Would you rather have a leader who is nice, but incompetent, or...one who is mean, yet fully capable?
I recently came across this question in a book I've been reading and it got me thinking. Surely we have all witnessed these diverse leadership styles and personalities.
On the one hand you have everyone's favorite person; someone who makes the team feel good; an encouraging, likable, friendly, approachable leader. And yet they know absolutely nothing. They lack the necessary technical underpinnings to guide the team. Strategy, crisis management, and mission accomplishment are foreign concepts. The very thought of this person ever making a decision sends shivers down your spine. And in a best case scenario, they never have to do so. Staff meetings are fun...but unproductive. These leaders are enjoyable to be around, they generally leave you alone, and they make you feel good.
On the other hand, you have the mean old cuss, the abrasive, spiteful boss who is just impossible to be around. But they know what they are doing. They are absolutely competent with a brilliance that is universally recognized and, at least by those who DON'T work for them, they are great leaders. The reality is often something completely different. They treat people horribly and think little of things like counseling, mentoring, or training. Communication is almost non-existent and empowerment is not in the mix for these abusive bosses.
While these sound like leadership extremes, we see them all the time, don't we? Nice but incompetent leaders who should never have gotten to their positions. Same for mean but capable leaders who know what they are doing but make everyone's life miserable. Both of these types make us question how some leaders get as far as they do.
So which do you prefer? And how do you manage your boss under either of these conditions? Since we don't get to choose our leaders (well...except when we vote for politicians...and when we accept new employment!), we need to be able to operate under either condition. We still have to get our work done and accomplish the mission. We have to protect our teammates from the challenges created by both styles. And we have to learn what we can from either extreme.
What are your experiences with either one? Add your comments and let's discuss! And don't say you prefer one who is nice AND competent. That's too easy! I'm looking forward to your thoughts. That's Leader Business!