Chapter 2 Profiles in Leadership Every Leader Has One

Jim Geiger, the CEO of LiquidWeb and a long-term client of ours, offered this brilliant insight regarding leaders: “Leaders bring the weather.” That is, when a great leader walks into the room, everyone is on notice and everyone notices—the energy is palpable.

The tone, mood, presence, focus, and behavior of the leader is the weather in any organization—a force of nature. And everyone who works there can feel it, see it, experience it, and describe how it impacts them and those around them. They know if this weather either supports what they are trying to create or destroys it. They can describe if the weather brings out the best in individual employees and teams, or if it lowers their performance. They know if they should relax, contribute, and take risks, or remain cautious, reserved, and careful.

Leaders bring the weather, and they define to a large degree what can and can’t happen in their organizations.

So, what is this weather—this powerful leadership presence that leaders bring with them wherever they go? In effect, the weather is the leader’s profile in action. Each of us has a leadership profile. It’s the way we show up to our people, how we tend to respond to certain situations or crises, what is and is not permissible to discuss, and much more.

Since those who work directly for the leader experience the weather firsthand, they are often more aware and capable of describing it than the leader. This is why feedback ...

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