An Interview about My Leadership Style


A young man who attends our church is seeking a leadership degree. Recently he interviewed me for a paper he was required to write. I ask his permission and decided to share my answers here.

What type of leadership do you mostly exhibit?

The leader should paint the vision, hire the right people, and then release them to do their job.  I try to get out of the way of people who are doing good work.

How do the traits that you have differ from those that “follow” you?

Two ways:

1.  I am a very big picture guy.  I hate micro-management and I hate details.  I try to compliment my skills partly with people who can balance my big picture, strategic thinking with detail implementation skills.

2.  I’m 46 years old.  I realize the best new ideas for the future will likely come from the next generation.  (ie. Facebook, Google, Twitter).  I try to surround myself with younger people.  I also like people who will continue to challenge me.

How do you use power and influence? If at all?

I try not to use power.   If I’m using it, it’s usually not a pretty day in the office.   I try to use my influence to help people make wise decisions in their areas, balancing risk-taking, with practicality, affordability, and reason.

How is innovation applied to your leadership style?

You should read my category on innovation on my blog, but basically I love change and new ideas, so I’m consistently looking for ways to stir things up around me.  I also like continual improvement and critical thinking, so I’m always thinking, “How could this be made/done better?”

Do you employ strategic leadership? How?

I hope so. That’s one of my strengths according to StrengthsFinders.  My desire is to think how each decision will impact other people and the organization as a whole. I consider myself extremely purposeful, and I try to practice purposeful leadership, mostly because as I look at the life of Jesus, I see Him continually seeming to be strategic in how He led the disciples and continues to lead people today.

I thought these were great questions.  Now, here are three questions for you:

  1. Could you work for a guy like me?
  2. What would drive you crazy about my style?
  3. How would you answer these questions?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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15 thoughts on “An Interview about My Leadership Style

  1. Great stuff, Ron. Passed it on to our staff. On a side note: Can you think of anyone in the Bible that passed off their leadership to someone older (king, prophet, disciple, etc.)? Typically, it naturally runs to the younger. Perhaps this is why most leaders that I know tend to focus on mentoring the younger generation. This does not mean you forsake the older (as you have nicely explained). And by the way…46 is the new 26! I'm 46.

    • No, I really can't think of anyone. That's a great question. Unless it happened with one of the kings or judges that I'm not clicking with their age. I'll think on that.

  2. Yes, I think I could work for you… although I'm not one of the younger set. :)

    I've matured in some leadership ways over the last 20 years. I used to be very hands on in that I didn't trust anyone to do it as well as I would. Not that I was necessarily better, but I had full faith and confidence that I would not stop short of the goal for any reason. I've gotten much better at delegating once I have a confidence level that the people around me have that same basic attitude. I'm kind of in the middle as a big picture guy. I want to plan and manage the project, but I don't want to be entirely hands off.

    I have mixed emotions about younger vs older worker. You are right in that todays youth will one day lead the charge and you need to utilize their skills to help reach out to their peers. However, older workers bring a maturity and sense of loyalty that overall is just not evident in today's youth.

    In my area my team is made up entirely of individuals over 40. We do excellent work and get almost no complaints from anyone about anything we do. We are responsible, creative, and always go the extra mile. Over the year we have had a mixture of older and younger individuals in another area of my department. Typically, the people who do the least, want the most, and complain about everything are the younger individuals. I realize that it may not be fair to paint such a broad stroke across an entire generation and that there are always slackers and standouts in every group, but this is my experience.

    The place where my sister works brought in some management consultant of some kind to have some seminars. One of them was on worker diversity; not racial or ethnic, but generational. The general thought that was portrayed is that both our generation and our parents generation believed in a hard days work and fair pay for that work. Loyalty was the key and going above and beyond was standard. Today's generation of workers is more interested in how much they can get and how quickly they can get it for as little work as possible. Obviously there are exceptions, but it's something to think about.

    • Thanks Jon. I agree. Striking the balance between energy of youth and wisdom of the experienced is a great balance. That's one reason we hired the last couple of people we did. Thanks!

      • Hey Ron, can you comment more on the "always have your resume ready" line? I can read it a couple different ways – just curious to your thoughts there.

        Thanks as always for your blogs and thoughts.

        • Yea, that was a quick comment. I just believe it's a part of personal development to have your resume (or some form of that) handy. I wrote about it here: http://www.ronedmondson.com/2009/03/can-i-see-you… I realize that resumes aren't even used as much these days for employment purposes. We tend to hire more by networking than by the resume process. Even so, the thought concept is the same. We should always be prepared to give an account of our professional development and experience. Thanks!

  3. Hi Ron

    You seem to put a premium on "younger people" Do you realize that America is graying. What do you think will happen with older people that have some talents but are shunned aside because their boss or leader think: "Ah, well this guy is old and over the hill" You're forty six already. What will happen to you when you're 66? I think the best comment you can make is: " I am ready to work with everyone and extract the best they have to offer. I will adapt my leadership style to each person capability"

    Best regards

    Claude

    • Thanks Claude. That's a great observation. I do place a premium on younger people, because I feel God has called me to develop younger leaders. I believe, however, in respecting those with wisdom and experience. I've actually written about that in previous posts, such as yesterday's http://www.ronedmondson.com/2010/06/5-ways-to-inf… or http://www.ronedmondson.com/2008/09/bridging-the-… or http://www.ronedmondson.com/2009/01/who-will-inve…. I think the ideal organization figures out how to balance the wisdom of experience with the enthusiasm with youth. You should know that two of our most recent staff hires have been people older than me. One is in his 60's.

      Thanks again.

      • I can understand the points Claude is making. But, if I may generalize for a moment. Older individuals in the church TEND (not everyone!) to be too set in their beliefs and are concrete about what the church should and shouldn't do. Most of us older folk were raised in denominations that were more about the church rules and denominational beliefs that led to alot of judgementalness toward those that didn't stick to the letter of the law. The kids of today are fewer and fewer found in church settings, being turned off by the religion of their parents. They THINK very differently….not wrong, just different. TIm Elmore has written many great articles regarding when he calls Generation iY. But as always in the past, if the youth are not "grabbed" and fired up for their faith, the church will ultimately decay from lack of breath and life.

  4. Ron, you and I have similar personalities. My principal just told me I'm a big picture person–I don't like some details (like lesson plans); however, I'm quite detail-oriented in my writing. I also love change and I try to be attuned to what is working and what is not. As a teacher, my top priority is that students be engaged, so I've been known to change strategies midstream if what I'm doing isn't working. I try to keep my students on their toes.