Leadership Styles Learned from the New Lego Movie


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I took my family to see this wonderful movie and I was not only astonished at its creativity but I walked away with a few leadership lessons I could bring to my team the following Monday.

If you have ever built Legos, you may fall into one of two camps of people… The camp of those who follow the instructions to the letter and then put the model on the shelf to admire it, or the camp of those who will build it, break it apart and then build something completely different using the pieces in different ways.

What I explained to my team was that this could translate into two camps of leadership styles: one is a very restrictive style versus one that is more of a free form style.

Restrictive Leadership Styles

In the movie, representing the restrictive, controlling leadership style of management was Lord Business (great name) who loved order and wanted everyone to follow the rules. He could not understand anything outside of the instruction manual. Rules were to be followed to the letter and everything was to be in its place. He even went as far as threatening to use a weapon (a tube of Krazy Glue) to lock everyone in place.

When people strayed from the rules or process, he had ‘micromanagers’ that put things back in place according to his vision. NO options but his own. Have you ever worked in such an environment?

Free Form Leadership Styles

Representing the other leadership style was a group called the Master Builders. This style was based on the builders creating structure by working on their own ideas, using all different pieces and being creative outside of set rules. Thinking outside the box.

One problem these Master Builders faced was that some of their ideas were not fully thought out. They were just ideas they built because they felt like it and, at times, the pieces did all fit together.

Do you see this happening as well? Ideas or projects that go on forever with no structure, deadline or sense of how it works into the whole vision or culture of the company?

Having micromanagers keep everything perfect dilutes creativity, but free form also does not work because there is no long-term vision or thought on how everything works together.

Which Leadership Style Are You?

Are you more like Lord Business? Do you demand your team follow your instructions exactly as you wrote them with no variation? Are you not willing to listen to outside opinions, not willing to expand your thoughts?

Or, are you a Master Builder where you follow wherever your passion leads you from idea to idea, yet nothing ever gets accomplished or seems to work together?

There are benefits to both leadership styles but true leaders need to have a foot in both camps, which is what I call being an Accessible Leader. These leaders have the vision of the structure they would like and also the freedom to explore other’s opinions.

Accessible leaders listen, guide, push and prod without demanding conformity. By allowing conversations to happen and demanding collaboration you will grow your team and business into the success you desire.

Accessible leaders may have the final say, but they have built support and respect for the process through the process, not by demanding process.

I will be exploring more about being an Accessible Leader in future articles.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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