What Leadership Hat Do You Wear?

In his best-selling book “It’s Not About the Coffee”, Starbucks CEO Howard Behar shares 10 lessons of leadership he learned taking Starbucks a great place to get coffee—and a great place to work.   Lesson one is “Know Who You Are: Wear One Hat”.   Behar states that “Our success is directly related to our clarity and honesty about who we are and who we are not.”  Especially in the hard times. Later in the book, he emphasizes that we need to “care like we mean it–relationships come before results.”

Do you know your one hat? Do you have a clear-eyed view of what you stand for, and how you want to lead? Once you have that, do you get feedback on whether your actions match your intended “hat”?   It is surprising how often we don’t come across as we think we do.  Oftentimes we learn about who we are as a leader more from our mistakes than our successes.

Who do you go to for the truth about your leadership style and effectiveness?  We all need these truth-tellers who lay it on the line for us.

In addition to your usual feedback methods, try asking a horse.

Horses help us learn about “the hat we wear” because they know of no other way of being.  They need to trust our intentions and emotions before they respond to our requests for action because their life is at stake-literally.  Horses provide clear, non-judgmental, objective feedback on the congruency we have in our thoughts, emotions and actions. 

Great leaders are clear about the hat they wear--with themselves and with those they lead. It takes great courage to solicit feedback, self-reflect, and see to it that our actions match our intentions.

What Hat Do You Wear?