Summer can be an ideal time to reflect upon your goals, year-to-date accomplishments, and actions required to make the most of the remaining months of the year. As you navigate the many tasks and responsibilities of your leadership role, remember: attitude and style have a huge impact on where you land - and how successfully you get there!

Leading with Style: Attitude Matters


Many a business decision is influenced by demeanor, attitude and overall likability...

Let's talk leadership.

Most would agree that good leaders are smart, capable, talented individuals with a keen ability to craft and convey a compelling vision, motivate and inspire the people around them, and effectively exert influence in order to make things happen. Good leaders effectively get things done through the collective contributions of others.

The basic foundational "stuff" of good leadership includes plenty of smarts, energy, vision, experience, business sense, organizational savvy, functional/technical expertise, courage, and fortitude. And yet, this fundamental combination of skills, experiences and abilities goes only so far.

So what's the differentiator? What takes leadership from good to great?

Having the opportunity to work with top leaders in some of the world's largest and most successful organizations, I can tell you this. Over and over again, it largely comes down to a matter of style.

Simply put:

It's not (just) what you do or say, it's how you do and say it.

Now don't get me wrong. Substance and ability matter. They matter a lot. They are the necessary but not sufficient underpinnings of leadership. On the other hand, without style, it can be very difficult to achieve the essential task of leadership - inspiring, motivating and influencing others to get the work done.

So, what's your style?

Are you dominant, assertive, perhaps even aggressive in your approach? Do you insist upon total compliance, no questions asked? Do you dismiss (or even punish) pushback from others?

On the flip side, do you drive for consensus and shy away from making decisions in the face of disagreement? Are you hesitant to push forward an assertive agenda? Do you too readily step back from your position when conflict is afoot?

And now that we're talking about it, how do you treat others? Take a moment to think about your interactions with customers, peers, business partners, manager(s) and direct reports. Are you thoughtful, respectful, kind and considerate? Are you curious? Do you inquire, where appropriate, about others' home lives - about their spouses and children, their ailing parents, their long-awaited vacation? And while you're at it, do you share something of your own life with them, so that the relationship takes on color, warmth, dimension and a human touch?

Or are you all business in your interactions? Are others hesitant to approach and engage you? Are they unable to connect with you in order to form the bonds of trust and partnership that fuel all relationships - including those of manager and employee, business partner, peer, mentor and mentee, coach and client?

There's just no getting around it. The subtleties of leadership really are a big deal - and they do have a major impact. Many a political battle has been won (or lost) based upon the style, approach, and attitude of the candidates. And, for better or worse, many a decision around hiring and promotion is influenced - whether consciously or not - by the candidates' demeanor, attitude and overall likeability.

Don't settle for just being a good leader. Master your own personal style. Adopt and display the kind of attitude that makes things happen.

Be a great leader.

All the best,  


Liz Bywater, PhD 
President, Bywater Consulting Group 
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Copyright 2014. Liz Bywater, PhD. Bywater Consulting Group, LLC. All rights reserved.