11.05.2005

TIP: Getting past a celebrity obsession

We live in a celebrity-fixated culture. We are obsessed with celebrities from magazines like "People" and "US Weekly" to TV shows like "Entertainment Tonight" and "Access Hollywood." But it doesn't stop there. We fantasize about celebrity leadership at work. We don't just want to become a leader. We want to lead with dramatic style. We want to lead with outgoing personalities. We want to look like a rock star.

Do you need to pay thousands of dollars of fees to hair stylists and image consultants so that people will think you're an effective leader? The next time you write a check for the latest hot tips, ask yourself why you need to talk and walk like a celebrity - especially if that's not the true you (ie. you have an introverted personality.)

The recognition doesn't make an act of leadership an act of leadership. A leader is still a leader if nobody knows. It's the results. Great results come when one's ambition is for the greatness of the work and the company rather than for themselves. That doesn't mean that s/he doesn't have any need for recognition. It just means that at decision point after decision point -- at the critical junctures when Choice A would favor his/her ego and Choice B would favor the company and its work -- time and again s/he picks Choice B. Celebrity leaders, who tend to put the high-profile end of their jobs on the front burner, are more likely to go the other way.

In additon to celebrity leadership, there are other equally effective styles that can inspire great devotion and maximum performance

  • Directive leadership: mind the store. Pragmatism and a focus on day-to-day operations
  • Participative leadership: close teamwork with other leaders.
  • Empowering leadership: energize subordinates with delegation of responsibility

Pursue a realistic style. Put a premium on the style that best fits you - your gifts, skills, abilities, characteristics and everything that uniquely defines you - 'cos you are going to be with you for a long, long time. If you have an introverted personality and you are pursuing a celebrity leadership, you are most likely to get disappointed after investing so much energy and money.

You can be a star with your own style. You can be low-key as well as effective even in a celebrity-fixated culture. You can be in the action without the spotlight and publicity. Stop measuring your leadership effectiveness as a function of recognition - It can just be smoke and mirrors.

Category: C++ Quant > Fix the Job You Got

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