Leadership: One Size Does Not Fit All !


There are so many blog posts on leadership that sometimes it is difficult not to get overwhelmed by the amount of information you take in daily. I know when I get off of work each day I may have 20 to 30 new posts to read on Google+ alone. Along with hundreds of tweets, many of them with new learning attached. There are literally hundreds of brilliant leaders, consultants, teachers and coaches giving great advice on how to lead your team, be a great parent or grow yourself as a person. 

While I will be the first one to tell you that learning is a key part of leadership and personal growth, it’s just as important that what you absorb fits you. When I go looking for a pair of athletic shoes there is a wall in every store with many styles of shoes displayed. Not only will not all of those shoes fit me for size, many will not fit my personality or the function for which I am using them. I need to buy a pair that fits me. The same could be said about clothing or the car I drive. They are a part of what makes up me as an individual.

Leadership styles and attributes also need to be a fit for you. If you read about 10 ways to inspire your team and none of those ways fit your personality then they will not work for you. To be a great leader you must first understand you. Leadership is not one size fits all. The worse thing you can do as a leader is try to fit a mold by reading a series of stories and then trying to be that person or those people. Listen to what they say. Read and try to comprehend their story; then ask yourself does this work for me? If you feel it’s a good fit then try it out with confidence. If you are uncomfortable with that approach, try to find one with which you are comfortable. Just like shoes, you must be confident and feel comfortable before you wear them out.   

Leadership is not for everyone and maybe as you read an article it will be more important for you to learn the type of leader you want to follow. That’s alright because the most important thing is you are comfortable in the role you chose. Life is about choices and one of those choices is whether you want to lead or follow. Both are important roles and vital to growth. A flower does not grow without food and water. People see the flower often not realizing how many things went into getting to that point. In life people often see the leader without understanding how many followers helped them get to the top. Learning from leaders is important for the growth of followers not just leaders.

As you learn always ask yourself these questions; how does this idea fit me and my core values?  Can I adopt this concept and continue to lead from within myself? If I make these changes will I still be authentic? If you can’t answer these questions and feel comfortable then the idea is not a good fit. Do not change because others tell you they have a better idea. It is only a better idea if it will make the real you better at being the real you.




9 thoughts on “Leadership: One Size Does Not Fit All !

  1. Love the analogy about buying athletic shoes and the fact that one size of leadership style doesn’t fit everyone. That being said, Lead With Giants is a great fit for a wide variety of folk. Maybe we are the flip-flop of leadership.

  2. allipolin

    There are a lot of books and articles out there with such a definitive tone: Leaders do this, not that – always. You raise such an important point in this article! If we do something that we just don’t really agree with, understand, or embrace the impact will be inauthentic too. The key to exceptional leadership is figuring out who you are, your own voice and calling for the confidence, competence and creativity to BE YOU. It works like a charm.

    Really great questions and observations here. Definitely will share across my networks.

    Thanks, Tom!

  3. Great advice. We are so bombarded with information and yes taking advice and trying to force fit it, is worse than not trying it at all. When I write advice I try to take it down to the 4 core personality styles, at least that way it has a chance of being a better fit. Its a good in between, as the best advice is one on one but we don’t often have that luxury.

  4. Tom, what an insightful post! Glad I caught it in my stream!

    You hit the nail on the head for me personally. There is only so much time that we all can realistically devote to reading blog posts each day. This is where I find that while on the one hand, I want to keep my heart and mind open to ‘new’ people and ideas, yet, for the sake of time and some continuity in my life, it is more helpful for LEARNING for me to focus primarily on what resonates the most.

    Leadership styles and ideas are not a one size fits all approach. Nor should it be. Even if we TRY to learn about leadership from history, theory, books, models, etc…historically, it would only work for THOSE people in THAT specific period of time. It’s impossible for us to re-enact any past situation because it would require the EXACT same people and the exact same circumstances. It’s impossible to reproduce.

    Each one of us is unique. We live with our own unique set of conditions and circumstances. Work in specific environments, with a specific set of conditions, and a specific set of people with their own unique personalities.

    Leadership is learning to be IN THE MOMENT. It’s not something that can be done using a script.

    Love this post Tom! Thanks for sharing and wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Samantha,
      Thank you so much foe the kind words. Being authentic us being yourself in each moment if the day. Life would be no fun if we were all the same or all thought alike
      My best to you and your family. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. Pingback: The Four Types and their Hovering Leader | The No Crisis Blog

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