I really liked LeadPage co-founder Tracy Simmon's essay on leadership.
In her list of leadership attributes, she gives homage to virtues like humility and services that are often mentioned in such essays .
But it was her #2 item that struck a chord for me. That is what it's like to "be misunderstood:"
Be Misunderstood: You are willing to stay silent on issues, even at great personal cost. Whether parting ways with a beloved accountant who embezzled funds or terminating a life-of-the-party team member who backed a co-worker into a corner and threatened to take their life, you won’t be able to speak a word of explanation.
An outcry will occur, complaints will be made, and you will not be able to explain why these people are no longer employed. You may be lied about and portrayed as the villain by the ex-team members, and you cannot offer a word in your defense.
I liked this first because she's is doing providing an operational definition of humility. She's admitting that some negative, emotional, embarrassing thing happened at her company (example: "terminating a life-of-the-party team member").
Then she admits that she had to shut up about it at the cost of people thinking bad things about her.
This is quite a departure from most leadership centered writing.
Even Richard Branson's book on leadership, The Virgin Way, which I also recommend, doesn't quite let you get an idea that there were dead bodies buried somewhere along his path to success. He skillfully admits to weaknesses, and no doubt he is a great leader. But he never quite cuts to humility as Tracy does.
Personally, I really suck at Tracy's "Be Misunderstood." When I don't feel I'm being understood or if I feel I am being unfairly cast in a bad light, my New Jersey temperament kicks in and I tend to get defensive. Don't worry about me writing a book on leadership, that's for sure.
I'm a customer of Tracy's, and I'll be doing demos here on Staffing Talk on Leadpage products and how they can be used to recruit and sell staffing. So far I'm impressed with their customer support department whose customer-centrics nature tells me her leadership recommendations are indeed working for her.