is sailing they will alter the course while everyone is busy and before one knows it, the team has drifted away.
As the ones who have a personal agenda, pirates seek riches and loyalty all for themselves. They will start giving askew orders and gain a following, then start to turn a small crew into a band that is dissatisfied with the mission. Before the rest of the team knows, there is discord. The pirates goal is to sabotage the mission, and thus claim the victory all to themselves. This is the classic definition of mutiny.
Their basis for getting off course is nothing more than to satisfy an ego or a need that isn’t met from the team, so the ship and her crew become the vehicle for obtaining these selfish ambitions. One must be discerning of this type of leader, and ring the bell when they see the mission veer off course.
Captains. The Stargazers that Chart the Course.
These are the true leaders. They are the ones that keep the maps and scopes out at all times for everyone to see. They assign everyone a specialized duty, and expect nothing less than the duties to be met. Yet these leaders also enable the crew to do whatever it takes, to adopt an “all hands on deck” mentality when extra effort is needed to weather a storm.
Captains build a strong and dedicated crew. They instill a heightened sense of mission that allows their teams to see the final destination even amidst choppy waters and meager provisions (resources). This type of crew is not phased by the landlubbers, and will resist the pirates – maybe even make them walk the plank.
Captains will give their crew the proper provisions, recognition, and sacrifice their comfort if necessary for the sake of the team. They carry their duty with honor and dignity, knowing that they’re modeling the behavior they want in order for their mission to be obtained.
Conclusion: Be on the lookout for the various types of crew in your organizations ships. Get aboard. Thwart the pirates. Support the captain. Become a captain. Set your sails to new vistas, because life boats never make it to the golden horizon.