3 Faces of a Leader

Is your core central to your personal leadership?

Summary
Transcript

Speaker and author Dr. Tim Irwin discusses the concept of three aspects or dimensions of leaders: style, conduct and core. He also illustrates the negative impact that a lack of character or the presence of arrogance can have on the life and influence of a leader.

I believe that leaders have three dimensions. I like to call them the three faces of a leader, and you're seeing this graphic on your screen now. The outward face is our style. That style is our behavioral epidermis, and it's how most people experience us. Some people are more outgoing, some are quieter. Whatever your style might be, it's an important image of leadership.

The second face a leader is the conduct. Leaders have to build teams. They have to determine strategies. They have to create a mission. They have to create a culture in the organization. These are all parts of the conduct or the actions of a leader.

The third face, though, I think is the most important, and that's the core of the leader. All of us have a person inside us that thinks, and feels, and believes, self-authors opinions. These are all things that that person inside us does, it's the person. It's the leader inside us. And I think that's the most important image is that core of the leader.

One of my favorite things to do on a Saturday morning is to go to Home Depot. It's a Fortune 500 company that's headquartered in Atlanta where I live. And some years ago they hired a new CEO name Bob Nardelli. He'd been recruited from GE, and just within the first few weeks, Nardelli began to alienate some people at Home Depot.

He commandeered this elevator that went straight from his personal parking spot in the basement all the way up to his office on the 22nd floor on the Home Depot building. He was the only one that could ride this elevator. Nobody else could get on it. It became this symbol of how he was dismissive of people. People began to see him as arrogant, and self-focused. And as a result, they didn't trust him. They didn't follow him.

It led me later to say that character trumps competence. Nardelli was a rock star of competence. He'd been very successful at GE, and was there to help Home Depot, but people wouldn't follow the vision that he was trying to create.

Arrogance is the mother of all the derailers, and it sets us up for often a breached core. It can be cataclysmically problematic if a leader becomes arrogant and dismissive of people.

Our core determines more than anything else our ability to make an impact. An Ancient king put it this way he said, "You have to guard your core above all else, for it determines the course of your life."
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Dr. Tim Irwin

Dr. Tim Irwin has consulted with a number of America’s most well-known and respected companies including SunTrust Banks, Chick-fil-A, Bank of America, Corning, Inc., IBM, The Coca Cola Company, Hoechst-Celanese, Gerber Products Compan...

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