Benefits Of “Skin In The Game” Leadership 

One of the most important aspects for a leader may be to maintain people’s unequivocal confidence and trust. Skill and experience can contribute to improving a certain level of admiration, but conviction requires investment and time. Managers who want to imbibe trust among the workforce from the get-go, must understand the importance of “Skin-In-The-Game” leadership. This concept has been existing for hundreds of years, but was developed and modernised by Nassim Taleb and can be applied to several facets in a business such as coaching, managing, collaboration etc.

This refers to leaders who do not merely observe and give orders but accept as much stake as their juniors in tasks. This directly shows that they can take responsibility, are reliable and in it for the long run. In simpler words, these leaders not only manage through their intelligence but also their heart. When facing challenges, leaders with Skin-In-The-Game do not resort to blaming other forces, internal or external, but instead admit and learn from these mistakes. Admitting failure is a prerequisite for them, as their dedication to the company is beyond their ego. Employees can absorb these positive characteristics through Social learning, which all-in all improves the over-all values of the company.

Thankfully, imbibing skin in the game into one’s leadership practice can be achieved with dedication, thoughtfulness, and long-term commitment. The first step is to stop having a “they” and “us” differential. During disputes, managers of different teams can often forget about the collective end-goal and unintentionally reinforce this pattern. Additionally, this leads to people internalising a lack of confidence in the team. Similarly, one should take more interest in knowing how juniors are dealing with projects rather than just waiting for the results.

Often, employees are asked to perform tasks that may fall beyond their job position. This could happen in case of sudden improvement in parts of the business, or due to gaps in others. No matter the positive or negative indication, a leader with skin in the game’s perception of this is not that they must do more work, but they can contribute to improving a part of that business and help it grow long-term.

Understanding the importance of skin in the game leadership allows managers to set an ideal for others to follow. This commands respect and approval as it shows their belongingness in the same objective even though they are higher up in the hierarchy.

References :

  1. Leadership Lesson 5: Skin in the Game, Nov 5, 2018, Medium.