Images of the Leader’s Toolbox

Posted Thursday, March 14, 2013

Allen Slade

When I joined Ford in 1990, I sketched out an approach to leadership development called the manager’s toolbox. Words did not capture my vision, so I created a rough line drawing of a toolbox. Over the next two decades, I changed the name to the leader’s toolbox and used it with MBA classes, consulting contracts and coaching clients. In my recent posts, I used images to bring the leader’s toolbox alive.

Today’s post pulls all those images together. I invite you to examine your leadership by looking into the leader’s toolbox.

Leading on Cruise Control

A Range of Leadership

The best leaders are versatile. They adjust their leadership to the needs of the moment. They are inconsistent in order to gain consistently great results.

The Leaders Toolbox 

What’s in your leader’s toolbox? Don’t try to lead with duct tape and a pair of vice grips. 

Prepared MotoristGet the tools to do the job right:

Task and Person Leadership


Decision Making

Fast, Decisive Action and Slow, Deliberate Contemplation

Verbal, Quantitative and Emotional Intelligence


Using the Tools of Leadership

Tools on a DeckKnow the right leadership tool for your situation.

Combine appropriate risk-taking, feedback and reflection with the wisdom of a leadership coach.



Leadership Tools: Confidence

Select a Tool

Treat confidence like a tool rather than a trait. Match your confidence to the situation to maxmize your credibility and influence.

Leadership Tools: Matching Meeting Demeanor

Matching Meeting Demeanor

Effective leaders are versatile in their meeting demeanor. They are high energy or calm. They use concepts or data, feelings or logic, decisiveness or patience, as the situation demands.

Leadership Tools: Purpose & Passion, Feedback & Subtlety 

Filter Thru Purpose and Passion 

To maximize meeting impact, filter your actions through your purpose and passion. Get instant feedback. And match demeanor, don’t just mimic behavior.

Styles & Types? Or Situations & Tools?

Limits of Leader Style & Type

Leaders cannot rest on a certain style or type. Fill your toolbox with leadership skills and be flexible in when you use which tool. 

Full Leaders Toolbox (large)

Bottom line: Fill your toolbox with a wide range of leadership skills and be flexible in when you use which tool. You will increase the sweet spot of your leadership and reach your greatest success as a leader.

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