Hilary. Leaders and Leadership

posted June 1st, 2011 by Janet Graham - One Comment

I asked Hilary to think of the people she considered to be leaders and the qualities she associated with them and what impact they have on the people and world around them. She said: “As outrageous or outlandish as sometimes I feel I am, I have a thing about behaviour.  So I think a person in a senior position should not be afraid to act the part and should assert themselves.  Where I run afoul sometimes is complete hands-off management and leadership, especially in a work environment because I think it’s great to make friends at work but I don’t come to work to make friends.  I come to work to work.  So I’m drawn to people that I can have fun with, who can take the team out for dinner and can have fun with all of them, but I like people that illustrate that they understand they are the leader and they’re not afraid of “the line”. Too much of the boyish stuff doesn’t do very much for me at all.  I’ve realized I like taking it like a man and I like people that take it like a man.  I don’t know another way to put it.  We all have to make hard decisions.  I like people that make hard decisions, they justify them, and then they quietly live with them.  I don’t like people that snivel around or come around with a side story or that would like to suck up or any of this and I conduct myself the same way.  You’ve got to make the decision and we don’t have to like it, I don’t have to like it, no-one has to like it, but you’ve got to live with it.  Think about it.  It’s up to the leader to decide whether it’s the right decision.  So the people that I admire are the ones that do that because otherwise you get too caught up in your work life, too caught up in too much drama.  I can be a hard ass on that front and I get weary when the lines are too blurry because I don’t want to have to work somebody.  I want to be paid, I want to have my review, I want to be able to talk to them, but I don’t want to have to suck up and I would really prefer not to be involved in a team where sucking up works.  Now that said, it’s inevitable right?  You can’t help it but the ones that I admire the most are the ones that take the role seriously and they’re not afraid to get their hands a little dirty.  You can’t always be friends.”


When I asked Hilary to think of the people she did not consider to be leaders and the qualities she associated with them and their impact on the world and people around them. She said: “So the environment, working on a trading floor, it’s pretty tight quarters and the buddy buddy thing I’m not against that but I don’t appreciate the inability to extract yourself and look at a situation or make the hard decisions.  I watched a young girl one time, an associate on a desk, being terrorized verbally by the guy that she reported to. There were a lot of managers around and you couldn’t help but hear. It went on and on and nobody did anything.  It was just accepted practice or something and to this day, I don’t think anybody knows that I went to her and said this is like wife-beating or something and I can’t watch this and do nothing about it. In the end, I went to HR. It was like this can’t happen but what bugged me… the situation bugged me… but what bugged me more were the people around that just turned a blind eye.  That’s what I mean about mentoring and leadership.  I’m not showy at all and there have been very few times that I’ve ever gone to HR or I’ve ever gone to anybody. I don’t stand up and make a big scene. I do believe… and that’s partly my father… that if someone can’t stick up for themselves you don’t take over their lives or whatever but you just can’t stand idly by and watch that.  So there were a few situations and that sort of sours me a little bit on people where they’re pulling in big bucks, they’ve got a great title, people reporting to them and, I don’t know, at what point do you manage.  It’s kind of sinful isn’t it that the cheques are coming in but you’re not doing anything? If you have to do anything or say anything that might jeopardize your standing as a good guy, you don’t do it.  So that would be kind of what I think of that type of leadership, although I know I’m sounding really cynical.”


I asked Hilary to think of the people she had the greatest difficulty with and how she would characterize them and their impact on the world and the people around them. She said: “There were a few situations that I had difficulty with.  In my mind I don’t think that I am in any way threatening to anyone’s career or to any anything.  In my mind, I think I’m the kindest thing going. However, I have had situations where I think that if you’re going to manage me you should be happy to manage me.  I’m going to do my job.  Once in a while, you’re going to have to slap me around a little bit but for the most part, I’m going to make you look good and I don’t want your job until you’re done with it.  So I’ve never, ever, taken an account from anybody.  I’ve never aspired to anyone else’s job further up but I have been in a situation where I think that I was either too popular or deemed unmanageable, too strong, and that was an unfortunate situation. Sometimes my own expectations or, again, where I’m a hard ass and a manager has weak behaviour, it doesn’t make me all that easy to roll with.  I can be challenging and I can be a pain in the ass and where someone might understand the rest of your behaviour and see that you can sell your brains out and you can talk people into falling in behind you and this and that but if I’m not on board with them or their behaviour then I can be difficult.  There were times, not a lot, when that would be a factor.”


Hilary continued: “So, I don’t know, it’s just kind of a clashing of these principles and as I’ve progressed down the road, I’ve gotten to be more and more of a hard ass. When I look back on it, I think, well, jeez man, you are a hard ass! Again in the kind of environment that you’re in, and I have never been on the back of anyone else’s coat tails, I have never been protected, I’ve never been a part of a unit that bounced around here and there, I’ve always just been on my own, you have to be.  So in the end, I was just going to be on my own and if I lost a job I’d go find another one and I wasn’t someone’s package or I didn’t have a friend over here that was going to hire me.  I didn’t have any of that.  So I guess in the end, I was just, maybe, a little less humourful than I should be in my environment.  So those would be, I think, the only clashes. I really tried very hard not to be a clash kind of person.  Doing the job that I did, I recognized early, early on that you need a lot of co-operation and if you go around bitching at people and complaining at them and not liking their pricing, or complaining about their farting, and they’re the people that are pricing your trades, guess what?  So I really tried to be pretty non-confrontational and, as I said earlier, if it was a situation where it was behaviour that I just couldn’t tolerate, even just watching it, then I would just quietly go and deal with it. Not in a screaming or threatening way, I don’t think I ever screamed.”


What Strikes Me?


Leaders take their role seriously and aren’t afraid to get their hands a little dirty


Leaders can’t always be friends with their team


Leaders make tough decisions and live with them


Leaders are able to extract themselves and look at a situation


Leaders don’t turn a blind eye


What Strikes You?


Please add your comments



Be Sociable, Share!

One Response to “Hilary. Leaders and Leadership”

Comment from brenda
Time June 2, 2011 at 9:28 pm

leaders are three things:

these three characteristics create a perfect triangle for success.

Write a comment

You need to login to post comments!