Episode Description

To be a successful leader, use the concept “time and place” to help guide your decisions and actions. Being able to read a situation, recognize what to disregard or prioritize, and know how to assess competing needs are all aspects of understanding the unique context of each challenge – the primary role of a leader.

Although there is no single best way to lead, if you are rigid and one-dimensional in your approach, you’ll accidentally find yourself to be ineffective in your efforts to influence positive change.

In my master’s thesis, I analyzed the leadership styles of three Timorese leaders who had just gained recognition as an independent nation after decades of struggle under Indonesian sovereignty and Portuguese colonization. I examined Xanana Gusmao, Jose Ramos Horta, and Mari Alkatiri respectively as The Charismatic Leader, The Diplomat, and The Competent Manager.

While there were many fascinating things I learned in that process, through the conversations I had with leaders and the interviews I conducted with others who knew and worked with them, the piece that stood out the most and shaped my future as a leader was the concept of Situational Leadership and insights on knowing yourself, your strengths, your weaknesses, your patterns, and when to get out of the way in order to achieve the greater goal when you are not the one who is in charge.

I’m someone who loves building things from nothing. I like to kick down doors and open up unfamiliar territory. One of the ways that I try to manage that and “stay in my lane” is to have an approach where I always see my primary role as making myself redundant.

In this episode, listen for

  • Leaders often disregard the “time and place” approach, causing them to misread the situation
  • Let the right people in, then step aside so they can bring their brilliance to the table
  • Don’t go into the extreme or judge yourself, think about the conditions that suit your leadership style

Must-listen Moments:

[5:45] To be effective in times of crisis, one needs to be certain they aren’t the cause

[7:33] Adapting your leadership style to a variety of elements depends on what you’re attempting to achieve

[17:24] To leave a lasting impression and contribute to something more than yourself, you must develop the skills of discernment, judgment, and wisdom


Effective leadership is about adapting your style to a range of factors depending on what it is you’re trying to accomplish. For you to be effective, you’ll have to adapt to your preferred leadership style. Here are some questions to reflect on.

  • What are the “conditions” where you feel most comfortable and able to operate in your preferred leadership style?
  • Do you find yourself trying to create those conditions even when they are not needed or are not naturally emerging?
  • Is it unhelpful or helpful for your team and broader organization when you do this?


Using these questions as prompts, I strongly advise you to consider them for some time and even go back to this episode if necessary in order to gain some insight that might help you become a more effective leader while also increasing the influence of the job you perform in the lives of others.


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