What is Your Leadership Style; Taking Pictures or Painting Portraits? | Marketing and Networking University

What is Your Leadership Style; Taking Pictures or Painting Portraits?

Dr. William (Bill) Faulkner


Dr. William (Bill) Faulkner is Co-Founder and Principal Consultant for Out Loud Strategies which focuses on increasing the capacities of new and experienced leaders and helping organizations and enterprises thrive.

Bill has spent over 20 years as a higher education administrator and leadership educator where he has lead his own teams of professionals and hundreds of student volunteers. He has created innovative leadership development programs, courses, and workshops.


What is Your Leadership Style; Taking Pictures or Painting Portraits?

Recently, I had an opportunity to have a conversation with the directors of a relatively new leadership program for students at a major university. During those conversations, they were lauding the completely results-focused nature of their efforts. In fact, only the results of their chosen developmental intervention mattered. Now I have no issue with focusing on results, but it did get me thinking out loud about why their approach had to be such an either/or proposition? I believe as leaders, we should be more focused on painting portraits than just taking pictures!

Allow me to explain further. When we take pictures, we are just capturing the “what is” or the current state of affairs. In other words, the current results or level of functioning of individuals or organizations. Now that is all well and good and is important to do so but leaders should also paint portraits of “what could be!” That is literally and figuratively the beauty of those that paint. Painters can take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. A true work of art! Something that inspires and awes.

I believe that if we want better results from those we lead, we must inspire others beyond just their immediate level of performance. As much as team members want to know where they stand, they also want to know where they can go! Accountability is important, but so is inspiration and that is where a leader can have huge impact. As leaders, we are called upon to create “word pictures” of not only what is but what can be! We do this through our words, our actions, and our example.

Sam Adeyemi is a young minister in Nigeria that has built a congregation of over 25,000 and has launched even more churches. He points out that leaders have the opportunity (and I believe obligation) to lift up and inspire others to:

Help them believe they are more than they think they are.

That they can do more than they think they can do.

Have more gifts and talents than they think they have.

You cannot do that if you are just focusing on the “what is.” Back to my original question, then. Is your leadership about taking pictures or are you also painting portraits? As you are building a culture of accountability are you also creating an environment of enthusiasm and expectation? Is your leadership nimble enough to do both? I believe that people, especially younger team members, want to be inspired. They want to know that great things can still happen for them and others even in a cynical world. They want to know that they can impact others and situations. They want to know that there are still great opportunities available to make things better!

As always if I can help you and the people you associate with Get Better, Be Ready and LEAD OUT LOUD, Please reach out.  In fact, I have launched a new SPEAK FOR IMPACT training program that will help both novice and experienced leaders find their platform and increase their communication skills! Also, as a bonus, if you go to my Out Loud Strategies website and enter your contact information, I will send you a FREE guide to establishing a mentoring initiative program in your organization! Such an initiative would be critical to add value to your organization!

Yours in Leadership,
Bill Faulkner Out Loud Strategies
Principal Consultant – Out Loud Strategies
Independent Coach, Speaker, and Trainer with the John Maxwell TeamTM
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November 10, 2017