One need not be in a high-level leadership role to want to know one’s leadership style. Anybody can be thrown into a leadership role for a project, an event, or even a camping trip. Knowing your leadership style will be instrumental in how you will accomplish your task.
For a leader to create an impact that transforms lives, one needs to lead from a place of genuine interest in helping others to see what they can do above what they think they can do, influencing people to go beyond themselves, and holding their hands in the process. Not letting go, no letting up until the goal is achieved.
When the goal of your team is to climb up a steep mountain, how would you lead your team to achieve it? Your answer will tell your leadership style.
But is there a way to know your leadership style? You can start with these five steps:
- Core Values
Core values are principles that are important to you. They will guide you through your decision-making, set your goals, influence your behaviour and help you forge relationships. When crafting your core values, know exactly what they mean to you. Do not just pick phrases and words off the shelf. The values must be significantly important to you, so you can speak truthfully about them, and more importantly, without filter, live and breathe them.
If you put a high value on integrity, the way you conduct business, lead your team, and relate with others should manifest this value. Your team should not be confused. If you speak integrity and honesty and dishonestly conduct your business, you will never gain your team’s trust. And do not expect to have trustworthy team members either.
“Nemo dat quod non habet.” You cannot give what you do not have.
What values do your team see you model? That could be a good starting point.
- Assess Your Personality
What are your dominant personality traits – at work, around family, and friends? Take an assessment test for an objective viewpoint. But you can also ask your peers, colleagues, direct reports, clients, family, and friends about attributes and characteristics they see in you (external self-awareness).
Knowing your personality traits will allow you to understand your decision-making process. What drove you to make the choices that you made? What often was the basis of your decisions? How do you relate to people?
Personality trait is just one area of assessment. There is no single personality trait that can perfectly model an ideal leader because every leadership style has pros and cons. But knowing thyself first is key. When you have a good and objective understanding of your personality, it will be easier to adjust your style for success, based on a given situation.
An introverted leader will have no problem stepping back to give his team the attention and recognition, while an extroverted leader must learn how to lie low now and then to give his team room to shine. Both these steps will encourage team trust and loyalty.
Knowing yourself through the eyes of others can give you a perspective that you cannot get when you rely only on your own opinion. External self-awareness is just as crucial as internal self-awareness. We all are subject to blind spots. And feedback sessions are helpful in finding out about that. However, to be effective, feedback sessions should be carefully managed. Professionally conducted assessment sessions provide objectivity because feedback is more than just observation. Professionals will know how to orchestrate and navigate.
- Take an assessment to start your self-awareness journey
It will also help to ask oneself these questions:
- As an Individual – What kind of leader do I want to be?
- As a Team leader – How do I support my team?
- As the Head of the Organisation – Where am I bringing my organisation?
- Enlist a Coach
As I have mentioned a few times before, a professional will be able to provide an objective quality to your assessment, and so you will save time in the process. Coaches will be direct in pointing out your blind spots. He will guide you through your self-reflection process, identify your strengths and weaknesses, and identify your untapped potentials. Then, guide you through your transformation process.
One leadership style does not fit all. A team is composed of people who continuously evolve. A leader must learn how to assess situations, get feedback, adjust accordingly and continuously recalibrate to meet ever-changing organisational needs.
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