#42 War time leader vs Peace time leader

In today’s coffee Pilar and Tim discuss the concept of Peacetime CEO/Wartime CEO introduced by Ben Horowitz in 2011. Our companies and teams will all face difficult times where there is an existential threat or huge change looming. How do we lead through these challenges? Do we need a different leadership style to match the situation and what is the impact “wartime leadership”?

3:50min Some people thrive off the energy and pressure that comes during times of crisis or change.

5:30 We worry that wartime atmosphere and leadership practices like breaking rules, micromanaging and pushing hard are not sustainable. Pilar shares a situation where someone’s singular focus on a crisis ended up exhausting everyone around them.

7:50 Sometimes wartime leaders can exaggerate or manufacture drama in order to justify staying in wartime.

10:00 Is it really necessary to change our style in times of difficulty? Is authoritarian leadership the best approach?

11:00 Tim shares some advice he received from Jerry Colonna about the role of a leader in a time of crisis.

12:20 Pilar outlines how understanding our strengths and culture can help us adapt our leadership practice when the context changes around us, but still operate in a way that is consistent with our fundamental approach and beliefs.

14:00 Facing the human cost of the leader’s actions and decisions in times of difficult is a hard thing. Survival instinct can tempt leaders into behaving as though “it’s just business”. We find wartime peacetime to ultimately be a dehumanising concept.

17:45 After any war we hope for a long period of peace and happiness.

18:00 We wrap up pondering the happiness of the “career wartime CEO”.

What about you, dear listener? Are you a wartime or peacetime leader? Have you experienced positives from wartime leadership? We’d love to hear from you.


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