“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” (Jack Welch)
There is no such thing as a single “best” leadership style – but there is the best style for you, in a given situation. And there is a style that best suits you as an individual. They key to effective leadership is identifying and perfecting your style while at the same time knowing when to adopt the best aspects of other styles. You also need to understand the styles of your team members, so you can call upon them as needed.
“Leadership is influence.” (John C. Maxwell)
Management does not equal leadership. Management is about stability and getting results today. Leadership is about change and achieving greater results beyond today. By doing more of what you do today, you won’t get to where you want to be tomorrow.
- Be aware of situations that need to change. Stay vigilant for opportunities for improvement or dissatisfaction with the status quo. Then adopt different thinking patterns and change – starting with your own behavior – so you can achieve desired outcomes.
- Be bold. Boldness is essential for leading upward. Let your own personality shine. For one week, make a list of three to five things that worked well in your leadership efforts. Then, actively start using them the following week.
Know Your Strengths and Stretch Your Style
“I must follow the people. Am I not their leader?” (Benjamin Disraeli)
Get to know your leadership style inside out. Are you more democratic or directive? Do you thrive on being an assertive pace setter or do you prefer a more affiliative or coaching approach? Heighten your awareness of what you’re good at and consciously play to your natural strengths as much as possible.
- If you’re not sure, find out. Ask your colleagues and team members what they consider to be the strengths of your leadership style.
- As you reap the benefits of your strengths, actively work to stretch into styles you find more difficult. The most successful leaders are those who draw on and seamlessly integrate various styles, depending on the circumstances. One size does not fit all.
- Blend with your team’s leadership styles to the best advantage. The best teams are well rounded. Identify those on your team whose strengths complement your own. How could you better use them?
Look to the Future
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18)
When people look to their leader, their basic needs are direction and hope for the future. Define and communicate a vision of where you and others need to go and how you’ll accomplish it, so everyone can clearly see the way forward. This will inspire confidence and cascade downward, as well as increasing your impact upward among your bosses.
- Build your external network and research widely. Maintain a solid grasp on what’s happening outside your department and your organization. This helps you create a bigger-picture vision.
- Be follower focused. Among the keys to a more resilient future are recognizing the contributions of others and giving them room to innovate.
For additional resources and guidance to grow your leadership skills – and those of others – contact the workforce development experts at Alternative Staffing today.