The Best Leader
As I have kind of been on a kick of thinking about leadership this week, I wanted to share some thoughts on the person that stands out as the best leader that I have worked with. I don’t think this person will ever read this, so this isn’t a kiss up, not is it a eulogy. It’s just a bit of information that I can’t quite categorize.
I consider myself a Lean thinker, so I would expect to be able to tap back in my mind of a great Lean leader that has shaped my thinking and been my role model. I can point to a bunch of individuals that have helped develop my thinking and taught me more than I can ever repay. But the best leader that I have worked for frankly didn’t teach me much of anything. I can’t point to more than a handful of things that I learned from this person either about the execution of my job or the industry of our business in general. This person told me they wouldn’t support Lean and that they didn’t believe that it would work for our business. But, at the end of the day, of the things that you expect from a leader, this person was the best.
There was a consistent vision and roadmap of where we were headed. There was a clear expectation of behaviors and consistent feedback for those that didn’t meet expectations. People were encouraged to create their own solutions and plans. The leader offered support to execute the plans and was firm when those plans fell short. It was the best example of leadership day in and day out that I have ever been involved with.
Now, how do I rectify these leadership behaviors with my Lean mindset? Frankly, I have no idea. Maybe this goes back to the understanding that not all combinations are the right fit for every person. Just because I didn’t learn what I wanted to learn doesn’t mean this person was a bad teacher. Just because we didn’t see eye to eye on some topics doesn’t mean either of us was right or wrong. I like to think that what I learned about leadership outpaces what I may not have learned in other areas. Leadership, much like Lean, is a much more complex topic than any simple outline can explain.