5 Leadership Strategies to Maximize Personality for Performance

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5 Leadership Strategies to Maximize Personality for Performance: Developing the Leaders Around You Interview with Pat Tamakloe

Leaders are uniquely qualified by their inherent ability to “see” things that most or the typical eye may not pick up on. With that comes their personalities and how that fits into the environment and people they lead. Whether this is a church setting between pastors, priests, or deacons with their parishioners, a board of directors among their members, or a facility that provides services for the underprivileged. In all these cases, one’s personality or behavior can be overbearing, overly passive, or dismissive when interacting with others. Therefore, understanding how one’s own personality or tendencies affect others and how to employ those behavioral tendencies to be effective in leadership is imperative. Knowing strategies that enhance performance, by knowing what each leader’s behavioral profile is, can pay dividends in knowing how effective or how well, one is leading to be impactful in all outcomes.

Dr. Pat Tamakloe

Pat A. Tamakloe, Ph.D. (“Dr. PAT”) is the President/Chief Executive Officer of GLOBAL REACH Leadership Institute, a Leadership Strategy Consulting and Training firm, and the founder of Tamakloe & Co, LLC, a leadership literature enterprise based in Virginia Beach, Virginia. As an organizational leadership expert, he has worked with a myriad of leaders and corporate executives, from startups and small businesses to a franchise organization in the United States (US) and abroad.

He is a leadership strategy consultant, certified speaker, executive coach, team- trainer, author, and C-Suite Network Advisor. He also co-pastors in the Norfolk, Virginia congregation of an International Church, and he is on the adjunct faculty of a local university. His work has included speaking internationally to non-profit/for-profit organizations, international radio shows, international schools, as well as business executive teams nationally and abroad.

Dr. PAT’s 23-year US naval service before he retired from the enlisted to officer ranks included leading in various US and overseas capacities. His vast executive acumen and broad expertise in multi-national strategic, tactical, and leadership training for organizational leadership and personal growth make him an emerging leadership authority and change agent on the global leadership front. His passion for mentorship and leadership development across all leadership continuums has earned him influential positions on various local and international Boards of Directors.

He currently lives in Virginia Beach, VA, with his family.

For more information, go to https://globalreachleaders.com


Read the Interview Transcript

Hugh Ballou: Greetings, this is Hugh Ballou. Welcome to The Nonprofit Exchange. Transforming leaders, transforming organizations, transforming lives. As we transform lives, notice I started with transforming leaders. It’s working on ourselves. We have a special guest today, a new friend. Like I said before we started, I’m smarter than I look; I can spot quality. He and I synergize on a number of variants. We are going to talk about leadership generally and specifically today. I am going to stop talking and ask Pat Tamakloe who he is.

Pat Tamakloe: I would say I’m a young, budding entrepreneur who has served 23 years in the naval service. Today I am running and growing a leadership development firm. I’m of West African heritage, born in New York. After 23 years in the Navy, I’ve learned a lot about leadership, working with teams, working with leaders from captains to admirals, working bilaterally with other people. I have learned it takes knowing people to connect. I have pretty much grown to understand leadership as something that you as an individual have to work on yourself first. I developed myself, learned from my mistakes. Today, I have retired as a naval officer and am running this organization.

I am also a pastor of a church. I co-pastor with three others in Norfolk. That’s pretty much what I do. I have two daughters. One is a college graduate, and the other is going to be a sophomore in college. I do all of this out of Virginia Beach. That’s a little bit about me.

Hugh: I love it. Pat’s a fellow Virginian. You live in Virginia Beach?

Pat: That’s correct.

Hugh: I used to live in Blacksburg, which is the largest town in Virginia. You live in the largest city in Virginia. I moved up to a mid-sized city, Lynchburg, in the mountains. We live in the pretty part of Virginia.

Pat: Everybody says Lynchburg, the Blue Ridge Mountains, all that. I enjoy looking at the ridges over there.

Hugh: Having said that, my wife and I go to Virginia Beach for the New Year’s holiday to celebrate. We love it.

