In today’s business world, successful leadership isn’t just about holding a high-ranking title and having your name on the door. It’s about your capabilities, your qualities, and, most importantly, your leadership style. As I often say, “You don’t want to be a leader who’s just filling buckets; you want to be the one who’s building pipelines.” Understanding your leadership style allows you to create these pipelines, leading to better team performance and overall business success.
What is Leadership Style?
Leadership style is the manner and approach of providing direction, implementing plans, and motivating people. It’s how you communicate, manage, respond to crises, and make decisions. Each style has strengths and weaknesses; understanding your own can help you be more effective and impactful.
There are several recognized leadership styles, but let’s focus on two: transformational and authoritative.
Transformational leaders inspire and motivate their teams to exceed ordinary expectations and achieve extraordinary results. They’re champions of change, often challenging the status quo and encouraging innovation. Shore aptly describes these leaders in “The Leader Launchpad” when he says, “They build a culture where every team member feels they’re part of something bigger than themselves.”
Authoritative leaders, conversely, are clear, concise, and firm in their guidance. They set high standards and closely monitor their teams. They command respect, and their word often goes unquestioned.
Discovering Your Leadership Style
Identifying your leadership style can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. An executive coach can be an invaluable resource in this journey. They can provide an outside perspective, helping you see your strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement.
Working with a coach involves self-reflection, observation, and feedback. They’ll help you understand your behavioral patterns and how they affect your team. Once you know your style, you can refine your approach, aligning your leadership style with your organization’s needs and culture.
Case Study: From Good to Great Leadership
Let’s consider a real-life example. A senior executive at a leading tech firm, Jane was well-respected but struggled with team engagement and performance. She worked with an executive coach to understand her leadership style.
Jane discovered she was predominantly an authoritative leader, which, while effective in some situations, created a barrier between her and her team. Her coach guided her to incorporate elements of the transformational style into her leadership. She began to foster a more inclusive, open environment, promoting innovation and encouraging her team to take ownership of their work.
Over time, Jane saw remarkable improvements. Her team became more engaged, productivity improved, and morale skyrocketed. The combination of authoritative and transformational leadership was a winning strategy for Jane.
How to Apply These Concepts
Now it’s your turn to make a change. Here are three actionable steps to find and refine your leadership style:
Self-Assessment: Reflect on your behavior, decision-making processes, and how you interact with your team. Seek honest feedback from colleagues and subordinates.
Get a Coach: Consider working with an executive coach who can provide valuable insights and guidance. They can help you navigate your leadership journey.
Experiment and Adjust: Try out different strategies and observe the results. Not every technique will be right for you, but through trial and error, you’ll find your unique approach.
By understanding your leadership style, you can become a more effective, respected leader, leading your team to new heights of success.
About the Author: Howard M. Shore is the CEO of Activate Group Inc., a business and executive coaching firm. As a seasoned business executive and coach, he has helped countless leaders discover their leadership styles and unlock their potential. Shore is the author of two books, “The Leader Launchpad” and “Your Business is a Leaky Bucket,” providing practical strategies for business success.