- Transactional Leadership
- Charismatic Leadership
- Democratic/Participative Leadership
- Laissez-Faire Leadership
- People-Oriented/Relations-Oriented Leadership
What is your leadership style?
This list (and accompanying descriptions) is as good as any. The question is, “What type of leader are you?”
Perhaps the greater questions are, “What type of leader do you want to be?” and “What type of leader does your team need?”
When people think of you, they will think of your having a particular leadership style, even though very effective leaders maneuver between these styles depending on the situation.
Become the team
In a recent Business is ART podcast on the subject of ghostwriting, the guest, Joshua Lisec, discussed how he needs to really become his client when ghostwriting on their behalf, much like an actor has to become the character in order to convincingly portray him or her.
The same is true of effective leadership. The empathetic leader puts him or her self in the shoes of the followers. What do they want? What do they need? What motivates them? Why do they do what they do?
The bigger the team, the tougher this can become because what works for one person may not work for the next. Everyone is motivated differently. This makes it nearly impossible to be the ideal leader for every single person on the team.
So don’t try to be.
You can’t be everyone’s favorite
Instead, think of what kind of leader the collective whole needs in general to accomplish whatever the mission may be. Depending on what that is and what you adopt as your style, some people will fall out, while the rest will fall in. Your job then becomes leading those who fall in.
Here are some suggestions for becoming both the leader you want to be and the leader your organization needs.
- Make sure you understand each leadership style. As you familiarize yourself with each, think of well-known leaders that generally fit each category, as well as the situations they have handled and for which they are best known.
- Think about what styles have best motivated you personally over the years.
- Solicit feedback from others – their perception of your leadership style may not be consistent with what you believe it to be.
- Ensure your team or organization has well defined goals and objectives – this will help identify the general style of leadership that is needed.
- Develop a risk mitigation strategy – this will help identify the style of leadership that is needed in special circumstances.
- Determine what type of leader you want to be – identify any gaps in your perceived style and that by which you want others to perceive you.
- Work to close those gaps – that may mean coaching, practice, training/education, and forming new habits.
- Be flexible enough to adapt to any style for any given situation, but be true enough that whatever style is generally needed and desired is the one on display the majority of the time – otherwise you will be perceived as a phony.
Develop a personal plan
You may need to have an individual plan that focuses on developing and nurturing your leadership style. The Plan Canvas software includes a personal plan that advises you to focus on foundational information about you, the individual, such as your personal definition of success, your blind spots, and your strengths.
It then encourages you to identify things you want to accomplish in the long, mid, and short-terms. Finally, it encourages you to identify the action steps you will take to achieve your goals and objectives.
Whether using Plan Canvas or something else, review your personal development plan with someone you consider a “coach” on a regular basis. Before long, people will start including your name in their list of the top leaders they have ever had the pleasure of serving with.