Leadership Styles

Thrown in the deep end? What leadership style will you chose?

Let’s face it: if you are good at your job, and your productivity is higher than anyone else in your team, your overloaded boss usually decides to promote you into a leadership position. This is supposed to make you feel valued, that you are progressing in your career and that you shouldn’t leave the company any time soon. Of course the additional money is great, but you can’t help but think, “This is going to destroy my productivity” followed shortly by: “But I don’t know how to manage / lead a team!”

Too often, I hear a familiar story when it comes to high achievers who have greatness thrust upon them in terms of a management level position but do not receive an ounce of training, support or even a shoulder to cry on when things go horribly wrong. Just because someone is awesome at their job does not mean they are going to make an awesome leader.  Now don’t get me wrong, I think most people are capable of becoming awesome leaders, but most definitely cannot do it out of the box.

So if this is you right now, what can you do? Your boss is too busy to help, and you certainly can’t expect any assistance from the rest of the team who you just pipped to the post and are staring at you with eyes seething with jealousy, so the obvious next choice is typing “Leadership Styles” into Google. I did this recently and found the following useful.

In 2000, Goleman released a study called ‘Leadership that Gets Results’ in which he and his team spent 3 years interviewing over 3000 mid-level managers. They went on to produce the following categories of leadership style:

  1. Democratic Leader – this is a leadership style that effectively asks the team to make the decisions. This is great for helping to make team members feel ownership and is a participatory approach. It calls for the team to be grown ups, and can be a great motivator
  2. Coercive Leader – This is the bossy kind of leadership style that expects everyone to do as their told without asking any questions. Quite old fashioned, and certainly not a good way to get the best out of anyone unless you are in an emergency situation with very little time to spare
  3. Coaching Leader – This style of leadership requires a long term approach to your team, where you develop them for the future through training and mentorship. This in turn creates loyalty, and leads to a lower staff turnover, but obviously requires an investment of time.
  4. Affillative Leader – This type of boss is the one who feels like your best friend or even a parent. They create emotional bonds between staff members and people’s feelings are top priority. This again helps produce a low staff turnover, but can lead to difficulties at crunch time when a decision must be reached quickly.
  5. Authoritative Leader – This manager leads from the front, and helps foster a common vision amongst the team members with a strong focus on the desired outcome. How people get there is for them to figure out!
  6. Pacesetting Leader – Once again, this leadership style is leading by example in a fast paced environment.  The team is required to follow the leader. It requires a highly skilled team who can keep up!

When all is said and done, different leadership styles are required for different situations, and vary according to the skill level and motivation of the team, the task they are doing and how much time there is to do it in.

Personally, I find that motivating a team through focusing on a common goal, including them in decision making, making them accountable, offering them flexibility, inspiring them, developing and investing in them in a transparent, human and participatory environment produces the best results. Where staff are invited to bring their whole true selves into the work place instead of playing a part that is expected of them. It may feel scary and chaotic, but this is where brilliance is born. Staff who genuinely feel a part of what is going on CARE more. They care about the outcome, about you as their leader and about the rest of their team. They help each other, and take turns in leading each other with their own unique talents which help to get the job done better. If your staff are not genuinely on board, you will have to hit them with a stick every step of the way. This is not only painful for them, it is painful for you, and you are bound to lose a few good folks on the way.

Goleman found that a manager’s leadership style was responsible for 30% of the company’s bottom line productivity. That’s a big deal. Your boss might not be willing to spend any time investing in your leadership skills, but you can break the chain and focus on constantly improving yourself in this area. Do it today and pretty soon you will have your bosses job, where you can really make a difference.

Check this quote from Chuck Blakeman:

‘ The hallmarks of the Participation Age are simple, participation and sharing. Companies are discovering that if they invite everyone to participate in the building of a great company, and to share in the rewards, both the company and the people, profit more. The Participation Age is also creating workplaces with a soul. This isn’t woo-woo crap; these are hard-core success strategies. And it isn’t a fringe idea. Those who embrace the Participation Age will thrive; those who don’t will be left behind.’

Chuck Blakeman, Founder- Crankset Group

Be part of a revolution that is happening right now in the workplace, and fight for change. We spend more waking hours at work than at home, so let’s try and make them amount to something.



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