What is your passion? You have chosen this as your profession. What is your passion for leadership?

Pat: My passion for leadership revolves around transformation, which I know is near and dear to your heart. It stems from finding myself, whether accidentally or intentionally, in leadership roles. From grade school to high school to the Navy, I enlisted and quickly evolved into a commission status. The passion for leadership is really about seeing the lives of people change from either having low self-esteem, not really realizing they are someone in God’s eyes, to make a dynamic transformation in their lives and seeing what they thought they couldn’t do is actually possible. I like to be a part of that, and I do that through different strategies. The passion is about leadership and transforming people’s lives, starting with self.

Hugh: I have seen you in other settings, and that comes across when you present yourself. Part of who we are as leaders is the passion for what we believe in, our values and our principles that we operate with. You mentioned transformation. I’m a fan. I discovered the works of Burns and Bass years ago who wrote about transformational leadership. They use the military as a model. You have objectives and tactics. Then you build a high-performing team around that.

Let’s talk about leadership. I used to serve mega-churches; I was a music director. I discovered later in the game that 10% of my job was music, and 90% was all the leadership stuff which made it happen.

Pat: You bet. It takes a great leader to orchestrate music. Without the leadership, music is all over the place. You know it when it’s off. You epitomize what leadership is.

Hugh: We are only as good as our last gig. It’s immediately evident. Let’s talk about the culture of leadership if we can. There is a condition in the military in combat where your platoon will shoot you in the back if they don’t respect you. There is corporate leaders that get shot in the back every day, but they don’t even know it. Building your high-performing team, what are the obstacles? What do we need to learn as leaders to empower this team around us?

Pat: That’s an awesome question. I always like to give tips or strategies in threes, so I have three tips. First, know yourself. Knowing yourself is key to excelling. It’s about self-awareness. If you know that you’re people-oriented, you have to know how to compliment your people-oriented nature with task-oriented people. Knowing yourself is a good start to doing that.

Then you realize your team can have cohesion because they understand you. You know you’re a people person who may be so close, but sometimes you neglect the tasks that need to get done as a leader. What do you do? You have to surround yourself with people who are more task-oriented. That is why the synergy in teamwork is important. It starts with knowing yourself, knowing you are task-oriented or people-oriented, so you know which direction you need to move in.

The second piece is knowing your people. It’s about understanding what the shortcomings and strengths are with your team. Sometimes it is hard to spot if you don’t know yourself first. You tend to see others negatively when maybe they just have some flaws.

One thing I have come across is we need to make a distinction between errors in judgment and errors in character. There is a difference. Character means that is who the person is. Judgment can happen to anybody at any time. When you know your team, what happens is this is a quality person. Their character proves it every day. Because their character proves it every day, what you want to make sure you are doing is leading them through a process of transformation so they can excel for themselves and for the team. What happens if a person great in character makes an error in judgment? Do you say, “Okay, I’m sorry. You don’t belong here anymore?” That’s what happens with organizations. We sacrifice people for their errors in judgment. Knowing your team is needed for excellence.

Then there is knowing your environment in which you are growing, nurturing, trying to create. Sometimes the environment might be conducive for whatever goal you are trying to attain. It helps a lot.

Let’s say for instance that you are as a leader creating a hostile environment, and you don’t even know that. The question I’m going to ask is, “How are you getting feedback from your people?” What kind of environment are you creating? Are you asking people for feedback as you lead? If you think, “I’m a great leader,” and you don’t have one person telling you how your speech was or how your attitude was, and you create a hostile environment, you’re not going to last as a leader. You are going to put a nail in your own coffin.

Knowing yourself, knowing your team, and knowing your environment you are creating are critical to creating a team-cohesive environment. That are my three tips for you today on that topic.

Hugh: It takes a lot of skill to crystalize complex concepts into some points people can grasp and move forward from there. Seems like those three things are inter-connected. Let me give you an analogy as a conductor on a podium. One of the good teachers of conductors says, “What they see is what you get.” Leaders set up problems sometimes and blame others. Talk about this knowing of self and this lack of awareness. How does it impact leadership?

