“If we are not bold, we will not do much of anything, and if we are right, well then we will set the pace”– Paul Ebeling
Pacesetting is a style of leadership when a leader leads from the front, constantly sets high standards for their team and expects them to exceed with minimal management. It is when as a manager you set the cadence for your team and demand high intensity in their performance. Like a USMC combat platoon.
It sounds intense and it is. Pacesetting leadership has some prerequisites for it to work well –
- A highly skilled team that requires limited management
- A skilled manager who is capable of leading from the front
- A team culture that strives for constant improvement
It’s important to note that our leadership styles are not like the personalities from Myers-Briggs test where you are allocated only 1 out of 16. A good leader is expected to have shades of all 6 styles and understand when to use which.
Here is an example: Leading the Singapore government for 30yrs, LKY was credited with turning Singapore from an underdeveloped to one of the richest countries in the world in 1 generation.
A champion of meritocracy, LKY ensured that Singapore’s civil service attracts and retains superior talent by paying them higher than the private sector. He also invested heavily in education to create a highly-skilled workforce.
Plus, a national culture that anyone can rise up the social ranks through hard work and LKY’s own heavy-handed style of management made conditions ripe for pacesetting leadership.
That is not to say that LKY was without critics. His borderline autocratic behavior and high expectations from bureaucracy attracted criticism from many.
However in LKY’s own words: “I say without the slightest remorse, that we wouldn’t be here, we would not have made economic progress if we had not intervened on very personal matters. We decide what is right. Never mind what people think.”
Have a prosperous day, Keep the Faith!