Leader A vs. Leader B

What comes first, the compass, or the clock? Before we can manage time (the clock), you have to know where you are going (the compass).

The demands for everyone are constantly evolving – promotions, shifting responsibilities, new bosses or team members, even the global pandemic has forced everyone to shift. If we don’t evolve with them, we fail to be effective. Successful leaders, embody leadership mindsets and actions

Leader A inspires others. They are energized and enthusiastic, they feel like they are making a difference.  When they return home, they leave work behind and can focus their energy and attention on their families.

Leader B exhibits manager traits. They often feel rushed, reactive, overwhelmed, or exhausted. They feel like their work and efforts are not making a difference, and they can be irritable. When they go home, they continue to work and are disengaged from their families. Leader B feels like they are spinning their wheels regardless of how many hours they have put in.

Leader ALeader B
• Motivated
• Know their purpose
• Enthusiastic
• Feel like they are making a difference
• Creative
• Focused
• Feel accomplished at the end of the workday.
• Empower (influence) others and trust they will get the job done
• Create value. (what you are adding, the impact your having, and the difference you are making)
• Reactive to situations and problems
• Feels rushed
• Overwhelmed
• Exhausted
• Feels like their efforts are not making a difference
• Disconnected from people
• Agitated and irritable.
• I will just do more pitfall.
• Doesn’t delegate.
•Counts tasks, focused on quantity.

Leaders will bounce back and forth from Leader A and Leader B traits. When we find ourselves slipping more into the Leader B role, we will want realign ourselves with Leader A traits. Leader A is focused on and understands their “WHY”. They know their purpose and the direction they are headed is more important than how fast they reach their goals. The compass will guide the clock.

As a teenager, I was inspired by a woman in her 80’s who took a college class every semester until she passed away. Her example made a profound impact on me, it taught me that you are never too old to learn. I have talked with many people who feel like they are coasting along and think they are too old to learn. Age is just a number, if there is something that you want to learn, something that intrigues you, go learn it. Take a moment to reflect on the leaders in your life who have inspired you. These leaders don’t have to be someone you know personally.

 One of the pitfalls that moves Leaders A to Leader B is the increasing requests to attend meetings, give presentations, and participate on boards. Be intentional with your time, you do not need to accept every request. Being intentional means that you evaluate the request and determine if it aligns with the larger purpose, your mission and goals, if it doesn’t it is okay to say not right now. When leaders spread themselves too thin, they can lose sight of their purpose and become ineffective.

I have worked with both types of leaders, leaders A & B. The Leaders who have inspired me the most practice Leader A traits regularly. They helped mentor and guide me, that is not to say that my road has been fast or easy. Like everyone else there have been detours, stops, and starts along the way. When we know our purpose, we are better able to manage our time and energy more intentionally and effectively.

We can choose to be leader A or we can choose to be leader B. Leadership traits like any other skill need to be practiced and utilized so that you become more comfortable with them. Busy days will not disappear from our lives, aspire to have “good” busy days. Ask yourself is the task at hand helping you to be the compass guiding you to the purpose or the clock that is managing your time and efforts.  

By, Cheryl Viola, Executive Director, MBA


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