All quintessential leaders need a strong inner circle that they choose, because as Rockwell points out failure in leadership occurs in both isolation and control. The right inner circle – and this only comes through time, experience, interaction, and observation – enhances us as quintessential leaders and as people.

Quintessential leaders understand that they have areas of weakness, gaps in knowledge, and lack certain skills. Their inner circles will supplement and fill the voids.

Everyone we include in our inner circles should bring a lot to the table. This generally includes strong personalities and opinions (there is a HUGE difference between strong and argumentative – quintessential leaders will not add those who debate or argue for the sake of debating or arguing to their inner circles because this is a recipe for disaster and destruction). People with strong personalities and opinions will be successful when their focus is on goals, not themselves, and not winning at all costs.

Too many organizations mistake strong personalities and opinions that are self-centered, as well as isolation (I’m the “one and only”) and control (“my way or the highway”) as leadership. In reality this is the antithesis of leadership. It’s just self-absorption, self-aggrandizement, and self-centeredness.

Our inner circles should have passion, but they should be able to back that passion up with substance: truth, facts, logic, and focus. Passion for the sake of passion is never enough.

Rockwell lists three types of people who should be in our quintessential leadership circles. “You need a:

Visionary who is never satisfied.
Tender-heart who nurtures people.
Doer who is fanatical about execution.

Note: Include at least one old (visionary or nurturer) and one young (doer).”

Think today about the three people who fill these roles in your inner circles. If you don’t have all three, then think about who you would choose to fill these roles.

Comments
  1. iammarchhare says:

    quintessentialldr wrote: “there is a HUGE difference between strong and argumentative – quintessential leaders will not add those who debate or argue for the sake of debating or arguing to their inner circles because this is a recipe for disaster and destruction”

    You know, I’ve wondered about this, although not in such a concrete way. It seems like I’ve been in situations where someone chimed in with this or that simply because it seemed like they were trying to gain participation points for their next review.

    Your article helped me to clarify this thought. There is a difference between someone who is generally disagreeable and one who asks questions in order to probe matters deeper. The problem is that on the surface, they could be easily confused, and I think too often our corporate environments foster one of two extremes: one is where the people who talk and debate rise to the top simply because they are seen as strong personalities, or two is the other extreme where the sheep and “yes men” rise to the top simply to rubber-stamp whatever the main leader puts out.

    The person who genuinely examines a topic, turning it over and over in order to gain more knowledge about it irritates both of these, and most often that person either has to move out or be forced out into a different organization in order to succeed.

    At least, that is what my experience would suggest is too often the case.

    • Agreed, John. There is a right way to hash things out among a group of people with strong opinions and strong personalities when the goal is to clarify, focus, and come to agreement on a path forward. Debaters and arguers have no interest in respect, listening, clarifying, and reaching a consensus. They’re only interested in being the loudest, the last voice heard, and the winner. You run into these kinds of people in every walk of life, but they tend to bully their way to the top in organizations, unfortunately.

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