Websters’ defines it as “the beat, time, or measure of rhythmical motion or activity.” Have you ever noticed that great leaders have a cadence about how they lead? We are all assaulted with “leadership styles”, “personality profiles” etc. etc. It seems that we are to be boxed into a specific type of “avatar” and that’s how we are supposed to lead and be led! Reality is different, of course. Human beings continue to motivate and be motivated by different drivers based on where they are/what they are doing/whom they are doing it with. While there may be certain basic behavioral attributes that remain constant, it is a folly to think that most people are “broken” and will never change. I don’t subscribe to that notion and if you want to be a great leader, you cannot afford to either.
Teams are made up of different people with different strengths and weaknesses. Organizational objectves and pressures follow their ebb and flow. Great leaders are able to harmonize their own beat to this natural “push & pull” of workplace rhythm. Here are some leadership cadence behaviors:
Every interaction is customized. Whether it is with their own team members, customers or vendors, great leaders engage and interact based on specific situations and people. They buy into the concept of fairness and equality. However, in their minds that doesn’t translate to a “cookie cutter” approach. They use the tools in their repertoire to address each interaction with a goal of the best outcome possible.
Different avatars for different situations. Leaders are able to smoothly and swiftly change gears from visionary to tactical implementer, from directive to persuasive, from expert to enabler, from foreground to background as the situation demands it. They are not pedantic and don’t really care what their DiSC or Myers-Briggs type is! (Nothing against assessments, these or others – they are valuable in their place, but sometimes there tends to be too much focus on these types of instruments).
Crescendo & Decrescendo. Leaders are able to orchestrate the subtle shifts required at appropriate times. For example, great leaders generally show up and get really intense during the “last mile.” Any project or initiative is most vulnerable at the beginning and near completion. And if leaders don’t focus on these, they are not serving their teams at all.
Have you checked your leadership cadence lately?