In his classic work Pensees, Blaise Pascal profoundly wrote:
Four kinds of persons: zeal without knowledge; knowledge without zeal; neither knowledge nor zeal; both zeal and knowledge. The first three condemned him. The last acquitted him, were excommunicated by the Church, and yet saved the Church.
Clearly Pascal was affirming those who are filled with both knowledge and zeal. Those with both knowledge and zeal, according to Pascal, are the ones who saved the Church, and those without both qualities are the ones who condemned Jesus.
Applying Pascal’s framework to leadership, there are two essential qualities in all great leaders: Intentionality (knowledge) and intensity (zeal). In your context, you have met these four types of people. And only one of them is really effective.
1. The Internal Consultant (Intentionality without intensity)
I have been a consultant and benefit currently from utilizing consultants, so I am not bashing the discipline. Consultants help you with clarity and with understanding that leads to an intentional direction. They are valuable. But internal consultants attempt to speak into the work without doing any of the work. They come with ideas but lack the intensity to implement any ideas. You don’t want people on the team who offer their heads but not their hearts and their hands.
2. The Chaos Creator (Intensity without intentionality)
The chaos creator wakes up ready to execute something today. And something entirely different tomorrow. Sometimes the “something different” is actually in the opposite direction, but the chaos creator does not care. A person on the team who is passionate yet lacking in wisdom easily creates unnecessary work for everyone else.
3. The “Why Are You Here?” Guy (Neither intentionality nor intensity)
Once you see a person without intentionality or intensity, it is hard to un-see what you have seen. Neither great ideas nor passion for the mission are brought to the table. Meh. You can’t help but wonder why the person is still around. Surely there is some mission or cause in the world that person can be excited to join.
4. The Person You Trust (Both intentionality and intensity)
Intentionality coupled with intensity makes a leader very credible. And not only the leader but any person on the team. The person you trust, the person who adds incredible value, who makes everyone else better, is the person who is both intentional and intense. This person deploys thinking, energy, and skill in the same direction. People who are passionate about what matters most are highly effective.