Transcendent Leadership: How to Lead Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime

What distinguishes the calm-yet-focused, balanced leader from the hyper-active, over-scheduled, less effective leader?

Superficially, it often appears to be a matter of underlying skills, with the calm, focused, consistently high-performing leader simply having more tools in their leadership toolkit than intermittently successful, high-stress leader. And although so-called “leadership skills” do have a place, on deeper inspection the root cause is much more foundational. With the calm, focused leader there is almost always a close match between their personal leader style and the specific leadership role they are playing; while with the hyperactive, ineffective leader, there is most often than not a mismatch between the two.

Specifically, I’ve noticed over the years that all leaders exhibit one of three natural leadership styles—what I’ve come to term the “Visionary,” “Operator” and “Processor” styles—and that the most common source of leadership stress occurs when there is a mismatch between an individual’s personal style and the leadership role they’re being asked to perform. For example, a Visionary leader who has been placed in an Operator role; or a Processor who finds themselves having to think (and lead) like a Visionary. All other things being equal, it’s more often than not this lack of congruence between what is being asked of the leader on the one hand (to be a Visionary, Operator or Processor), and their innate ability to act and think that way that causes stress and under-performance.

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