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Mystery As A Strategy

        posted by , June 09, 2013

Mystery, huh.

Doesn't sound like much of a leadership strategy.

As a leader, you probably have plenty of immediate problems. You've got challenging stakeholders to manage. You've got aggressive business goals that always seem just out of reach. You're leading a team that has a basket full of problems.

So how is some abstract concept like mystery going to help?

The answer is clear if you think to the leaders you respect. Think of a leader whose inspired you. Was he/she a little mysterious?

Leadership is tacit ability that can't be easily transferred from person to person. Great leaders mentor to little effect. The source of leadership ability can't be put into words.

To put it directly — if everything you do is obvious and transparent there's a good chance you're not a great leader.

I'd like to tell you how to tap into mystery and use it to become a better leader. Unfortunately, the entire process is a bit of a mystery.

Mysterious leaders seem to pull from some deep well that's impossible to explain. There are (however) several symptoms of mysterious leadership:

  • Silence
    Mysterious leaders enjoy the silence.

  • Presence
    Mysterious leaders have a frighteningly powerful presence.

    eyes with presence

  • Connection
    Mysterious leaders effortlessly establish strong connections with people.


  • Weirdness
    Mysterious leaders often have a weird side. They seem spontaneous ... a little too spontaneous.

  • Flash of Greatness
    Mysterious leaders occasionally experience a flash of greatness. For example, they might discover innovations that are big steps forward.

Next: 7 Leadership Lessons From Japanese Art

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