"Moderation is the silken string running through the pearl-chain of all virtues.1"
Recently, I have spent considerable time thinking about moderation...thinking how often people violate the common sense called moderation, which we all know from firsthand experience and from watching others struggle without it.
So, when I read '21st Century Leadership'2, the heading "Become More Nurturing and More Demanding" captured my attention. That, according to the author, Dave Lefkowith, is the 2nd step to becoming a 21st Century Leader.
Many entrepreneurs and business leaders do need to step back and take a good look at how they go about:
- Placing demands on their followers
- Handling interpersonal activity with their followers
Spirited Leaders recommends moderation.
Like Lefkowith, we see a need for Leaders to be either more nurturing
. When we think of nurturing we think of Transactional Analysis
, 60-year-old behavioural psychology, which, in summary, states people behave like:
- Adults, &
When doing Parent behaviour we can be demanding or we can be nurturing. When in the Adult behaviour mode we are more logical and less emotional. And, in the Child mode we can act anywhere between most-accommodating to most-belligerent.
This Parent-Adult-Child behaviour model makes it easy to explain exactly how business leaders, especially hands-on entrepreneurs, can go about Becoming More Nurturing and More Demanding. Actually, Spirited Leaders recommends: Becoming More Nurturing and Making Better Demands.
How to become More Nurturing: that's simple, just think of the best behaviour either of your parents [or parental figures] presented to you. That's your best example of a Nurturing Parent...ie, how to behave like a Transactional Behaving Nurturing Parent. Clearly, in the business environment, there are limitations to the amount of nurturing. Too much is a turn off: your followers are not Children. Too little is uncaring: at least, that's the way some or perhaps many of your followers will feel.
How to make Better Demands: defining this is more challenging. Here's a question that might help. When you became an Adult, did either of your Parents ever, from time to time, still treat you like a Child? I mean, after you became an Adult, did either of your Parents continue to give you advice about money?, how to raise children?, how much to drink?, how fast to drive?...etc? If this never happened to you...then you are one of the lucky few. If this did happen to you - how did you feel? Being an adult - getting advice from your Parent - how di that feel? Remember that feeling when you place a demand on one of your followers. That's the safe way to be.
Make sure you maintain some desire to be Nurturing. That will be of most value when your followers are struggling at work tasks and are bringing the results of tough [after-hours] personal situations to your workplace.
Aim for more open, Adult-to-Adult behaviour; set boundaries on your emotions before and during interactions with your followers. As trust builds, present more Adult-to-Adult demands on your followers.
And, allow a bit of the Child within you to generate and enjoy workplace humour.
PS: Dave Lefkowith's Ten Steps to Becoming a 21st Century Leader:
- Broaden Your Style
- Become More Nurturing and More Demanding
- Become Less Predictable
- Focus Like a Maniac on Opportunity
- Create "Opportunity Laboratories" for Top Prospects
- Celebrate (the Right Type of) Failure
- Anticipate and Address Emerging Issues
- Create an Explicit Stakeholder Management Strategy
- Touch Individuals Deep within Your Organization
- Create Brutally Direct Self-Development Mechanisms
- Thomas Fuller, 'The Holy State and the Profane State', (1642)
- Dave Lefkowith, '21st Century Leadership', (2001)