The Campfire Leadership Style

With the smorgasbord of workplace styles—remote, in-office, and hybrid—identifying and adapting the best leadership style for any or all of them can be exasperating. 

In his book, Evolving: A Guide to Campfire Leadership, Magnovo President Rob Jackson identifies 5 key leadership styles: Torch.  SpotLight. Disco. Lighthouse. 

And then there’s what Jackson characterizes as The Campfire Leader. Yes, we saved the best for last: The Campfire Leadership Style, which ignites the flames of innovation and kindles solid relationships among teammates. 

The more things change…..

According to BETTERUP.COM, “…there are currently 5 generations in the American workforce: “The five generations are traditionalists, baby boomers, Generation X (Gen X), millennials, and Generation Z (Gen Z).” 

From FORBES.COM: “12.7% of full-time employees work from home, while 28.2% work a hybrid model and  32.6 million Americans will work remotely by 2025.”

And then there are issues around diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI, about which FORBES.COM also reports this: According to DDI’s “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Report,” leader advocacy for DEI programs has dropped by 18% since 2021. At the same time, the percentage of businesses without DEI initiatives has risen by 5 percentage points… letting DEI fall by the wayside, leaders risk the health of their bottom lines and their ability to retain top talent.” 

…..the more resilient leadership needs to be!

WWW.SHRM.ORG“Given the level of disruption we are facing, [resilience] is the skill set of our time [needed] to be successful,” says Ama Marston, CEO and co-founder of Type R Partners, a San Francisco Bay Area boutique consultancy that works with organizations, leaders and firms ….”

And in the same article, Steven Stein, a clinical psychologist and founder of Toronto-based Multi-Health Systems, a publisher of scientifically validated assessments added this: “It’s also important to note that “[t]he way we look at resilience has changed…We used to think it was grit, being strong, getting through it. Now it has shifted to more self-awareness and responsiveness to the people around you.”

Shedding new light on old leadership styles

IMD.ORG:“A leadership style refers to a leader’s methods, characteristics, and behaviors when directing, motivating, and managing their teams. A leader’s style is shaped by a variety of factors, including personality, values, skills, and experiences, and can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of their leadership.”

Some leaders are so overwhelmed by all of the social variables they’re confronted with that they’re digging in their heels and holding onto what they know—whether it works or not. 

For example, the notion of leading a remote staff is simply off the table with some executives who chose to enforce the same level of control over their workers that they enjoyed before the pandemic.

Magnovo’s CEO characterizes them as Torch Leaders. They possess the skills they need,  but they lack the self-confidence to embrace and navigate through volatile change. As Jackson puts it, “…just like a torch, they only shine enough light to see just enough ahead to really wonder where they’re going.”

And then there’s what Jackson callsThe SpotLight Leader who are “…easy to recognize, or should I say ‘hear’ because you can’t miss them! They will remind you over and over that they are the leader. They often possess an ‘in your face’ style of leadership.” 

Well said, but unfortunately, during these uncertain times, an ‘in your face leadership style’ makes it easy to lose face.

Whereas with The Disco Light Leader, Jackson says, “Sometimes it’s hard to determine if they are leading or performing!  We call them the Disco light because they like attention on themselves and others.” 

And The Lighthouse Leader “would prefer not to communicate verbally at all—they are more comfortable with written communication where they can be precise and detailed.”

The Campfire Leadership Style

The word ‘campfire’ conjures images of warmth, coziness, and intimacy—so, too, does The Campfire Leader.

A Campfire Leader in his own right, Jackson says this is “… the type of leader that we should all aspire to be like….. Their leadership style lights up the surrounding area making it easy to spot them as a leader. …They have passion for leadership making them easy to trust, because you know that they care for your well-being…”

Do you long to be the kind of leader who puts your personal experiences and the lessons you’ve learned from them to good use? Do you want to be a source of inspiration to your staff—one who kindles the embers of innovation among your brightest and best? If you believe that, as Jackson puts it, “….demonstrating is the most effective way to train and lead,” then you’re ready to become a Campfire Leader and Magnovo is ready to help.