The Limitations of Commando Leadership

Perhaps, you, like many executives, have achieved your success through your ability to take the hill regardless of the toll it takes on those that work for you.  Or perhaps you largely take the hill yourself, leaving others trailing behind.  This can particularly be true if you generally are the smartest person in the room and the one that works the hardest.  However, this kind of leadership can only take you and your organization so far because no one can push themselves or others without dealing with the consequences of the toll it takes.

Most commando types have a hard time accepting that you can be both results-oriented and people-focused, as if it’s a binary choice.  However it’s been proven over and over again, that the best leaders move both ahead – people and results.

So how does one evolve from the commando approach?  The first step is always self-awareness about the underlying reasons you’ve defaulted to this way of leading.  Are you a perfectionist that wants things done a certain way, becoming critical and controlling?  Are you driven by fear of failure and the only way that you can feel confident is by over-managing, over-working and driving others as you drive yourself?  Are you less sensitive about the impact of your actions on others, not understanding the toll you are exacting?  Do you contain your emotions and then under stress, blow up out of proportion to the situation?

Analyze the source of your own behavior just as you would analyze a business problem because each of these scenarios requires a different plan of action to change your behavior.  You may need an outside perspective – a coach, a mentor or leadership class – that can help your perspective and offer new alternatives and support.

Many of these tendencies are deeply wired and it’s very hard to give up behavior that has created success in the past but the past is so over.  Anyone can push their edges and broaden their capability with sustained effort and a change in mindset.  Commando types don’t have to give up their edge but couple this intensity with more depth of leadership abilities.