I’ve often said that most people develop their leadership style through a combination of what they like in their relationships with other people and from what they don’t like. Some of the most caustic and ego-centric people have taught me more about how I don’t want to act over some of the best role models I’ve encountered.
In the world of training consulting, I would die happy if I could ever achieve the star quality of Ken Blanchard, especially with his gift for connecting with people. He is probably the brightest and best role model I have had since I entered the training field some 22 years ago.
And although I use Ken as a measuring stick for my own performance, I still seem to learn more from observing those I’ve met that I hope to never act like. The speakers and authors with the oversized egos that seem nice on stage, and then treat you like dust under their feet when you meet. Or the manager that talks about being accessible, until you need their time. The type that talks a good talk and walks in the other direction.
I recently parted ways with someone who I had really admired for her dedication to her topic and her success. Yet I was told that I wasn’t at her level, and thus we could not associate in a professional capacity. I was not really her peer, and yet when I achieved more success I was free to contact her again. My Mom would be proud of what I didn’t say in return. (“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”)
Nothing like getting kicked in the gut to gain your attention. I am no longer inspired by her, and I have renewed energy about staying true to myself and for not getting too big for my britches. (Another Mom saying) If there was ever a polar opposite of Ken I had just hung up the phone with her.
So when you blend a Ken Blanchard, with someone like this other example, I see the person I want to be. It forms an outline of what works best for me. And when you blend all of the good role models, with all of the bad role models I think you come up with something that really fits you best.
If you don’t already have a list of qualities that you desire, and a list of qualities you want to avoid, I suggest you start one. Learn from observing all the people you interact with from your past, present and future. Become the best you can be from the best and worst around you.