The Executive’s Eats: Choosing Your Signature Leadership Deli Dish

Guest Author David Darab DDS MBA CEPA, Darab Business Advisors

Without effective Leadership, an organization is incapable of achieving results. Peter Drucker said,

“Only three things happen naturally in organizations: friction, confusion and underperformance. Everything else requires leadership.”

Leadership is the linchpin that connects individuals’ efforts and directs them toward shared achievements. It remains one of the most complex and demanding roles anyone can undertake. It requires a rare combination of decisiveness, accountability, personal sacrifice, inspiration, courage, wisdom, resilience, and empathy, continually tested in the face of ever-changing challenges.

“Leadership is not about being in charge. It’s about taking care of those in your charge.” – Simon Sinek.

Leadership requires a unique blend of multiple individual attributes. How the individual traits are combined creates a spectrum of leadership styles. This resembles how a delicatessen combines bread, meats, cheeses, condiments, vegetables, seasonings, and sauces into a memorable sandwich. Personal preference, along with experimentation, plays a significant role. Different flavors, textures, and ingredient combinations can produce new and exciting variations.

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” – Warren Bennis.

I could not help “create” Leadership Sandwiches that reflect the vast array of leadership styles and their impact on organizations. Let’s Visit the Leadership Luncheonette and see what is being served. Do you recognize any of these?

Leadership Delicatessen Menu

Good Leadership Traits:

Visionary Veggie Wrap Ingredients: A colorful medley of roasted vegetables representing diverse ideas, with a light herb aioli symbolizing the clarity of vision. Explanation: Leaders with vision can see where they want to go and set a course to get there, much like a well-balanced mix of vegetables in a wrap.

Empathetic Egg Salad Ingredients: Soft-boiled eggs, creamy mayo, and mustard, representing a blend of understanding and a pinch of spice for motivation. Explanation: Empathetic leaders understand their team’s feelings and are supportive, similar to the comforting nature of an egg salad.

Communicative Clubhouse Ingredients: Multiple layers of meat and veggies are separated by toasted bread slices, with each layer representing a different aspect of open communication. Explanation: A clubhouse sandwich has various layers, and good communication involves sharing information at different levels.

Adaptive Avocado Toast Ingredients: Ripe avocado on whole grain toast with flexible toppings (e.g., cherry tomatoes, radishes, or feta). Explanation: Adapting is about adjusting to changing conditions, just as you can change up the toppings on this toast.

Bad Leadership Traits:

Micromanaging Meatball Sub Ingredients: Over-stuffed with meatballs, drowning in sauce, leading to a messy experience. Explanation: Micromanaging is overwhelming and can suffocate team members, similar to an overfilled sub.

Unpredictable Unwich Ingredients: A lettuce wrap filled with random ingredients that change every time you order. Explanation: An unpredictable leader keeps everyone on their toes, not in a good way, much like this unwich’s ever-changing fillings.

Stubborn Steak Sandwich Ingredients: An overly tough steak that’s hard to chew, served on a rigid baguette. Explanation: Stubborn leaders are hard to deal with and can be unyielding in their views, like the toughness of this steak.

Distracted Dagwood Ingredients: An assortment of unrelated ingredients stacked carelessly, making it hard to eat. Explanation: A distracted leader often juggles many tasks without focus, leading to chaos, much like this haphazard sandwich.

In constructing these sandwiches, I leveraged traits commonly associated with leadership styles referenced in organizational literature. Whether creating these sandwiches in reality or using them as conversation starters, the juxtaposition of culinary delights and leadership characteristics could stimulate new and innovative discussions about leadership.

So, what style is your Leadership Sandwich Style?

~David Darab DDS MBA CEPA
Principal, Darab Business Advisor

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