Becoming a Goldilocks Leader

By May 24, 2019Leadership

(The Three Types of Leaders, Part 3)

Our ship comes to a halt in the Arctic ice yet again. This time, a completely different captain is in command. This captain calmly consults the ship’s officers, their sextant, and a weather forecast.

With this current and comprehensive information, the captain orders half of the crew to chip away at the ice floes that have trapped the ship. The other half navigates and assists from aboard.

Little by little, the ice is chipped away from the sides of the ship. The crew climbs back onboard and, with a loud squelch, the ship breaks free. Slowly, our Arctic explorers press into the distance to complete their mission.

The approach of the third captain, our goldilocks leader, is used by the most effective leaders when setting a vision. It is characterized by far different behaviors than those typified by the timid leader or the overbearing leader. A goldilocks leader is calm, mature, and knows that emotional ups and downs are part of life. They set a vision based on their organization’s needs rather than their own fears.

Effective leaders neither shirk from their leadership responsibilities nor become overbearing. They balance listening with talking, reflecting with acting, and acknowledging the past with embracing the future—creating an environment that is just right. The primary responsibility of effective leaders is to provide direction for their organization that balances the strategy of the future with the tactics of the present. Their foresight allows each person to understand how his or her job is linked to the ultimate success of the business.  

There are several keys to achieving mature and effective vision-development:

Managing feelings: Leaders must become aware of, and manage, the periodic emotional spikes that they experience when they feel overwhelmed.

Collaborating: Leaders must engage with influential and informed colleagues to identify a future path that is best for continued business success.

Strategic planning: Leaders must insist that the management team spend time developing a vision for their company, rather than solely reacting to the crisis of the day.

Managing outcomes: Leaders must realize that using metrics to measure the success or failure of outcomes is both necessary and critical. How will you know whether you have succeeded or failed?

By adhering closely to these keys, you can create a framework for developing a clear vision that serves as the foundation on which your business thrives.


THE TAKEAWAY: A goldilocks leader manages their emotions in order to draft a vision that serves their organization, rather than developing an outlook that manages their own insecurities.

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