Crafting Your Own Style of Leadership
Playing hockey with men is easier I would say in some ways. I think that when you’re dealing with guys they typically want to know what to do – just tell me what to do and I’m going to go do it. They are very task oriented and get the job done. For me it was all about proving myself. Once I did that I was always fine on any team that I played for.
When you play with women I think women tend to want to know why. They ask a lot of questions, they’re very attentive, good listeners, really keen to do it right, but definitely pay more attention to the detail so it is a different feel. You can’t lead I would say as abruptly with women as you can with men, especially in my experience in hockey so it makes the two very different in terms of the style that you have as a leader.
Off the ice I think it’s really no different, in business you don’t have the element, the physical competitive nature so that changes the dynamic a bit, but you still have to deal with both male and female personalities: you have egos. You have to mix the two together and I think the best working atmosphere tends to be a mix of male and female and just a nice vibe that way.
I think ultimately whether you’re dealing with men or women people really appreciate when you’re honest, upfront and when you do what you say – that’s tended to be my experience anyways.
I think it’s a good way to describe leadership as an art because I don’t think there’s one single way to lead, I think every person has their own strengths and weaknesses and within that you have to figure out what works for you and what helps you connect with other people. That’s really where the “art” comes into it – in terms of finding that knish, for yourself as a leader and then I think leadership is a constantly evolving thing. Every day I know I learn a little bit more about leadership or you meet people with different styles of leadership. I say okay, maybe I’ll take that and use that. As you grow and change as a person your effective leadership ultimately changes as well so it’s always a constant, flowing thing.