I was getting breakfast with a colleague last week, and we were talking about leadership. Specifically we talked about polish. I told her that I preferred unpolished leaders; she disagreed.
For me, it’s examples like General Mattis that come to mind as an excellent and unpolished leader. I had the honor of serving under him and learned a great deal from him during my time in the Marine Corps. And I recall when he took some heat from the press for speaking from the heart. As I work through his book Call Sign Chaos, I think this quote sums up his leadership style:
When your Marines know you care about them, then you can speak bluntly when they disappoint you.
As my friend and I talked, it was obvious our definition of unpolished leadership wasn’t the same. Since then, I’ve been chewing on what to call it. Authentic leadership? Straightforwardness? Blunt and raw over verbose and fluffy? I’m sure many will tell me I’m describing servant leadership, but that term is so bloated that I prefer not to mention it. Maybe it would be easier if I just described what’s on my mind.[Read more…]