I was a lousy leader. I learned that when one of my employees, a guy named Steve, threatened to quit because of my dictatorial leadership style. He confronted me after one of my tirades because of my project team’s subpar performance.
“Listen Treasurer,” he said, “where do you get off talking to us like that? Do you think that by berating us and making us feel small you will earn our respect? All you do is harp on everyone’s mistakes. What’s your goal, dude? To make us afraid of you? At what cost? People hate working for you. If you talk to us like that again, I’ll walk. I respect myself too much to let you treat me that badly.”
The truth only hurts if it should.
That night I kept playing the conversation over and over in my head. The more I thought about it, the more I knew that Steve was right. The truth was; I had no idea who I was as a leader. Instead, I had resorted to adopting the leadership style of my predecessors. I wasn’t a leader. I was just a reflection of my previous bosses. I was me being them. My behavior was an echo of theirs, all linking back to my original leadership role model: my dad.