Above Image Source: abc.net.au
Very few will ever deny that achieving results is a non-negotiable part of any successful person, team or organisation. However, history has also proven that “how” results are achieved is as equally important as “what” results are achieved.
The main photo above needs little explanation, it provides a strong reminder of the fall out that can potentially derail people, teams and organisations when leaders embed a win at all costs culture.
Sadly, the costs typically associated with the fallout from a win at all costs culture tend to manifest in human hardship when everything eventually unravels.
The pain on Steve Smith’s face in that press conference alongside his father is something that many of us will never forget. The exceptional manner in which he has rebounded since is for a blog on “resiliency” at a later stage.
Leaders who can achieve results, whilst still ruthlessly protecting other critical elements that drive long term success, like culture and people, are simply worth their weight in gold.
The quote below perfectly sums up this type of leader, who is surprisingly rare even in the modern world. Society still tends to place those on pedestals who are prepared to win at all costs; often referred to as “brilliant jerks”.
It is important to note, whilst these rare leaders will show empathy and deeply care how people feel, it doesn’t mean they are not prepared to deliver tough love when it is in the best interests of their people, team and organisation.
However, their ability to deliver tough messages, and not have this adversely disrupt their people, team or productivity, comes from having instilled a culture that breeds “psychological safety” and not “fear”.
Whilst I have had the distinct pleasure of working with a number of exceptional leaders who demonstrate the above-mentioned rare combination in droves, the chosen example below is an “out of the box” fictitious character.
Winston Wolf – Pulp Fiction
Image Source: Magical Quote
Those familiar with Quentin Tarantino’s classic cult film Pulp Fiction will no doubt remember Winston Wolf and the somewhat in-famous “Bonnie Situation” scene.
What may not be remembered so vividly is Winston Wolf’s leadership skills on full display; especially as he manages to keep a very calm demeanour whilst leading other people in a chaotic situation.
The following leadership skills, displayed by Winston Wolf, are probably quite obvious given they all directly assist in achieving the desired result in a tight time frame:
– Dealing in facts
– Writing things down
– Taking ownership
– Giving direct / clear instructions
What may be missed however is some of the more empathetic elements of Winston Wolf’s leadership style.
He engages very respectfully on a human level with the key stakeholder Jimmy; easing his concerns and showing empathy given the challenging predicament in which he has unfairly been placed.
Winston Wolf even compensates Jimmy for offering up his best linen, a wedding present from his deceased relatives, which is unfortunately required to achieve the desired results.
Despite his reputation and curt instructions at times, when he is finally personally thanked as “Mr Wolf” for achieving the desired results, he brings back the human element again stating, “please, call me Winston”.