The 1980s and 90s were a colourful time for many. Even those who were born after this time period are aware of the influence that rapidly changing technology had on culture, music, and life in general. This was the age of pop videos and Madonna, of brand-new rap music and hair scrunchies, and don’t forget T-shirt clips and wearing different coloured socks.
Have the attitude of a Material Girl
(no matter your gender)
If you were a female teenager during this time period, you likely had a fabulous collection of socks, blue makeup, and plastic earrings. The guys probably had studded leather jackets and knew how to create an impressive mohawk. Computers were finally becoming mainstream, and although the Internet wasn’t quite here yet, music and fashion were shared the world over.
As a leader, you may feel like you must represent a certain level of decorum. Bright makeup and mohawks are probably not your norm. You probably dress a certain way, every day. Similar shoes, socks, ties, accessories, etc. But part of being an effective leader is to be able to break out of the everyday routines—you have to be adaptable and flexible.
Our understanding of the brain and how it works has evolved in the past thirty years. Applying this knowledge to your leadership style can increase your social intelligence. To be a good leader, you have to understand that social situations can be very complicated, and being able to perceive these situations will allow you to be in control of dynamic social domains (Zaccaro, S. J., 2002).
So why can a little funkiness like different coloured socks play a role in how you lead others?
Times are changing, sometimes so quickly that we have a problem keeping up. Just like the eighties, we see our own rapid growth as the business world enters the Imagination Age and a previously unforeseen level of globalization. Your workplace is more diverse than ever, with a hodgepodge of cultures, ideas, thoughts, experiences, and expectations.
“The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before.”
Do you want to be the leader that follows the crowd, or do you want to be the leader LEADING that crowd?
Does your attitude embrace change, positivity and see opportunities rather than threats? If so, great! But, if you’re honest with yourself, and the thought of wearing different coloured socks makes you cringe, consider stepping up your game and learning how to embrace the right attitude to increase your innovation and agility.
Zaccaro, S. J. (2002). Organizational leadership and social intelligence. In R. E. Riggio, S. E. Murphy, F. J. Pirozzolo (Eds.), LEA's organization and management series. Multiple intelligences and leadership (pp. 29-54). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.