Pat: I can go on for hours about lack of self-awareness and what happens as a result of that. I’m glad you anchored around that. Lack of self-awareness, it leads to- I don’t want to say a hostile environment, but it leads to failure in some ways. It may not be an entire failure, but it leads to a breakup of a team because you don’t know yourself enough to calibrate yourself, to change things about yourself.

A lack of self-awareness leads to self-aggrandizement. By that, I mean because you are in the position of leadership without getting feedback or knowing your strengths, you think everything is going great. As a result of that, it could break down the team. You have heard of the saying, “People leave their bosses and not their jobs.” People don’t realize the organization is losing people as a result of the leader. Your retention goes completely down because of you. Lack of self-awareness results in that.

Thirdly, it can lead to you losing money as well. No one wants to lose money. How does this lead to loss of money? If you are a leader and find yourself spending a lot on things that are not productive toward the goal, you realize your balance sheets have a lot of expenses and very little revenue or assets. Why? You don’t realize you don’t know yourself and know that you are someone who spends.

Hugh: Absolutely. I can’t cite the source of this, but I have read in the past that leaders spend an enormous amount of time addressing conflict when maybe they are the ones that set it up. A companion statistic is the Gallup poll. Year after year, it says 70% of the corporate work force are either disengaged or highly disengaged, and to your point, that is translated into $500 billion of lost revenue because of wasted time. How do we sometimes have blind spots and set up some of these issues unknowingly?

Pat: The blind spots goes back to having a process or system that needs to be in place to avoid those blind spots unknowingly. For me, one of the ways I avoid setting up these blind spots is having a system that is a feedback mechanism. It’s built into my presentations, the team that I have around me. It’s also built into the culture that I create through my conduct.

What do I mean by all this? Whenever I give a presentation, let’s say I have a 30-minute or 45-minute presentation. At the end, I typically have a survey. Setting myself up for success. I want to make sure people are following along. The survey is intended to give me immediate feedback on how the presentation went so I can learn from that and for people to realize that I am acknowledging what they are putting across. That is set up in a questionnaire or a poll on Zoom. I get that immediate feedback so people know I care about their thoughts and the recommendations they make.

Secondly, there is a system I have where at the end of an event, the team gets together and says, “Ladies and gentlemen, what did we do wrong, what did we do right, and how can we improve?” Everyone knows to be taking notes during the process. It could be as simple as during a presentation I am giving. But everyone has a hand in it. Setting yourself up for failure would be not having those things in place to begin with.

Thirdly, you have an online presence. Google Reviews would be a place where you could seek out feedback and ask people to give you an honest review. That is also a place where someone could make you look bad.

How do you do all of this? Avoiding setting yourself up for failure is about making sure you have systems in place. When you have systems in place that create an opportunity for you to become self-aware, it helps you excel in any way you can.

Hugh: Wise words. Lots of good sound bites. Pat, you hit on a key element. In 32 years of working with business and nonprofit leaders in all kinds of places, in small organizations to multi-nationals, communication always comes up. Never has it failed to come up as one of the topics at the beginning. Communication as a negative. It’s not there. They all talk about it, but they don’t know what to do about it. To compound it, I often hear from leaders, “We can’t ask people what they think because if they tell us what they think, we are obliged to do it.” How do you gauge that you’re effectively communicating and engaging with your team?

Pat: I’m glad you mentioned that. Global Reach Leadership loves to talk about communication. Being a mentee of John Maxwell, for those of you who are faith-based, John Maxwell is a renowned communicator. He has a book that talks about communication and connection. Communicating is something people can do, but are you making a connection? Connection is about being involved and into the person that is connecting with you. Why are there communication gaps in organizations and teams? Why is it that people cannot get that piece across?

How do you know when you’re being effective? You know you’re being effective by making sure whomever you are communicating with is giving you feedback. The feedback is obtained several ways. It’s through you engaging with the individual in a way that you pose questions with expectation of a response, or you create an atmosphere or culture where you are putting questions or people in a position to give you feedback. Where there is no feedback, whether it is personal or feedback about your organization, it means there is a gap in communication.

