If you browse the titles of some of the most searched and rated leadership books on the web, you will find a variety of themes and trends.
There is 5-D Leadership. Results-Based Leadership. Leadership for the 21st Century (amassed from over 580 books). Leadership for different races, genders, and also for people groups and disciplines. There are books written for non-profit, educational, and political focuses. There is data-enhanced leadership. And lessons from such historical people such as Alexander the Great.
If you want to build a particular flavor of leadership, it’s probably been developed.
So with all the choices out there, which does one choose?
May I suggest a book that hasn’t yet been written. A flavor that gets overlooked but is always there. Plain Vanilla Leadership.
In comparison to the trendy thinking and marketing mentioned above, plain vanilla leadership may sound bland. But just like it’s ice cream counterpart, it’s a flavor that never goes out of style.
Plain vanilla leadership is transparent. It’s authentic and not artificial. It is not overblown. It doesn’t clash with any other flavors or people. It goes with virtually anything.
Much of the books and thinking out there today is focused on leadership “self”, promoting our flavor and what you bring to the table. But what plain vanilla does is it gives a solid and unassuming foundation for your people to stand out. Like the toppings on a sundae, it’s the people that should be visible, their talents and tastes rising above everything else. Your people should stand out and not be overpowered by a style of leadership that undermines them.
Plain vanilla leadership is solid and consistent. It claims nothing for itself but adds so much underneath to everything else it comes in contact with. Plain vanilla is the quiet character that lets others get the credit and feel the victory but regales in the collaboration that got them there.
While there is nothing inherently wrong with many of the trends of leadership, we probably don’t need as many of them. But what we always need more of is plain vanilla.
(image courtesy of macrobusiness.com)