Getting Results with Steel or Velvet—A Critical Leadership Practice

Getting Results with Steel or Velvet— A Critical Leadership Practice

Triple crown leaders—those seeking to build organizations that are excellent, ethical, and enduring—go beyond their natural leadership style, flexing between the hard edge of steel and the soft edge of velvet, depending on the situation and the people involved. (See our related article, “Steel and Velvet Leadership.”) They acknowledge their varying approaches referencing the organization’s … Read more

Leading People with Steel or Velvet–A Critical Leadership Practice

Leading People with Steel or Velvet— A Critical Leadership Practice

Triple crown leaders—those who aspire to build excellent, ethical, and enduring organizations—have learned to go beyond their natural leadership style, flexing between what we call “steel and velvet,” the hard and soft edges of leadership, depending on the situation and the people involved. Steel leadership demands excellent results, insists on ethical practices, and resists the … Read more

Communicating with Steel or Velvet–A Critical Leadership Practice

Communicating with Steel or Velvet— A Critical Leadership Practice

Article Summary: Many leaders don’t tailor their communication style to the situation. Effective leaders flex between steel and velvet (hard- and soft-edge) communication, depending on the situation and the people involved. +++ Of the five advanced leadership practices for building an organization that’s excellent, ethical, and enduring (from our book, Triple Crown Leadership), “steel and … Read more

Steel and Velvet Leadership

steel and velvet

In our book, Triple Crown Leadership, based on extensive research and interviews with leaders in 61 outstanding organizations in 11 countries, we identified five advanced leadership practices for building an organization or team that’s excellent, ethical, and enduring. One of these practices has most intrigued the leaders we work with. Here we elaborate on how … Read more

The Paradoxes of Servant Leadership

Leadership is rife with paradoxes, seemingly self-contradictory statements that may nonetheless be true. We see this in the servant leadership framework as well as other approaches.   The Servant-as-Leader Paradox In his biography of Robert Greenleaf (originator of servant leadership), author Don Frick said: “Servant and leader are two nouns which usually describe two quite … Read more

Paradoxes of Leadership

Leadership speaker and author, Bob Vanourek, uses this picture of a paradox ahead sign to show paradoxes in leadership.

Paradox: A seemingly contradictory statement that may nonetheless be true. Leadership is rife with paradoxes, competing claims, countervailing pressures, and conflicts. There is frequently a “thesis” and an “antithesis” in leadership dilemmas, often requiring a “synthesis.” Here are some leadership paradoxes and other interesting dualities we have learned: Serving followers and being served by followers … Read more

No Jerks Allowed

“You know what a jerk is when you see it.” -Bob Diamond, Former CEO of Barclays Bank (Source: The Guardian)   As CEO, Bob Diamond terminated 30 Barclays Bank staff in 2011 for breaking his “no jerks” rule. Diamond said six staff, who ran up a £44,000 lunch tab in London, epitomized “jerk” bankers. He said … Read more