The post that gets the greatest number of visits on this blog is a very short piece I wrote a while ago on different leadership styles – here is the link. I know a picture is worth a thousand words but its success still staggers me – every day it get more hits!
Now leaders, being people, come in all shapes, sizes and personality types and thank goodness for it.
The secret of being a good leader is the ability to be flexible. Whatever your natural style, If you can adapt that style to meet the needs of the times and your situation, well, in my book, you will be doing OK. And I believe you may be quite unusual.
But, if you are prepared and able to flex, you still need to be able to recognize when a different style is required. For example, a participative leadership style is great in gaining consensus, engagement and a commitment to quality. But in a conflict situation where survival depends upon making a quick decision, it may have its limitations and could be potentially disastrous
There may be limits for many of us in how far, and for how long, we can adapt from what is our natural style.
It really helps if we understand our natural style and if we can be honest with ourselves about how far we are able to change. Under stress and over time we tend to revert to what is natural for us.
An action-orientated leader may be great at saving an organization, bringing it out of inertia and building up motivation and morale, short-term. But that same action-orientated leader may not be the person to develop a vision for the organization long-term.
If you can flex long enough to meet the need, that is great! If you can’t, and you know it, then have the courage and honesty to admit the problem and put energy into finding someone who can.
So where do you start to become this paragon of leaders who can change styles as required? Well, start by understanding you.
There are various leadership tests that you can find easily on-line (such as, Myers Briggs) and some of them are free. Do your homework – find out as much as you can about your own and different leadership styles on this and other websites.
Then start to observe yourself and your organization. If you look and listen to your people you’ll soon know if your leadership style is right for the times! But be aware, this may mean you have some difficult choices to make. That depends, of course, on how just how good you want to be as a leader!
Wendy Mason is a Coach, Consultant and Blogger. She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those wanting to increase their confidence. If you would like to work on developing your leadership ability or your own confidence, Wendy would happy to work with you. Her Learn to Be Confident Program is at this link. You can contact Wendy at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring ++44 (0)2084610114