What do you do about it? The first thing you want to do is follow up about the question that you asked or the topic that creates the gap in communication, and see whether people are on board with it. First is feedback.

Secondly, follow up. The follow-up piece is where people lose in the communication piece. Communication is only effective if you get a response from the other party. How do you do that? Make sure you are engaged as well. There are leaders that tend to be off handed. They send an email and expect a response back. What I do typically is what I call the dual-prong approach. I send an email and follow up with a phone call if I have their number. Or I will find someone who has a connection to them and try to reach them. Making sure you are covering both ends is critical.

The last thing I would say is to connect, you really have to make sure you are seeing things from the other party’s point of view. If you know your people and your team and what makes them tick or what makes them successful, you approach the questions and concerns from their perspective. What would Timmy do? I know Timmy tends to have problems at home, so he is often late to work. How do I communicate to him effectively to let him know it’s not okay to continue doing this because he will lose his job? You find out how things are going at home. Let him be able to express himself to a point where now you’ve not only gained insight into Timmy’s world, but you have also given him an opportunity to consider whether or not this is the right workplace for him. You don’t then terminate Timmy. Timmy makes the decision to terminate himself because he realizes the standards of the organization are not something he can keep up with.

How do you communicate that about being in the person’s world and making sure the person understands you are supportive, empathetic, and compassionate? That connection can only happen if you are engaged and trying to seek feedback from the person. One-direction communication, “this is how things are,” is not communication. Always seek to get feedback from the other party. Always follow up to make sure you get the response you’re looking for.

Hugh: There are so many assumptions that we have all the right answers. I had a leader going into a meeting, and he said, “I am going to straighten things out because I always have the right answers for my company.” I said, “That’s wrong.” He said, “What do you mean?” I said, “Isn’t it more important that they have the right answer? What do they do if you’re not there?” It’s a sign of a good transformational leader that you can leave, and it works the same as if you were there. I want to talk about behavioral traits, but I want to stay on communication for a second. To me, leadership and communication are based on relationship.

Pat: Yes.

Hugh: There is a similarity in the military and performance with an orchestra. People assume that a conductor is a dictator. You have a little white stick, and you hired union musicians. You can’t make them do anything. but you can influence them. We both in music and the military have a rigid structure, but we function within that with our individuality and creativity. We still have the structure and the common values and principles we operate with.

Speak about the listening part of communication and the awareness part. As a speaker, you can tell when you’ve lost an audience right away. The bigger they are, the quicker they turn on you. When you start losing them, that’s hard. Leaders don’t pay attention. They don’t listen or observe. How do we stay in tune with this communication piece and then continue with groups and individuals to build relationship?

Pat: You mentioned listening. When I coach leaders, the first thing I have to learn to do is to listen. Sometimes as a leader, I don’t listen too well. It’s a constant battle. I have to keep teaching myself. When you want to coach a leader, leaders by nature don’t want someone else to lead them. That’s why they are leaders. Listening is about the relationship piece. You have to develop a relationship with the individual. The relationship comes only when trust is earned.

To communicate effectively, I like to use the word “connection.” Communication is not just about saying some words and expecting the other person has heard them. It’s about making a connection. A connection can only happen if you are attentive to what the other person is saying. My sister often says, “Listen to what the other person is not saying.” To me, that was profound. Wow. Being that she is a minister, I bet she does that all the time. Listening is not just about the words that are heard; it’s about the words or feelings that are unspoken and unheard. How do you connect with people?

Fortunately, since she gave me that tip, what I have done often is when people are talking about how they feel, I try to listen to sound bites or things that they are not saying, or they are saying it differently. For instance, if someone says, “Sheila did not come to work the other day. I have really been thinking about what’s going on. I am having second thoughts about whether this person is really effective as a team member.” When that person says that, what they are really saying is, “I am this close to firing them.” They are not going to articulate that clearly. What you have to do at that point is ask the question, “Are you thinking about firing Sheila?” Then they can say, “Yes, I am.” Leaders do not want to come across as abrupt in that way.

