Steve Zissou, renowned oceanographer and captain of the Belafonte, epitomizes unstable leadership in Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. For anyone that's seen this film, you'll know just how often Zissou’s (Steve's) delicate ego and self-gratifying impulses negatively impact his leadership over Team Zissou. His fragility drives a stake between himself and everyone else around him. Although Steve Zissou is merely a fictional character, this toxic form of leadership remains true in today's workplace.
Through my job, I have had the benefit of working for effective, considerate, and transparent leaders. With that being said, I have experienced the effects of being under poor leadership in other facets of my life. I'll avoid getting into specifics about that and instead digress to traits I think all leaders should have.
- Leaders are transparent
“I’ve never bought into the concept of ‘wearing the mask.’ As a leader, the only way I know how to engender trust and buy-in from my team and with my colleagues is to be 100 percent authentically me—open, sometimes flawed, but always passionate about our work. It has allowed me the freedom to be fully present and consistent. They know what they’re getting at all times. No surprises.”
—Keri Potts, senior director of public relations, ESPN
In my experience, I have grown, achieved, and excelled the most when I have a leader that is dedicated towards fostering a culture of transparency. When I see someone in a leadership position strive for honesty, it encourages me to hold to the same standard. When we are vulnerable and expressive of what we think and how we feel, we foster authentic community.
Every time we choose truth over discomfort, we all flourish.
- Leaders are Sacrificial
"Corporate culture matters. How management chooses to treat its people impacts everything - for better or for worse." —Simon Sinek, author, motivational speaker and marketing consultant
Leaders that have been able to inspire me are leaders that make decisions that are best for their team, not their self-interest. Sacrifice is at the heart of leadership, whether it's sacrifice of time, energy, or the "spotlight." You show people that you care for them, you don't just tell them, you show up when it matters. In fact, the world is flooded with organizations (and the people that lead them) that claim they care, it's just noise.
- Leaders are passionate
Passion in a leader isn’t about volume, it’s about depth. Some leaders are loud, and they can stir up a crowd with their rhetoric: they know how to hook people’s emotions. But truly passionate leaders can be quiet: passion in a leader is a deep and abiding commitment to a cause, a vision, an enterprise. —Erika Anderson, keynote speaker and author
A leader must be committed. If a leader's actions aren't consistent with what they claim to believe in, support, and envision, they probably need to reconsider the position that they hold. We strive to think bigger and work harder when those that are in charge are consistently displaying their dedication to the mission.
So there you go, leadership...