1. Thanks to Kris Dunn for the share.…So this afternoon I came across a video on Youtube 1 wherein Netflix’s Founder Reed Hastings discusses what it means to be a good leader. You can watch the full video at the end of this message, but I’m sharing it today because of the following quote at about the halfway point of the video:
…I realized leadership is pretty nuanced because there’s the personally endearing part about character and followship, and there’s also the strategic part about not leading a company into a box canyon.
^This learning stemmed from an early experience Hastings had with a company wherein he worked for an inspiring leader that cultivated the loyalty of his employees… but yet ultimately still ran the firm into the ground. And it’s a powerful lesson because in our professional lives – particularly in human resources – we often run up against this challenge over and over again: Specifically, how we can most effectively thread the needle between holding people accountable and moving the ball on a winning strategy while also being engaging, empathetic, consensus building leaders. The best people managers can do both even in very difficult circumstances… but the truth is that sometimes very tough choices have to be made and it’s simply one or the other.
Case in point: In one of my first Generalist roles, I supported a client group with two leaders that had very different management styles… and strengths/weaknesses. The first manager was a performance focused type-A that frequently got results whilst also alienating his team… while the second manager was beloved by all and also got results… except when it came to managing bottom performers and making unpopular decisions (in which case a more senior manager often had to jump in to resolve conflicts within his team).
^It was very easy to see what both parties were doing wrong as an outsider, but both were also dealing with unique work groups that carried with them challenges that necessitated certain aspects of their leadership approaches. Furthermore, both managers also had aspects of their personality that lent themselves well to accomplishing very special things with their teams that many other managers might have struggled with – including the respective managers if they switched teams.
…Obviously, there isn’t any magic ingredient that a leader can adopt to capture the best of both worlds here… but this video is a great reminder that it’s important to always keep both sides in mind. Check it out below and let me know what you think in the comments section:
Happy 4th of July,