I follow a lot of blogs, and I take a look at many others. One of the topics I cover on this blog, often obviously, is leadership. I’m big on leadership; without good leaders, everything goes to pot.


I check in on leadership blogs here and there, as well as read about leadership topics that pop up on other websites. The problem I see way too often if that there’s three things lacking. It could just be me, but I see:

1. No personality

2. No passion

3. No stories.

There are many studies in the world and it’s neat that people report on them. There are many evaluation tools in the world and it’s great to learn something about them. But that’s not the only things to talk about when it comes to leadership.

In my mind, if you can’t inject a little bit of personality into most of what you have to say or write, I get bored quickly. If you, the writer, can’t show that you have passion in anything you’re talking about then I’m disinterested. If you have no stories to tell, then how do I know you’ve actually gone through anything at all?

I know I’m not alone on this belief. It’s hard to get people to read articles on leadership unless a famous person writes them. The thing about well known people who address the topic of leadership is they know the game. They tell stories and give you personality. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good for all of us.

I decided to take a quick look at some of the lists I made last year on leadership topics to see some of what others were writing about. Here’s some of the topic names:

“8 Tips for Performance Metrics”

“The Apprentice Leader: Making the transition to leadership”

“How To Run Highly Important Meetings”

“Davos: Business Leaders Focus on 5 Sustainability Themes”

“Transitioning Our Teams From Survival To Opportunity”

“The 4 Laws of Enduring Innovation Success”

“How To Regularly Acknowledge Your Direct Reports”

All of those were “okay” articles, but they were pretty straight forward, no deviation, almost like textbooks. I can’t remember anything from them because, truthfully, they were boring. Who wants to read that all the time?

If I’m being honest, I think that’s one of the problems we have with the concept of leadership overall. So much of what’s written and talked about when it comes to the topic comes across as boring.

It’s hard to get people into leadership training when they’re worried they’re going to fall asleep in class. If you think I’m exaggerating, think back to when you were in school taking geometry. How many of your classmates did badly because of how it was taught? Were you one of those bored senseless in class? By the way, I’ll admit to getting A’s in geometry, but that’s because I understood the concepts better by reading the book. 🙂

As someone who’s done some leadership training for groups, I know what I’ve felt at the beginning of some of them. People are staring, thinking it’s going to be a drag. I know what they’re thinking: “I’d rather be home watching TV”.

At one training I pulled out a bag of Hershey’s nuggets and told the class that I was going to ask some questions to get started. I said that the person who answered the question best would get a nugget, and if more than one person was on the ball each person got a piece of candy. Even people who don’t like chocolate (I know very few of those) like getting free candy.

When you can reach people, you can teach them. It’s not always about being entertaining, but it’s definitely always about being engaging. If you’re a leader, you have to be willing to show some energy and personality. If you write or talk about leadership, you have to be less rigid in your thinking and writing. Stories aren’t only for children; everyone gets engrossed in a good story, especially if it’s told well.

By the way, I took a look at my last 5 articles on this blog, to critique myself on how I wrote them. Four of the articles have some kind of story within them; the last one has a couple of lines in somewhat of a story form, but the 5 points I mention have at least one line showing a bit of personality. I’m certainly not saying I’m perfect; I hope I’m showing how I can be different.

Can you be a different type of leader, one who shows personality? Can you teach others how to be better leaders without being boring? How would you do it?
 

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