Cavalier leaders who continue to develop their soft skills and neglect to develop their technical aptitiude may find themselves becoming increasingly “Cunning”.
The Cunning Leader
Unable to DO leadership and management technically as well as others, those highly adept in the softer skills of influencing fellow humans resort to other methods to maintain their leadership.
On the golf course, this is the player who moves just as you concentrate on that long out to take the hole. They remind you of the times you bunkered the ball and how much you really dislike shots over water. Essentially, the cunning golfer deliberately twists your mind and thinking to gain the upper hand. Cunning golfers use the rule book when it suits them, and some have been known to use the foot wedge in the rough.
Cunning leaders abound throughout the world. These are often the leaders who ‘play politics’ very well. They know who is key to their future and will easily use their skills to ‘shmooze’ and persuade. If left on their own, they would flounder, yet they seem to do more than survive, even thrive in many organizations. If the Conqueror is the home of the despots then Cunning is the home of nepotism.
• Cunning golfers include: None famous here, more than enough at your own club I suspect.
• Cunning leaders include: Several politicians fit this category and a large proportion of people in high level leadership positions that you know. Often the ‘Chairman’s son.’
Conjuror leaders who learn to focus on improving their soft leadership side – most often because they need to get some real balance back to their life – become Conductors.
These are the players who pull the others together as much as play for themselves. Often, the unsung heroes of the regular round with friends, these players organise, cajole and hustle. More concerned for everyone’s enjoyment than just their own, they thrive on playing with others. Taking part is more important than winning, they can glory in other’s success. Few of the world’s top golfers fit this style, yet without them, the amateur game and local competitions would not exist for long. Disciplined and organised, these players like to keep accurate scores and seldom show-off.
Most leaders would like to be considered as conductors, concentrating their efforts on bringing the symphony together in perfect harmony towards a particular goal. These leaders empower others and seldom take centre-stage in public view (like an orchestral conductor, they have their back to the audience and their guidance focused on their team.)
- Players who are conductors include: Tony Jacklin, Colin Montgomerie
- Leaders: Charles Heimbold, Carol Bartz, Elizabeth Dole, Ralph Larsen, Bill Marriot
Leaders who develop both their technical leadership aptitude and the attributes of great leadership become “Chess Player” leaders.
The Chess player
These are the strategists of the game. These players plot their way around a course from point a to point b to point c. Positional golf is their forte and they are content to hit fairways and greens and two-put all day with an occasional birdie. They know that consistent, planned performance will win most of the time against all other styles. The Chess player gets the most from their game when they are thinking clearly, and using their minds throughout the round. Nothing flashy about their game for the most part, these players are good in all aspects of each hole and tend to strike the ball cleanly and well. These are the scorers of the game – they may appear to showing-off but that is due to their considerable skill and focus.
All leaders would like to consider themselves to be chess players, understanding the ‘art of war’ and the plethora of books on strategic management. But that’s just it, the vast majority of strategists are managers, not leaders (except by title). These leaders understand the environment, the context, the shifting positions of the competition and play a solid game along known successful routes, not too greedy and with contingencies for rough times. They understand foremost, who they are and what drives them, secondly they know their people and leverage their strengths and deploy all their resources to best effect.
- Golfing chess players include: Ben Hogan, Bernard Langer, David Toms and Tiger Woods (an ex-conquerer turned strategist)
- Leadership chess players are most exemplified by Jack Welch, Walter Shipley, Howard Schultz, Tony Blair