Everyone is (or should be) a leader. Everyone has the opportunity to influence others. This includes people who are in formal leadership positions (e.g. CEO, VP, Director, Manager) and people who are not (e.g. individual contributors).
There are three pillars to my leadership philosophy:
- Have principles and live by them.
- Don’t rely on good intentions.
- Find the crux through rigorous debate.
My leadership philosophy was shaped during my 21-year tenure at Microsoft, where I “faked it until I made it”. “Faking it” meant observing other leaders, emulating them, and experiencing either great success or significant failures. “Making it” involved using what I learned to develop my own set of leadership principles, and over time, I evolved into a principled leader myself.
When I joined Amazon, I found the Amazon Leadership Principles resonated with the principles I had been working to embody. As an executive at Amazon, where I built and managed hyper-growth teams that delivered exceptional results, it seemed like I was attending a graduate program on leadership. I learned the importance of intentionality in leadership: Leaders need to be intentional about acquiring new skills, not merely relying on good intentions, and fostering rigorous debate to identify the crux of an issue.
“The best way to learn is to teach.” - Frank Oppenheimer
Post-Amazon, as CTO at SnapOne/Control4, I was intentional about teaching what I’d learned so far. This experience reinforced my love and aptitude for teaching and coaching.
I adhere to the idea of having strong opinions, weakly held. I believe that leaders should be humble, curious, and empathetic, and should avoid taking themselves too seriously.
Coaching sessions should be fun, even when the topics are serious. My style is to be positive, energetic, and empathetic. I pose pointed questions to help leaders think through their problems in new ways.
“They’re just questions, Leon. In answer to your query, they’re written down for me. It’s a test designed to provoke an emotional response—shall we continue?” - Blade Runner
As an attentive listener, I like to echo back what I have heard to verify my understanding and sometimes offer a clearer way of thinking. I will also share my own experiences and will give advice when suitable. I strive to help leaders see the forest through the trees.
I aim to get to know you as an individual. I will regularly ask about your family, your hobbies, and your interests. I strive to understand what brings you joy and will guide you to make decisions that optimize your happiness.
I will make you aware of skills and tools that will help you become a better leader, and I will help you practice them.