(It is funny to me how one thing leads to another and then to an idea for a blog post…and this is no different.) This morning I replied to a post by Jim Canterucci in his Emerging Leader group in LinkedIn which set me off on a quick research effort for articles on “followership”. (the discussion was actually about employee engagement but it made me think about what it means to be a follower).
I found the article, “To understand leadership, study followership” and within that article, I found this gem:
“We follow people who are ‘spiky.’ Great leaders are not necessarily “well rounded,” they have unique strengths and weaknesses which make them real.”
This really resonated with me and I thought it was a fantastic and playful way to address the fact that no one is perfect…especially when it comes to leadership. I think sometimes we try to put leaders on a pedestal and expect far too much from them. Leaders are people just like everyone else and they will have rough edges.
I think we ought to embrace our “spikiness” when it comes to who we are what we do. Over the past several years, I have developed the attitude that building a team is all about finding the right “fit” and really not all that much about the specific skill sets. I know that within each role there is a certain base set of skills required but I will always hire attitude over aptitude. I think we can all agree that in most cases when someone does not work out with the team, it is more likely to be over personality issues than it will be actual work performance. This is why I always spend an inordinate amount of time telling the potential team member about the people and culture. I want them be able to be themselves and not worry about wasting energy trying to hide their “spikes”.
In fact, the role of a leader is to hire folks who have complementary spikiness…that is what a team is all about…they fill gaps.
I will let Rocky explain as he is much more eloquent than I could ever be…enjoy and, to blatantly rip off the World’s Most Interesting Man…”Be Spiky My Friends!”