Listening takes having a connection with a person. Listen attentively to what the other person is not saying. Be attentive. Make sure you develop that relationship with the person for them to trust you enough to communicate what they want to say. That is my recommendation.

Hugh: If you had some of the same education I did when I studied coaching, I studied with Corporate Coach U, it was a new acquaintance with silence. Someone finishes talking, and you wait. That is a clarifying moment. That was an Aha moment for me. Studying with some of the best conductors in the world, I noticed in rehearsal with Robert Shaw that there would be this gap. We’d do a part, and then he’d stop, and he’d say, “Here’s what we’re going to do.” There was a moment of clarification. It also sends a message to the person you are talking to that says, “I heard what you said. I am listening, and then I am responding.”

I just talked about my dialect. I’m Southern, y’all. You’re in the South. You said earlier that you came from a western African country. Which one?

Pat: My heritage is from Ghana. Both parents are from Ghana.

Hugh: One of the groups I worked with years ago produced events for choirs, competitions. In Graz, Austria, in 2008, there were 450 choirs from 120 countries. Among them, there were 40 choirs from South Africa and 20 choirs from other African countries. That was a wakeup to there is a bunch of music going on, and I was a musicologist. Even though there were specific cultures, customs, performance expectations, there was a unity in the fact that we wanted to make really good music. We all have our heritages, affinity groups, families, and things we like, but we come together. How do we show up fully as a leader in the community?

Here is an analogy. Everyone in the orchestra plays a different instrument with a different sound. There is no way they are going to approach musicmaking in the same way personality-wise, instrument-wise, etc. When we come together, we have a unified purpose to use our gifts and our skills and perspectives. When you build teams, you empower people from various perspectives. There are lots of dynamics. I learned in that engagement, when you have 125 cultures doing a performance, even the same kind of music, there are different ways of doing it, but there is a coming together of excellence and passion that empowers everybody. How do we encourage that as leaders?

Pat: It goes back to the knowledge of the team, the people’s strengths and challenges within the organization. I have a process I call the person job fit, where we try to fit people’s roles or work environments with their talents. Sometimes you have square pegs in round holes. It makes the organization dysfunctional. It makes the team dysfunctional, too.

Let’s say Timmy is really good with numbers, yet Timmy is now the front desk manager. How effective is Timmy going to be when Timmy likes to be in the back dealing with numbers? Just because Timmy has a nice face and you think he should be at the front desk doesn’t mean he is effective. How do you then identify the strengths or abilities and how to bring them into a group to make them synergistic? You do so by asking. Back to communication. “Timmy, what are you passionate about?” You’d be surprised that even though you think Timmy has a nice face to be at the front desk, Timmy does love numbers and could be even better than your current accountant in the back there. Guess what? As long as Timmy is not being utilized in the back office as an assistant to the accountant so they could be at their peak performance, Timmy won’t be an effective receptionist for you.

It starts with asking and communicating what people are passionate about. Then you find out people have strengths and gifts and talents you didn’t know about. What shows up on their resume or qualifications is not necessarily what they are good at. Maybe Timmy decided to major in political science because it was the easiest thing to do, but he is passionate about accounting.

Aligning the gifts and talents of people by first asking them what they are passionate about because that is ultimately one’s calling, that is the only way you can transform them, and then connecting people with what they are passionate about so they can excel at it. Then you as a leader can help transform them into becoming a better version of themselves.

They are also more engaged and valuable to the team because Timmy being a receptionist as a member of the team is not as effective as Timmy being an assistant to the accountant in the back office. The team is less strengthened because you did not put the person in the right job or the right area of their expertise. Aligning the team with gifts and talents by asking the right questions, learning what their passion is, is one key way to be able to excel as a team member.

