Leverage Loyalty Not Aggression
The series this week is focusing on providing a fresh perspective for strong leaders looking to add a bit of grace or softness to their style. We need strong leaders but there are times when showing less force will achieve superior results. This isn’t about shifting or altering a strong leadership style. It’s about adding a subtle dimension to be turned on and off when necessary. By adding this capability, even a small sense, can really extend the range of strong leaders into realms that prove to difficult or even frustrating.
The main thread throughout the series is noticing when aggression gets turned on but you’re looking for a more tempered approach. The lever we’re using this week is loyalty as way in to the results we seek in situations where strength is viewed differently.
When does strong leadership become aggressive leadership? Simple: when the strong style gets in the way of mobilizing people and/or getting results. This doesn’t happen often but when it does, it tends to come across as too much of a personality or ego rather than succinct direction. If you’re looking to add some versatility and dimension to your assertive style, looking a little more closely at your style could give you a lot of mileage.
So the FREE practice comes along with 3 concepts:
- Noticing the appearance of control
- Masters are playful
- Effects of misreading aggression
The video dives into how these work together with this leadership style. Download your FREE practice here and get to work on building some new versatility with your strong leadership style.
I have found that loyalty is oft missed asset to organizations and leaders. It is also easily destroyed but hard to gain. Yet, there are leaders who build strong loyalty as a byproduct of their style. Most striking to me is that strong, assertive leaders tend to gain the a ton of loyalty. However, I have also noticed that under stress and pressure, loyalty is something that many leaders forget they have at the ready and instead turn to other methods.
Here are 3 concepts that can strengthen and leverage loyalty as an alternative to forceful or aggressive leadership practices:
- Lead from the middle/center
- Widen your inner circle
- Build an invitation for membership
The combination of these 3 concepts provide a packaged alternative that can prove to be quite powerful. This is especially true if a more assertive or forceful approach is stalling.
It might seem obvious that using aggression to influence loses the subtlety of influence in the first place. In fact, this combination of approaches feels more like coercion. Still, strong leaders are very effective and protective but this doesn’t always turn out to be the best approach to leadership in all cases.
As it has been studied and known for some time, versatility is really needed in leadership because of the various situations, people and types of challenges facing leaders. So, let’s build out a dimension to strong leadership along 2 dimensions simultaneously: through loyalty and inner strength.
Lead From The Rear
Extending the previous day’s concept, now the idea of leading from the rear or more specifically leading a way that is easy to follow. This too is not necessarily a new idea. The trick here is that if your style constantly has you out in front is how to switch gears in an effective way. Just dropping back is likely to have a distracting effect for you and your team. Rather, think about this more as being easier to follow.
In those times that draw out a more aggressive style, being aware you have been triggered will help. When you take the next step and transition into a mode of being easier to follow, then progress should resume again. However, it may look like things stall a bit as others are reorienting to the new information and style you are presenting. This is the likely the exact barrier being removed but without direct intervention on your part. This often steps into the next area of skill development…
Discomfort With Vulnerability
As a strong leader, vulnerability is not something discussed and rarely acknowledged. In fact, there probably isn’t all that much that is vulnerable anyway. In the situations where aggression gets turned on in a big way, let’s not be too hasty, there is a good chance that a vulnerability is lurking on the edges. Additionally, if you switch styles in that moment that often triggers a greater sense of threat and vulnerability.
Much of the work at expanding versatility happens right here: expanding discomfort with your own vulnerability. There is not an easy answer for this other than conscious practice and working at getting better. The 1, 2 punch of this and leading from the rear can open up whole new dimensions in situations and lead to all kinds of improved outcomes…but it is not easy.
Strength In Defenselessness
Persist long enough and you will likely glimpse the truth that there is a enormous strength in defenselessness. In fact, if you’ve ever encountered someone who is defenseless by choice and practice, it is incredibly disarming. The strength, respect and loyalty from being defenseless is incredible. However, you can’t fake this. Only when you truly experience yourself as without the need of defense can this powerful state emerge. This is the goal because in this state, drawing forth the best qualities of you as a leader come out naturally.
Seeing Some Of The Possibility?
Not only is this hard work, but it is tough work to refine in this dimension if you are a strong, direct leader. This also is an area that can be quite difficult to cultivate on your own. Much of the framework is presented here. That does not mean that things can’t be sped up and tuned in for you. If this topic feels right and the insights are helpful, consider starting a coaching program with me, a Certified Integral Professional Coach™, risk-free for 30 days.
First off, for those of you trying to help your “bull in the china chop” leader, hang on for the ride and know that their style has a good core. That said, the help you can provide is limited by their openness to feedback and trying to do things differently.
In the video we walk through 3 ideas that will help both of you:
- They defend the inner circle vigorously
- Looking for external validation they are a leader that gets it done
- Reinforce your relationship
None of this will alter their style but could refine it in an immediate sense. If they’re open, it has the potential to add range to their style that is unlikely to develop on it’s own. Please remember, their strong style often has noble intent for those close followers. Seeing their aggression in the light of clarifying their motivations rather than resisting them results in better outcomes for everyone.
Here we are at the second free practice to add versatility to an assertive leadership style. I want to recognize and honor the hard work to those of you engaging in this because this is fairly difficult to do.
If you’ve made it this far, you are committed to making a change. So keep up the momentum and download your free copy of the practice and start today. This practice will challenge you but over the course of a few days you should be able to strengthen the connection to your gut instincts that can be tapped during those moments when you sense aggression coming on.
All my best,
Russell Lindquist, Founder & Principal
Russell is a Certified Integral Professional Coach™. I help leaders and entrepreneurs break through plateaus, earn more respect and move on to their next level of success. 80% of my clients take on more responsibility with less stress, more success, and half of them get a promotion or earn more money within 6 months of completing their program. www.tessagen.com