Leadership Skills - Feet or Face

Leadership Skills - Feet or Face  

What is your philosophy on being the boss?  The chain of command is important in business.  Without a hierarchical structure or the knowledge of who is responsible according to the chain of command, anyone at any time could give a directive that surely could throw everyone into a state of confusion.  Processes and procedures  would break down because everyone would be responsible for everything, making no one responsible for anything.  But, is it best to lead from your position in the hierarchy or from a position of respect?  Do your people subordinately sit at your feet or respectfully, even sometimes assertively, relate to you face to face?  
"Sit at my Feet" Leadership
When people serve from the position of sitting at your feet there will be predictable patterns you can count on.
  • They will wait to move forward on something until you have given the word
  • They will work for you.
  • Your leadership style will tends not to be flexible.  Giving direction is your default leadership style.
  • Obedience will be esteemed as more important than innovation.
  • They will not think for themselves, you will think for them.
  • There will be no need for personal development, goals, or vision because these are not necessary for achievement.
  • Obedience to your word is the only necessary requirement for their promotion.
  • They will eventually discover creativity, innovation, self motivation only get them into trouble.
  • They will simply be an employee.  They will have a job and will be paid to do it.
  • They will have an entitlement mentality.
  • When they don't have your direction they will not do anything that might cause them to take a risk.
  • They will fear you.
  • You will always be hiring for the same positions over and over again complaining about the poor pool of talent available to you to hire from.
  • You will never multiply yourself.  You will never even get 100% out of people.
  • Empathy probably isn't your strong suit.  Not having empathy will probably present a challenge with all relationships  - not only with those at work.  Being a spouse, a parent, etc requires building relationships which require empathy.  You will probably be at a loss when it comes to understanding what people feel and responding properly to them.

"Sit at my feet" leadership is based on superiority, seniority or rank.  Having positional rank or seniority does not require people to respect you.  You don't even have to be likable.  You don't have to give of yourself or be an example.  You don't have to have any character or principles.  You can say, "Do as I say, not as I do!" and it is alright.  Your leadership style will relate to behaviors, skills, and techniques rather than developing people, coaching them in regard to character, and principles.  Your people will not be enhanced as a result of working for you outside of learning a skill.  Your people will live in a second world while working for you; one they probably won't like very much.  A "sit at my feet" leader probably has a personal deficit of feeling loved and valued and probably isn't very experienced in how to convey love or give value to others.  This leadership style isn't easily switched off when leaving work and therefore will probably permeate every element of life.  If your family says you are hard, distant, and uninvolved you might consider the following alternative.

Relating "Face to Face" Leadership
People who develop people are inspiring.  They make people want to be better.  They lead from an inner substance that relates to developing the inner substance in others.  They probably are hierarchically positioned in leadership but they do not lead from their position.   They don't want you sit at their feet.  They want to relate to you face to face.  Leadership to them is personal and developmental.  They don't want strict obedience to the letter but a result that honors the spirit of their desire.  
A leader or manager who relates on a face to face basis can also expect certain results.
  • Your staff will move forward on things even without direction from you because they feel comfortable working within the boundaries you have set.
  • They will work with you not for you.  Collaboration, and innovation will be normal occurrences.
  • Your leadership style will be flexible.  You direct and support equally well depending on their skill development in the task presented to them.
  • Innovation and creativity will be valued as superior to strict obedience
  • They will have been trained to look at things the way you do and will make decisions like you would make because you have trained them how to think.
  • Setting personal goals, values, vision, and being personally developed will be very important to them.   These are necessary for their future with you and in their lives personally.
  • Your staff will know creativity, innovation, self motivation are the way to advance in their working relationship with you.
  • They will be owner minded.  They are invested in your business and will tend to care about the outcome.
  • They will take chances without fear of retribution.  They will not fear being thrown under the bus.
  • They will want to impress you.
  • They will respect you.
  • You will enjoy longer terms of employment because your people will love you and appreciate your investment in them.
  • You will multiply yourself many times over and your people will tend to give you 100%
  • They know they will make mistakes and that you will train them using their mistakes without belittling them.
  • They will challenge you when they believe you are wrong because they will believe you want the best possible result.
  • They will reference you in future conversations as a positive influence in their life.
Relating face to face requires substance in your person.  You must be constituted personally with something worthy of respect.  People must consistently see something worth emulating.  When they do, half of your battle is over.   


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Founder and CEO of Diverse CTI.  Bachelor degree in ministry with an emphasis in counseling.

His vocational calling is to help people grow and develop in all areas of their person - spirit, soul, and body. He has risen to the top of his industry and has been recognised as a leader in communications, specifically telecommunications and data networking, for more than 25 years.  His passions have resulted in building Diverse CTI into an excellent company with an impecable reputation.  He has enjoyed designing communication strategies for other excellent companies over the past 25 years and is still having fun. Find out more about Tom!

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