Hugh: Really good advice. There is also another dynamic that I run across even with powerful leaders. Someone is not performing up to speed, and they don’t want to address it because they don’t want to hurt their feelings. We come across as a poor leader. It’s like me stopping a rehearsal and saying, “The trumpet is too loud. Pull it back one dynamic level.” Their feelings weren’t hurt. If I didn’t stop them, I’d be perceived as a poor leader. Give us some tips on how to address low performance. Keep in mind that it may have been set up because we put the wrong person in the wrong slot.

Pat: Hugh, you’re asking some great questions. I love talking about this stuff. I talk about Jack Welch’s approach, trash canning the bottom 10%. In any organization, the principle rules are 20% of the people are doing the job with 80% of the resources. The other 80% just don’t do anything. That’s just how it is.

I write about that in the sense that I look at it as the bottom performers are people who have not really caught on yet. If everybody is listening to you, and you are creating a culture where everyone feels empowered and strengthened to be part of the team, find out why the bottom 10% are not performing. Is it because they are misaligned with the goals and objectives? Or are they unhappy? If you find there is a misalignment or they are displeased, you don’t send them on their way because they will be set back somewhere else as well. What you then do is reassign them to something within the organization that is going to let them realize what their strengths are. That is an opportunity for them to do what I call self-discovery. Give them a timer of three months.

Develop an individual leadership development plan. I have done this with teams before. An individual leadership development plan is nothing more than individuals who seem not to be performing or seem like they have shortcomings in their leadership development. This allows them to identify what their limitations are and discover what their strengths are. Soon, you’ll realize the bottom 10% who are non-performers, it’s not that they are actually non-performers, but they are in the wrong place, or nothing is really challenging them. They have to be challenged. People love to be challenged because you probably wouldn’t have hired them in the first place if they were really that bad.

Most of the time, non-performers are the result of two things. They are either not challenged, or they have been put in the wrong place. Help them develop an individual leadership development plan to help them rediscover themselves and get to a level of self-actualization where they can discover they can be part of the 80% or jump to the other 20% who are actually performers in the organization. That is what I would do. And the time frame for that is three months where you have them on a program to develop themselves.

Hugh: The other piece of that which comes to mind is are the expectations clear to everyone? And have we put them in the right spot? And what are we measuring? Are we measuring the right things?

Pat: That’s right. If you have a measure or metric for everybody, it has to be across the board. I remember as an active-duty person, as an officer, there is a string of reports. They have all this anecdotal stuff that they have there, but they also have checkmarks. The highest you can get is a 5 on leadership, teamwork, and other things. If everyone gets a 5, and there is no room for growth, it makes people think they are walking on water. Believe it or not, commanding officers and team leaders and supervisors give people 4.8 or 4.7, in some cases, almost all 5s in each category. As a leader of the team, I am going to ask a question: Are you telling me this person walks on water in all these categories? There is either a flaw in the system you are using as a metric to measure what you are looking for, or it’s a complete lie. Nobody can be perfect in every category across the board. You have to identify what their strengths are. Please don’t mark a 5 in those areas. Maybe a 5 in one area. But certainly not four out of the five categories. That’s what you tend to see sometimes in performance appraisal marks or metrics you use to measure the performance of people.

Hugh: Let’s go back to the character of the leader. We can classify there are so many styles of leadership. I gravitated to transformational leadership because it reflected my position as a conductor. You transform instrumentalists into an orchestra, and you transform that orchestra into an ensemble. In the church, we transform people’s lives. It’s not about the music. It’s about who we are and how we respond to God’s call in whatever ministry we are in or whatever activity we are called to do. Transformational leadership is the same side of the equation as servant leader. Servant leaders are invisible. A transformational leader and a servant leader serve the vision. We serve others. A transformational leader is like a platoon leader; we are out there cheerleading. Sometimes, people need that cheerleader and encouragement from a person in front. Do you subscribe to any particular style of leadership that you want to share?

Pat: I always advocate for servant leadership. When I was graduating university, that was one of the things they profess on leadership. I am a big proponent of that. I tell you what I don’t prescribe is the Great Big Man leadership theory, autocratic leadership. It depends on what environment you’re in.

