It’s the kind of question that reminds me of when I was a kid hanging with my pals and arguing over what was better: Ford or Chevy.
My employer provides me with a Blackberry but I also have an iPhone4 for personal use. Work is on the Blackberry and life is on the iPhone. I find the iPhone to be sleek, innovative, intuitive, contemporary, simple yet complex, and fun to use. The Blackberry is kind of clunky, non-intuitive, with a outdated interface, and not all that fun to use. Using the iPhone is intuitive while the Blackberry is a bit of a chore.
If these two smartphones were metaphors for leadership, which one would you be? iPhone or Blackberry?
My choice is iPhone leadership. Real leaders must be mindful of whether they are utilizing yesterday’s or today’s leadership technology. Like the iPhone, I believe that iPhone leadership encompasses some of these qualities:
- Lead proactively by understanding that what you say, how you act, the decisions you make provide cues and direction to those who work with you. Like an iPhone, simplicity in your leadership approach trumps complexity everyday. Make it easy for people to know where you stand and what you expect. Openness, transparency and authenticity are the values here.
- Like an iPhone, effective leadership is intentional. You know where you are going, always aspire to be your best and be very clear about what you -and your team- hope to achieve. Strengthen your skills constantly so that you stay on the leading edge of leadership technology.
- iPhones don’t come with an instruction manual. You turn it on and the rest just seems to happen intuitively. Similarly, the people who work for and with you shouldn’t need an instruction book to figure you out. Effective leaders aren’t men (or women) of mystery and intrigue. They are , in fact, the opposite: simple to understand with no surprises.
- I quite enjoy using my iPhone. It’s actually fun to use. iPhone leaders bring their sense of humour to work, they engage with their staff, remember birthdays and other important dates and take part in staff events.
- Probably the most important feature of my iPhone is that it just works. You turn it on and it works. No crashes or endless re-booting. I can rely on it. Similarly, one of the most important values for any leader is reliability. When staff and colleagues know you can make a decision, that you will keep a commitment and, most importantly, be there when they need you, you have achieved this value.
In the end, you choice of a leadership technology boils down to preference. Some people love their Blackberries while others are enamoured with their iPhones. Effective leaders can borrow the page from the current perils of Blackberry to understand that like smartphones, leadership is a constantly evolving technology and no one wants to be left behind.
What do you think about this perspective? Is it enough to simply latch onto the latest technology or is there value in proven technology? I’d appreciate your thoughts and comments.