Leadership – The Medium Is the Message

The titanic achievements of Ghengis Khan, Julius Caesar, F John Kennedy, Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, Socrates, have left an indelible impression on our civilisation. They are remembered not only for their achievements, but for their ability to communicate their leadership to others. Leadership that inspired, and motivated, their followers to great achievements.

Some leaders rely on the power of their position, or fear. Others rely on their power of persuasion. Versatile leaders rely on both the power of their position, and persuasion, as the situation demands.

Leaders exist only by their ability to communicate. The medium is the message! Leadership is the message. A message determined by the medium in which a leader chooses to communicate that message e.g. aggressive, cooperative, facilitating, can’t miss, etc.

One-dimensional leadership that uses the power-of-position only, is destructive. One-dimensional leadership discourages the personal growth of other’s, denies them fulfilment, and responsibility, does nothing for their self-esteem. Power-of-position leadership negatively motivates by anxiety, implied threat, and fear for a person’s performance review, employment, and career should they not comply with their leader’s commands.

Persuasive, versatile, leadership encourages personal growth, fulfilment, responsibility and self-esteem. Versatile leadership motivates by example of the ‘right’ attitude. The ‘right’ leadership attitude, of feelings, emotions, beliefs, and values, that permits the leaders information to enter the mind of the other person, and influence, motivate and predict his, or her, behaviour.

You have probably met a person with the same attitude as yourself. You instinctively like that person. Your information, your reasoning, your leadership, is readily allowed to enter that person’s mind. You talk easily, freely, together. Words have the same meanings and implications, for both of you. Trust is almost spontaneous. Your message, your sales, your negotiation, your leadership, your friendship, is most effective in motivating that other person’s self-esteem, and confidence, to achieve your objective.

On the other hand when you meet a person with different attitudes to yourself, your information, your leadership, your persuasion, meets barriers, and is refused entry into that person’s mind, it is ignored and cannot motivate him, or her, in the way you want. You have nothing in common to discuss!

As a versatile leader your awareness recognises, and adopts, the other person’s attitude, to ensure your leadership is permitted to enter that person’s mind, inspire and self-motivate him, or her, to achieve your objective for his, or her, reasons, not yours.

What are the attitudes of a versatile leader? Watch a good leader. Look for his, or her, situational awareness as they deftly adopt different attitudes to motivate different people in changing situations. These situations include:

1. Organising Others: to achieve the objective uses attitudes of: accommodating – compromising – complimenting – conciliatory – moderate – prescribing – prescriptive – resistant

2. Engaging with Others: to achieve the objective uses attitudes of: collaborative – conferring – experimental – conciliatory – facilitative – prescribing – prescriptive – what ‘if’

3. Motivating Others: to achieve the objective uses attitudes of: authoritative – “can-do” – “can’t miss” – confronting – emphatic – persuasive – single – minded – visionary

How many Leadership attitudes do you use?

The greater the number of leadership attitudes you adopt (without self-stress), the more effective your leadership. Your leadership readily self-motivates a greater number of people, with its vision, drive, planning, and commitment to achieve your objective.

The fewer the number of leadership attitudes you adopt without stress, the less effective your leadership. Your leadership is less effective in motivating others to achieve your vision, drive, commitment, planning and objective.

Your culture of Leadership Attitudes significantly influences the situational quality of your leadership.

Versatile leaders Culture of Leadership attitudes (without self-stress), that spreads across all three culture groups, of organising, engaging, and motivating, have significant advantages when leading, and motivating people to change, and to succeed in our increasingly complex and fast changing world

On the other hand, leaders whose culture of attitudes is confined to one culture group are hobbled by self-stress, have difficulty in leading and dealing with change. Their self-stress can increase, spark, or spontaneously combust into ineffective, inappropriate, or even counter-productive leadership decisions and attitudes.

Everyone has attitude? Effective leaders lead with the ‘right’ attitude. The more attitudes in your quiver, the better your leadership.

Harry Wolfe. Grad. Dip. Org. Behav. FAICD.


Management Dynamics International, Geier Profiles translate intangible motivatation into validated fact. They examine beliefs, values to describe, psychologically measure, benchmark & validate: attitudes, behaviour, leadership, ability to manage change, organisatuion culture, to predict a person’s job performance, future potential, and culture ‘fit’.

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