I don’t want to pick any particular style of leadership. Servant leadership, authentic leadership, transformational leadership, any other leadership that tends to hone in to connecting with people and getting people empowered to lead themselves is something that I would prescribe. I think that as leaders, we tend to use different styles of leadership based on the situations in which we find ourselves. I have tried to say, “I am an authentic leader,” but in some cases, you end up finding yourself really using transformational leadership techniques to address something. There is some synergy between transformational leadership and authentic leadership. That in itself is because the situation dictates it. Servant leadership, where you are really serving others first, is one way to do that, especially in a nonprofit environment. You find servant leaders more than other leaders. The environment dictates the kind of leadership to employ, be it transformational, servant, authentic, and even autocratic.

In some situations, autocratic leadership tends to be the one that people like. I think of the military as an autocratic organization because you follow orders. It’s my way or the highway. Some leaders, good ones, in the military have adapted to the transformational piece of it. What they want to do is bring you into that and let you see how their thoughts and the mission really leads to the goals that we are achieving. We do that together as a team. Yes, we have orders to execute to get the mission accomplished, but ultimately, if you see yourself as a part of it, and you set your goals and objectives toward it, it leads to a transformation to the result you are looking for. I think it depends in the environment you’re in.

Hugh: I applaud that. It’s not one size fits all. Transformational leadership in the military is about a high-performing culture. You can’t micro-manage people in combat. State leadership, if you have an emergency, you can’t micro-manage people. Neither can we in a concert. We shift to a command position. I’m conducting a concert. Things happen. I need to be in charge. The people look to me for the answer. Autocratic leaders who are always autocratic, it’s more about them than the vision. That is what appealed to me about transformational or servant leadership. It’s about the vision, not about me.

Character. You talk a little about the behavior traits of a leader. But let’s talk about the character of the leader. Being a rotten person. There are a lot of opinions about Jack Welch. If you are in the bottom 10%, you’re gone. It’s the fear leadership. You pointed out there is a nurture piece. Let’s find out what the real problem is. Some people, you can’t rescue. You can’t help. They don’t fit. Maybe there are some people who are nothing but potential. Talk about the impact of values and principles in character as a leader on the culture.

Pat: Hugh, I am so thankful you are asking these questions. These are so great. I love the notion of character. That is part of my five-point scale. I have a system called The Five Point Paradigm. Character is the one that you need for follower engagement. What do I mean by that?

If you don’t have character, your followers are going to be gone pretty soon. It goes back to what I was talking about. If you are a leader, and you have an error in your character, then it’s a problem, rather than an error in judgment. Character as a leader is essential for you to excel because when you are leading, integrity is part of your character. Character is what really resonates with people. Character is your drink. Character is what you live by.

Character is what people see and what people really feel from you. How does the person feel character? It is in what you do and how you do it. If you say one thing and then do another, there is probably an error in your character. Your integrity can be questioned as a result of that. To have followers follow you diligently or want to go to battle with you or want to serve on your team or excel in your organization, you have to practice what you preach, for lack of a better cliché. Practicing what you preach, or living your life of integrity, is what shows your character.

Sooner or later, if there is a flaw in your character, it will be revealed. Often, it is revealed in the most inopportune times: when you are under pressure, when you feel like you are at your wit’s end, when you feel like there is nothing for you to do on a team. If you are a Christian, at the slightest sign of stress, if you cuss people out, people are going to wonder, “Wait a minute. Is this a façade, or is this who you are?” Character is about who you are more than about what you do, even though they are related. Character is who you are, and it’s evident mostly when you are under pressure. If you are on a team, it’s putting yourself in times of pressure to reveal who you are for your followers to follow you.

Hugh: As an old guy, how did you get so wise at such a young age?

Pat: My wisdom comes from God. I just seek it. Thanks for that compliment. I don’t consider myself wise at all. I just consider myself passionate about something.

Hugh: It’s coming through. You’ve seen some things. You’re able to analyze a situation without fault-finding. Thank you for the affirmation of good questions. Those were clarifying questions from Bob Hopkins, who is watching this. You’ve seen him in the C-Suite.

