Are you a Lateral Leader?

As a leader which column do you fall into?

Conventional Leaders


Lateral Leaders


Lead from the front Lead from alongside
Direct Inspire
Use conventional methods and seek to improve effectiveness and efficiency Develop new methods and seek to change the rules, change partners or change the approach to the problem
Think they know best (and often do) Harness the abilities of others
Have a strong sense of direction and purpose Have a vision and use it to inspire others
Spend more time on improving day-to-day operational matters than on strategic issues Spend more time on finding new strategic initiatives and partners than on solving operational or day-to-day matters
Give directions and orders Ask questions, solicit suggestions, delegate
Look for greater efficiency, more productivity, faster development, more aggressive sales and marketing Look for new ways to do things, new approaches to the customer, new solutions, new partnerships
Treat staff as subordinates Treat staff as colleagues
Are decisive, often without prior consultation Solicit views and inputs before making decisions
Use analytical, critical, logical thinking Use lateral thinking
Build an effective team of managers who can execute policy and implement plans Build a team of creative, entrepreneurial individuals
Focus on actions and results Focus on direction and innovation to achieve results
Communicate through memos and e-mail Communicate through open discussion
Instruct Empower
Hire based on experience, proven track record and qualifications Hire based on talent, potential and creativity
Discourage dissent Encourage constructive dissent
Cherish results first, people second Cherish ideas, innovation and people
Promote themselves as leaders and figureheads with the press, customers and the outside world Share exposure and prestige with the team
Encourage action, activity, work Encourage ideas, innovation, fun
Reward performance and results Reward creativity and risk taking
Are numbers oriented and analytical Are ideas oriented, analytical and intuitive
See technology as a means to do things better, faster, cheaper See technology as a means to do things entirely differently
Overrule ideas and initiatives they see as flawed or wrong Encourage all initiative and often implement ideas or suggestions over which they have doubts
Look for ideas from their own experience Look for ideas from anywhere!

Paul Sloane writes and speaks on innovation and lateral thinking. He is the author of The Leader’s Guide to Lateral Thinking Skills from which this list is taken.

On Amazon.co.uk

On Amazon.com


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