Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Katniss - Leadership Qualities That Will Have Your Tribe Follow You Into War

There is this personality test circulating on Facebook today- so you know I took it.  I love to know more about how my mind works.  Those things are amazingly accurate.  I do not remember what my type was, but I do remember the picture.  It was of Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games.  It got me thinking about that movie and the life lessons in it.  Here a few things I have observed about Katniss's character that made her a successful leader.  I happen to focus in on these as well.  I am pretty good at some and working on others.  It is a constant learning experience.  See which ones you rock...

Sacrifice.  Good leaders sacrifice.  Katniss volunteers to be tribute to save her sister from having to be. In my career, there have been many sacrifices I have had to make. At some point you must make the difficult decision to do the less "fun" plan for the betterment of your organization. I am not saying you need to fall on the sword, just think about what you could give up that would make you a better leader.  Maybe start with a small item then work up to the bigger.

Know your audience or tribe.  It did not take Katniss long to understand those who watched the Hunger Games and what they needed. Even more importantly she knew what the sponsors wanted.  That keen understanding of her audience or tribe would indeed save her life in the end.  Do you know your audience/tribe? What do they want? What do they need?  In my organization, we use a technique called the compass.  In our compass North stands for Needs, East stands for Expectations, West stands for Wants and South stands for Stereotypes.  As a leader I refer to this exercise often to determine what our tribe is needing and wanting, as well as what they expect.  I use this to help our team break the stereotype and exceed expectations. Once you get this concept folks will follow you to war. Just call me K!

Living and leading with integrity requires bravery.  Now, I am not saying you will be fighting to the death for what you believe in, but kind of I am.  Leading is lonely.  Living with integrity is not always easy.  Leading with integrity is actually hard.  It is not a popularity contest and some people will not like you or may take issue with your actions.  Don't eat the final berry because you want to win.. stand up for what you know is right.  In the end you will win anyway.(special thanks to DPhiE - my sorority for drilling this one home at an early age).

Perseverance.  Even when it seemed like death was eminent, the team from sector 12 never ever gave up.   Being a good leader is tough in good times.  Being a good leader in war time- well- don't give up.

Here is a bonus one- Showmanship. To some this will seem not seem congruent with some of the others.  It is a delicate balance and most leaders will NEVER admit they do this.   Katniss- the girl on fire- understood this as did her dress designer(those who have seen the movie get this).  People like to know that the leader has it together and is going to be successful.  A level of show is needed to instill that sense of security to your tribe.  Rock your inner girl on fire and defy gravity(woops- that is another show..maybe another blog post).


  1. Love your inspiration,honesty and transparency Nicole. Your "tell it like it is" is truly a quality I admire and strive to work on in myself. And your Showmanship ROCKS!!!

  2. Great analogies, Nicole. Love the compass thing too. I might be stealing that soon.