I said that I had people on my committees as a mega-church who were not leaders but politicians. We are in a pretty sad state in our country with things in D.C. We’re not listening, and we are blaming everybody. In fact, you can blame anybody, but try to find anybody who is innocent. We don’t take a political stance or name people or put faults on them. From your stance, how could politicians be better leaders?

Pat: That assumes the politicians are not leaders. Here’s the thing. I’m so glad you’re asking this because it is important to understand the fact that just because you are in a position of authority does not make you a leader. I have to say that over and over again to people. Taken from Reverend John Maxwell, position is just a place of privilege. You have just earned the right to be there, but you haven’t really earned the permission from the people to be there. The permission comes as a result of having relationship with the people.

If you’re a politician, you’re only a politician because someone thought you spoke well, and they want something from you, so they will vote you into office. It has nothing to do with your leadership. Your leadership is about engaging people, connecting with people, finding a desire to transform the lives of people.

You ask how they can be better. You can be better by going back to what I was first talking about, which is the question piece. Ask people what they need for me to do to be a better representative for you. You’d be surprised how much people need you to carry the water for them. Unfortunately, politicians go into the office. They can’t wait to get there so they can have a position of prestige. “Everyone is going to look at me.” It’s everything about self-aggrandizement, everything about them, and little about the people they are representing. They are not just in a position of leadership; they are in a position of representation.

How can they be better? Three tips. 1) Find out what people need and connect with your constituents. By connection, I mean be present when they need you. When you’re present with people and you have a connection with them, you don’t have to hold any elections. People will vote you in office because you care. Be present by caring.

2) I’m not going to say compromise, but I am going to say listen to what the other party is saying, meaning those that are by nature not on your team. When I talk about politics, we talk about Republicans or Democrats in the United States. Find out if there are any areas of synergy for the benefit of the people. It’s not about you or what is going to make us look good or what is going to make our party look good. It’s about what is going to make us collectively as a team excel, transform. That’s the thing. It’s always about the collective, not the individual, whether it’s a party or individual. It’s always about the team.

Thirdly, find out whether you as a leader are really making an impact. If you as a leader or a representative or politician find yourself not being effective because you cannot get along with others, have the moral courage to say, “I cannot continue in this environment anymore. I am not going to seek reelection.” You can only do so much. That may not be the environment for you. A true leader is one that somebody is following. If you are a leader and nobody is following you, you are only talking a walk. Most of the time, you don’t have character because you don’t have the courage to be the character we’ve talked about here.

That’s my encouragement to politicians and how they can be better leaders. Engage with your team or constituents. Care about them. Find a way to work with the other teams for the good of all. Have the courage to say, “I cannot continue on this path anymore.” If you can do all this as a politician, you don’t have to work hard to find followers. People will follow you. They will go to battle with you and go to bat for you and go anywhere with you. That’s my recommendation.

Hugh: We’re out of time. You’re prolific and very wise; you’ve given us a lot of good things to think about today, Pat. We will have to have a part two sometime. We have people who are looking for new awareness and new energy as a leader. What thought do you want to leave people with today?

Pat: Thank you, Hugh. The only thought I want to leave people with is self-awareness. As a leader, you never know how well you’re leading until you fail. The only way to know how well you’re leading is by seeking feedback, being self-aware, and being introspective. Introspection is key to leadership. Be prepared to examine yourself daily. As a faith-based person, there is a scriptural annotation to this. Examine yourself. See whether you are making an impact on your environment or with your team. If you’re not making an impact with your team as you ask for feedback, then be prepared to go back and fix yourself, whether it’s through coaching strategies or training or reading or subscribing to SynerVision or anything like that that has a wealth of knowledge for you. Do that. If you’re not putting anything in yourself, you have nothing to give anybody. Develop yourself first. Research yourself. Then give somebody something so they can follow you.

Hugh: Dr. Pat, thank you for being our guest today and sharing such great things with our audience.

Pat: It’s an honor to be here. Thank you so much for having me, Hugh.  

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