Leadership Styles IV: Are you a Tortoise or a Hare?

Tortoise-and-Hare-300x199Everytime someone tells me about the famous Aesop Fable, “The Tortoise and the Hare”, I’m told that the moral of the story is that being slow is the way to win!

I always had a hard time with this because I tend to do things fast: I make quick decisions, I like to be on the move, I want my organization to be going someplace, I fill my schedule, and my “pace” is sometimes pretty crazy.  That’s the way I prefer it. This is how I’m wired.

Other’s don’t function this way. They like a slower pace. They are more intentional about relationships, about decisions and about how much they put on their plate at the same time. They prefer the tortoises approach: “slow and steady”.

We all have a preference. When you think of leadership, where do you fall?

The Tortoise – Slower & Steady

– You process decisions and wait until you’re ready

– You tend to focus on one thing at a time before moving on

– You are OK with missing opportunities because of the pace

– You don’t like to be pushed until you’re ready

– You tend to value relationships and the process first, then the goal

– You are intentional, always knowing where you’re going

– You’re OK not getting there first, as long as you get there.

The Hare – Faster Moving

– You can juggle multiple things at the same time

– You tend to always be moving

– You aren’t content to stop and wait

– You get impatient with those that move at a different pace

– You aren’t afraid to make a wrong decision, but you’re quick to adjust and move forward

– Sometimes you leave people behind

– You are often on the cutting edge of an opportunity

There are many other ways to describe this, but there is a difference.

Answer these questions to yourself:

*Do you get frustrated when you come to the end of a meeting and there are no action steps? You might be a rabbit.

*Do you always push for clarification and details before saying yet? You might lean towards the turtle side… not completely though!

*Are you always thinking about what’s coming up next?

*Do you look at your daily calendar, your weekly calendar, your monthly calendar or your yearly calendar the most?

*Do you have a hard time waiting in line for anything?

We’re talking about leadership styles.  There’s no right or wrong, but it’s important for you to identify your style and help your team and organization understand how you operate.

If you operate as a “tortoise”, this will help explain why people get frustrated that decisions aren’t made more quickly.  You need to help them understand the value of taking additional time and coming to the right decision.

If you operate as a “hare”, this will help others understand why you’re always so busy, why you are always multi-tasking, and why you expect others to do the same.

Communication will help you be more effective.

In the story, the tortoise beat out the hare at the finish line.  The tortoise had moved steadily all day, plodding towards the finish line.

The hare however, took a nap, had breakfast, took another nap, and lost the race.  The hare did finish the race, he just did some other things as well.

What’s your style?

More on Leadership Styles

Russ Cline has wide experience in church, mission, and global leadership. Beginning in the local church in Southern California, then moving to Ecuador for 16 years to be a part of launching three distinct organizations, Russ is now back in Southern California working with Extreme Response International in providing leadership coaching and organizational development to leaders around the world. Russ' passion is to come alongside organizations and to help them identify areas of growth, focus and change, resulting in greater impact and effectiveness. Russ graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a degree in Business and Christian Education and completed his graduate work in Organizational Development. He has been married for 29 years to Gina, and they have three kids: Rheanna, Riley and Raylin. Write directly to Russ at: rcline@extremeresponse.org www.extremeresponse.org www.leadermundial.org twitter: leadonesource, leadermundial

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