“All of the leadership strategies out there are just slight tweaks of each other, or are way too complicated to remember, let alone put into action effectively.” This, according to Eric Rogell, a bestselling author and trainer who teaches executives to become bold, exceptional leaders that inspire action.
A quick online search will prove there’s no lack of leadership advice out there, or shortage of leadership experts. And their advice runs to the far ends of the spectrum. Everything from John C. Maxwell’s popular “lead by serving” viewpoint, to Machiavelli’s assertion that it is better to be feared than to be loved.
There are also dozens of leadership styles in between, with descriptive names that define their approach, like Transactional, Authoritarian, Participative, Charismatic.
Rogell’s view of a successful leader’s role is not only unique and counter to what most experts preach, but it’s surprisingly simple for anyone to grasp, and easy to implement in any business. “Busy business owners have no time to deal with complex or inefficient strategies,” he tells me. The results, as his clients will tell you, speak for themselves.
To understand his approach, you first have to understand how he grew up.
“I was raised by a single mom,” says Rogell, “and I always joke she raised me like a veal. I wasn’t allowed to be bumped or bruised, I had to stay soft and tender.”
Fearful that everything would hurt or injure him, Eric never took risks, never made waves. And never dared step up to take a leadership role.
But by his late teens, he felt the pull to do more, and to be more. Once in college, and motivated to make a change, he struck out in search of mentors and leaders who could guide him on his journey to becoming more. And he found them. By the dozens.
They included successful entrepreneurs, celebrities, athletes, and military veterans.
And one trait he noticed they all had in common was seeing the greatest source of their success as overcoming their biggest challenges and most crushing failures. Almost all credited these with being the most valuable lessons in their lives. More so than their victories.
Another common trait was they all had the ability to inspire the right people to join them, to become part of their team, their tribe. Rogell calls this “Infectious Passion.”
These traits propelled them faster along their journey to success, and forged them into the people they are today.
In this, Rogell saw a striking parallel between successful leadership and what renowned mythologist, Joseph Campbell called “The Hero’s Journey,” recounted in myths and legends since the beginning of recorded time.
We all strike out on our own, encounter and conquer challenges, form friendships and find love along the way, before ultimately accomplishing our life’s mission and becoming the hero of our own story.
From this, Rogell identified four distinct archetypes we all embody at different stages of our journey. Archetypes we can deliberately step into in any situation.
First is the Warrior archetype. This is our driving force. It includes traits like boldness, courage, decisiveness, ambition, will. This is what breaks inertia, creates momentum, and makes things happen.
Next is the Lover archetype, which is our sustaining force. This is wisdom, passion, inspiration, compassion, creativity, all the things that make our lives and businesses thrive and flourish.
When you integrate your Warrior and Lover, and have command over each, you step into the King/Queen archetype. Rogell says these are the most effective leaders.
“This balance of Warrior and Lover is what people crave in a leader, and prevents you from being seen as bossy, overbearing, weak… all the things that destroy motivation and productivity in teams,” says Rogell.
He also teaches his clients it is the duty of the King/Queen to create kings and queens on their teams. To give them command over their part of the kingdom, and guide them to become a greater king or queen than they themselves are.
This creation and empowering of kings and queens is what the Hero does, the final archetype. The Hero has dropped ego and doing for their own interest, and is focused on the betterment and growth of others.
The result is teams that are empowered to succeed. Business owners and executives who have adopted his strategy have seen productivity and motivation skyrocket. Which translates to a positive impact on their bottom line.
“We have a duty to guide and empower the members of our team, and in return they have a duty to us to continually grow and perform with excellence,” says Rogell. “Imagine what the world will look like when all leaders lead this way.