By Caroline Creedon
As business owners, we cannot underestimate the value of leadership skills. I tend to define the concept of leadership as the art of motivating a group of people to act toward a common goal.
Regardless of how you lead your team, having a solid leadership strategy behind you is key to being both motivational and productive.
There are essentially four types of leadership styles:
The leader is top-down, independent, and doesn’t accept much input. Their strategy is “work or gets fired” and they leave little opportunity for collaboration
Literally translates to “let it be,” this leader believes things will all come together on their own, typically leaving the team to work things out amongst themselves.
A leader who believes their role is to serve the people on their team, rather than lead them, makes them entirely dependent on the leader.
The leader who strives to motivate, inspire and encourage the people on their team to be the best they can be.
Which of these four methods resonates most with your own leadership style?
Hint: You may find that your style is a combination of more than one, or maybe even all four!
What’s important to remember here is that each leadership style has both benefits and drawbacks.
For instance, the autocratic leader may sometimes get exactly what they want because they are clear and direct, but at other times, team members may get so focused on trying to please their leader that they overshoot it and miss the mark entirely.
This is when situational leadership comes into play. Truly effective leadership comes when we can choose bits and pieces from all four leadership styles and apply them in the right context. Getting this right really depends on two things:
- What’s happening in the peripherals of your business at the time.
- What stage of their journey does each of your team members be at within your business.
For example, a more autocratic leadership style would work well when introducing a new team member to the safety risks of a new workplace. Alternatively, when introducing a new team member to your company culture, a transformational approach would be more appropriate.
We’ll get into this a little more shortly, but for now, let’s dig a little deeper into these leadership styles to understand some of the essential traits of a successful leader.
Lead from the front:
- Showing the way and leading by example.
- Doing what you say you’ll do, following through, and keeping your word.
- Being humble, asking for input when it’s needed, and accepting any wrongdoings as opportunities for improvement.
- Strong determination and resilience go hand-in-hand, and we need to know that it won’t always be a win. Remember, it’s not the number of times you get knocked down that matters, rather, it’s the number of times you get back up.
- Being able to listen actively to the people on your team to understand and adapt to what they need from you.
All these traits and approaches to leading a team come down to understanding the concept of situational leadership and knowing what leadership traits your team needs at various points through your journey.
When team members are new to your business, they likely need an equal balance of high direction and high support. But once they settle into their role and are able to really own their position on your team, they’ll need less of each.
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