As the leader of an organization (and perhaps especially as a female, but let’s not tug at that thread just yet), I continue to grow into this role with the age-old Machiavellian question in mind: is it better to be loved or to be feared? Some might argue that there’s a time and a place for both, and some may take painstaking care to craft what they believe exemplifies the ideal combination of the two. After all who we are and become as leaders is more than a slogan; instead, it is an ongoing practice.
For me, the answer must be LOVE. It’s always love, and to be candid, sometimes probably to a fault. I admire those that don’t seem to care what others think of them. What must that be like? To demand respect without fear of whispers, to draw boundaries without fear of being unliked? That is also a practice, I think. If I’m being honest, I work towards that and ultimately caring less each day. Less about my smile lines, more about smiling; less about pleasing others and more about making my family proud.
So as I say, it still comes back to love. But the goal of leadership must also be to be effective. To let your actions lead to your goals, only to wake up the next day and raise the bar. Set your mission, reach your mission, raise your mission, repeat.
The list of those who have led excellently is long and inspiring. You’re probably thinking about your own favorite; a high school coach, a boss, a politician, or how about - my personal mustachioed role model - Ted Lasso? Thank you, Jason Sudeikis, for bringing us a character that is all things I strive to emulate in leadership:
For Ted, it’s not all balls in the net or victories celebrated in the pub; it’s not just the wins or the losses. Ted’s idea of leadership is to help his players be the best versions of themselves on and off the field. It’s about the long-game, not the short- term wins. It’s about unlocking others’ potential with love and empathy, and trusting that the results will follow.
And what about the rest of you? Do you agree? Can a fictional character be inspiring and change the world? I BELIEVE he can, and I will continue to ask myself “WWTLD?” as I lead Bergy Bag with the principles practiced in the Richmond locker room:
"Gentlemen, believing in rom-communism is all about believing that everything's gonna work out in the end” – Ted Lasso
In bags and belly laughs,