Leadership Nudge®365 – Personality Based Leadership

October 6, 2021by Sandy Wilmer

Leaders encourage people to follow the organization’s values and principles rather than a particular person. This mitigates favoritism and helps create an organization aligned to its principles and values rather than personalities. How is it in your organization?


Hey, I’m here at Heidelberg Castle, which is mostly a ruin, but this one building was reconstructed. And we see all these very impressive statues. And this is Frederick the Fourth, who built this building. And of course, he commemorated himself by making a statue of himself with a lion holding a sword, blah, blah, blah. And they’re all men. And it really highlights the personality-based allegiance, which was so, so, so, so important during the Feudal times. And the purpose of all these statues is to prove lineage back to Charlemagne, who was the father of this empire that was ruling at this time. 

It’s false, in this case. They weren’t actually genetically descendant, but they were trying to prove that. And so what happens is we swear allegiance to someone above me, and then they get promoted, and I get promoted along with them. And picking the right person is very, very important.  

And we’re following people, we’re following personalities, not principles, not values. And this is where these things go astray. It’s a medieval way of human interaction. And unfortunately, way too many organizations are like this. What you want is principle or valued-centered organizations, not personality-centered organizations.  

I’m David Marquet. That’s your Leadership Nudge. 

Sandy Wilmer