Halloween Candy and Leadership

Happy Halloween! Believe it or not, Halloween and leadership do have something in common…candy! Wouldn’t it be nice if we could choose our leader like we choose our favorite Halloween candy? Sometimes we might lean toward a sweet, soft marshmallow leader or a Laffy Taffy stick-to-you leader, or maybe we’d even prefer a hard, jawbreaker kind of boss.

There are times when we must be all of the above, because as leaders we shouldn’t lead the same way under different conditions. The season of business, the conditions of the game, or the performance of a teammate all dictate what style of leader we need to be. Let’s have some fun with it!

Marshmallow Leaders – These leaders are very soft and mellow and are good in a tense situation or crisis to settle everyone’s nerves. However, consistently leading like a marshmallow will frustrate your team because you don’t seem to have a backbone.

Laffy Taffy Leaders – These leaders will stick to you! And they should during economic downturns or other times of change. When a leader is present and knows the pulse of their team, their presence can create a sense of relief during difficult seasons. However, sticking too close to a teammate can seem like micromanaging. Back off when things are pacing as they should. Don’t smother your people.

Jawbreaker Leaders – Jawbreakers are firm and direct. This is good during crucial conversations. Even though the conversation might be hard for a teammate to hear, when they know where you stand, they have clarity regarding their performance. However, like the other “candy leaders,” too much firm all the time can be frustrating because your teammates might begin to feel like they can’t ever please the boss.

Chocolate Leaders – Have you ever noticed how chocolate seems to be the candy that holds most things together? It’s on the outside of some of my favorite candies: Snickers, Rolos, Milky Way, and Reese’s peanut butter cups, just to name a few.  What a great illustration of a good leader – holding the team together and letting them perform in their areas of strength, yet winning as a blended team!

What leader do you need to be based on your current conditions?


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