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What Kind of People Make the Best Leaders at Work?

I’ve been listening a lot to this CD I bought for a really good price about two years ago that is basically a conversation with the founder of Whole Foods John Mackey. As you know, Whole Foods is a huge franchise now.

It started off as mainly a hippie-type of store with natural, wholesome foods, but flourished over the years into a large supermarket of sorts with organic produce, healthy eats and prepared foods to boot that are to die for and also happen to be made with organic, healthy ingredients.

Not only is the CD enjoyable to listen to from a personal standpoint, it’s also got some good insights from a guy who runs a socially responsible business and has made it very profitable to do so.  He’s into a lot of spiritual guidance principles and has a lot of life experience under his belt as well, which makes him not just a corporate stuffed shirt, but someone you really want to listen to and hear about not only their business philosophies but their personal philosophies as well.

He goes into some of the metaphysical but does seem hesitant to do so because he doesn’t want Whole Foods to be characterized as a cult, as he says the media has done in the past.  It’s fascinating to listen to him because he seems real, he seems flawed and he’s very honest, which may get some high paid CEO’s and founders in trouble.

One of this more interesting talking points was about a study he said was done in Germany. The study was to identify who makes the best military leaders out of a class of four personality types. Those types were based on four combinations of the following categories of people: High Energy and High Intelligence and Low Energy and Low Intelligence.

What they found was very interesting, because it is counterintuitive.  You would think that high energy, high intelligence people would make the best leaders. But really it is people who have high intelligence and low energy that make the best leaders, and perhaps even the best coworkers as well.

Think about it in your work situation. Certainly you’ve worked with one of those people who is more than capable in their job and also happens to have an abundance of energy. They seem to have their hands in every pot around the office, and tend to overshadow and diminish others in the group.

They also tend to voice themselves a bit too much and intimidate others, making it hard for a well rounded environment and therefore not making it inclusive enough to include multiple viewpoints.

They are like tornadoes basically, and while these high intelligence high energy people certainly can prove useful, it is not usually in a leadership role or one where they work with a team, but rather where they work independently and can shine on their own. I’ve seen this principle at work in my various jobs over the years, and it is 100% unequivocally true.


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