Is it useful to be scary?

Anthony LandaleI have a couple of clients who have both admitted recently that they have a reputation for being ‘scary’.

Scary Dave is one of these. He has extraordinary focus, he says it as it is and he isn’t afraid of upsetting people – and all of these qualities help him to drive through obstacles and get things done.

But Dave and I have also been considering the downside of being scary. Knowing what you want and daring to speak the truth are certainly useful traits but if the impact is that colleagues feel pushed away or bulldozed by you then watch out. The test of your leadership is whether people around you are growing in confidence and bringing their energy and ideas to the table. If they aren’t then you aren’t leading – rather you are trying to force others to do what you want.

These days Dave is practising his leadership by inviting people powerfully into conversations and being generously interested in their contribution. He doesn’t want to lose his edge but he’s realised that alongside his own vision to make a difference he needs to be genuinely committed to other people’s success too.

Leadership nudge: Do you have a leadership strength that you sometimes overuse? What other quality might you need to develop to address this?

By Anthony Landale

Learn more about Anthony Landale, the author of this article.

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