My husband and I share an appreciation of a robust and full-bodied red wine, so it only makes sense that we celebrate our anniversary in Napa Valley wine country. (That’s the excuse we use to return to this gorgeous part of the country each Fall.)
Over the years, we have changed our “strategy” for the trip as we’ve learned more about wine, as well as our tastes. In the early years of our marriage, our Napa trips included visits to wineries that most everyone has heard of. Now, eleven years later (minus a few years dedicated to growing our family) our tour includes only small-production, mostly family-owned wineries.
Why the change? It has to do with the wine-making and the personalized effort by the winemakers.
Unlike many large wine producers who leverage more automated processes and are able to taste only a fraction of each vintage, small wineries often leverage the talents of a wine-maker who gets very intimate with each and every barrel.
Because the wine-maker can see and taste how each barrel has developed individually, they can nurture that particular barrel to produce more specifically-desired flavors. They can leverage the art of wine-making a bit more than some larger wineries, which have to rely more on the science of wine-making. That science tells them what actions will produce typical results, and they can follow those rules to produce a decent bottle of wine…most of the time.
Leadership can be similar in some ways. There’s definitely a science; certain facts that seem to be absolutes for great leaders and their surrounding teams:
- They have clear vision and can inspire and motivate others to bring it to completion.
- They engage and empower their employees, even choosing to follow them when the strengths of others can be maximized for the greatest benefits.
- They are honest and demonstrate their integrity and trustworthiness with both their words and consistent actions.
It’s hard to dispute any of these fundamentals of leadership. What can often times be the great variables among leaders, though, are the aspects that may be more of an art; meaning there aren’t consistent “rules” on how you can accomplish these tasks. They are more individualized to the leader and to each of their people. However, when done right (and authentically,) they make a tremendous difference.
The art of leadership, like wine-making, often embodies the practice of giving more personal and individualized attention. Some aspects of this art include:
- Connecting with people at a meaningful level; versus just communicating to them.
- Understanding value systems and individual motivators as a basis for building into, rewarding and celebrating your people.
- Maintaining an “other-focused” view, serving the needs of your people instead of fueling your accomplishments
Of course, the goal for leaders is to master the perfect blend of art and science. Certainly, we all value structure and consistency…but when blended with just the right amount personalization and flexibility, the result is always a best-seller!!
Now, for your input! I’ve started the lists. What would you add to the art and science of leadership? What aspects of leadership do you think should embody a more personal approach? Consider the difference it could make in your workplace. The results could be more savory than any fine wine!
The photo included in this blog post is from Buoncristiani Family Winery and shows the four brothers, who are all involved in the art and science of the business! They are one of our favorites!! We especially love their OPC, Cabernet Sauvignon and The Core is amazing!!
Erin Schreyer is a certified Leadership Coach and Strengths trainer. She is the President of Sagestone Partners and Founder of the non-profit group, Authentic Leadership Cincinnati. Erin is passionate about helping leaders (even great ones!) maximize their effectiveness, as well as their positive impact on both people and business results. Contact Erin directly at email@example.com.