When it comes to leadership, are you a thermostat or a thermometer?
My good friend, former colleague and mentor described me years ago as a “thermostat leader.” Since then, I have read many articles to gain a better understanding of just what that means as well as to understand the nuances between being a thermometer or thermostat leader.
A thermometer reflects the temperature of the environment. It simply reacts to what is happening around it. If the temperature is hot, it tells you so. If it’s cold, the thermometer reflects that reality as well. It really has one purpose and one purpose only.
A thermostat, on the other hand, regulates the environment. It sets the desired temperature of the room and actively works to maintain it within a given range. If the temperature rises above the goal, the thermostat signals the air conditioner to cool the room down. If the temperature falls below the goal, the thermostat triggers the heater to warm the room up. The thermostat is intelligent in the sense it is always monitoring the environment, and if the temperature gets too hot or cold, it decides what to do to correct the situation.
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