Leadership Uses All the Colors

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Some people, and some organizations, believe that leadership is monochromatic.

They act as though leadership comes in one size, one color, one version. There is a right way to lead, and there are no other acceptable options. For me, this “one size fits all” approach may be the opposite of leadership.

Our world is in constant motion. Boundaries are being pushed back every day. We are ever more connected to each other. Innovation continues to accelerate. Challenges continue to become more and more complex.

Leaders need to recognize when and how to use all the colors.

Each of us has our own favorites. Some leaders are vibrant and create shiny, exciting environments that motivate people to do their best work. Some leaders are more down to earth, growing integrated teams that fit together in organic relationships. Some rely on their primary skills to accomplish goals, while others develop eclectic combinations of abilities across the spectrum.

It is crucial that leaders not allow their personal preferences to become limiting habits. While I may appreciate the colors in a particular range, that does not excuse my ignoring all the other choices. I may love being a bright red leader, but I still need blue and green.

There are times when brown can accomplish what purple cannot.

Some colors are great for attracting attention, others are better for settling us down for the long haul. Some colors spur people to action, while others encourage deeper reflection.

It is easy for us to get so focused on choosing the colors we want to show others that we forget what the world really looks like. Our lives are filled with fluorescent hues and muted tones, with variations of light and shadow.

What are your favorite leadership colors?

Which colors have you gotten out of the habit of using?

[Image by Dusty J]

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  • http://lifeishotblog.wordpress.com D’Anne Hotchkiss

    Hi Greg,

    this is a very interesting idea. I’m not sure what each color represents (maybe I need a color-to-trait translation chart?) but I think I don’t use enough pink. Great post, very thought-provoking.

    • Strategic Monk

      Thank you, D’Anne.

      Now I have something to think about for the rest of the day! My favorite color is cobalt blue . . . I wonder what that means . . .

  • http://www.thepurplejacket.com Chris

    Hi Greg,

    I just love this! Just like everyone of us, colors are unique and tell a story. My color is Purple, it reminds me of my first Caregiving experience. The color always brings joy and happiness to me. Now if I can only fit into my Purple Jacket again, I would REALLY be happy! Thanks for your thoughtful post!

    • Strategic Monk

      Thank you, Chris!

      It is intriguing to me that we have unconscious responses to colors, and how they can change over time. I do not see myself as particularly artistic, but I know when a color is not “right.”

  • http://www.jenyebermann.com Jenny

    I am all red! :-)

    • Strategic Monk

      Thank you, Jenny!

      I went to a red school, though I tend toward blue.

      I definitely lean toward primary colors, more vibrant and distinct.