Pull Me Leadership





“Push me towards your goals and I will resist, looking backwards at you as the source of my irritation. But, shine a light on your goal, extend your hand to pull me forward, and I will reach out with enthusiasm to join you on the journey.”
Don McAlister
19 January 2016

Are you a “Push Me” or “Pull Me” leader? I’m sure you’ve experienced both styles in your family and business lives, and I’m willing to bet that you have a preference for the “Pull Me” style. Why then do we continue to experience so much “Push Me” leadership in our businesses?

“Push Me” leadership is a throwback to our schooldays when parents, teachers and coaches used that style to motivate us, because we lacked the knowledge, experience and self-confidence required to respond to more sophisticated forms of leadership. I believe that those in businesses who continue to use the “Push Me” style are unknowingly adopting a kind of parental leadership role in their organizations. The parental leadership style may work for a limited segment of the work force, but for the rest it is uncomfortable and counter-productive.

As adults however, our education and experience has provided us a set of basic and specialized knowledge, personal and social skills, and a model for how we want our leaders to behave…”Pull Me” leadership. “Pull Me” style leaders paint a vision for a future state, set and communicate goals and milestones, establish boundaries, provide resources, set the tempo, eliminate barriers, and then empower the team and set them loose to execute using their best skills and judgment.

Take a hard look at your leadership style. Certainly an effective leader must adapt their style occasionally in response to a changing context. However, your predominant style should Pull rather the Push your teams.

I welcome your thoughts on this topic.

About donmcalister

I retired at the end of 2011, after a 39 year career in the Aerospace industry as a Propulsion Engineer, Engineering Manager and Program Manager. My professional interests and expertise are in the areas of Program, Risk and Knowledge Management. I'm passionate about life-long learning in a wide variety of topics and I'm committed to sharing my knowledge and ideas with those who are interested. I'm an Aerospace Industry Consultant. I serve my community as a Rotarian. My hobby is playing as a jazz keyboard.
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