Hawaii - Pacific Chapter of ACHE Mobile - Fall 2014

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Understanding Your Leadership Style

adapted from Glenn Gutek's article "Briefings Bonus"

Understanding Your Leadership Style

Understanding the way you lead is critical to success, and knowing that effective leadership for one team or field might not translate to another team or field is equally important. The complexity of the marketplace has prompted the importance of knowing your leadership style and discerning the style to which a team will easily respond. There are a plethora of leadership styles in the workplace, but the following six tend to be the most prominent in today’s working environment:

  1. Charismatic.  This style can encompass a wide swath of personalities, but the common ingredient is that the energy ushered in by the leader is closely connected to the leader.  Once the leader leaves a situation, the energy lingers behind.  This style has been both praised and criticized, but it is clear there is value to those who bring energy to an organization with their sheer presence.  A charismatic leader is an excellent vision-caster and can elicit a loyal and passionate following and increase the company’s pace.  The downside can be, some teams do not need to speed things up but rather need to slow them down, and occasionally this leader might not be detail oriented.  
  2. Technician.  This leader displays both knowledge and skill and is the best producer of what an organization produces.  The style is highly valued in cultures where competence is high in economic value. People who follow this style boast an impeccable reputation and also set the bar for the standard of work quality.   However, the style can have limits in terms of being replicated; people are often left wondering, “How does he/she do it?”  The value of quality is, of course, incredibly important, but there is a distinction between leading the best and being the best.
  3. Strategic.  This type of leadership connects the dots.  People who tend to be global and conceptual thinkers embody this leadership style.  They are not only able to see the end destination, but they also know the path to get there must be identified and paved.  However, this style can also provide disappointment and setbacks, because this leader can see what could be, as well as what is not.
  4. Team builder.  In this style, leadership is by roles and unity.  The style recognizes that you cannot just assemble any group of people and claim you have a team.  These leaders look at people individually and find roles for them to fill.  They also align these individuals so they make up a collective whole.
  5. Managerial.  Described as leadership by systems, this style focuses on doing things correctly and efficiently.  Processes and systems are designed and understood so current operations function consistently.  Though some would argue managers are not leaders, one must acknowledge that effective managers have a profound influence on those that surround them.  At the same time, they have the capacity to lead a culture that prizes management, even at the expense of effectiveness.
  6. Directive.  Lastly, is leadership by control.  Common during the Industrial Revolution, the command-and-control style has slowed down in popularity.  However, an organization in crisis can thrive with a directive leader who steps forward and brings order out of chaos.  Today, there is still a need for directive leaders.

Knowing your style allows you to function in an environment where that style will flourish.  As a leader, it is important to understand your natural style as well as be aware of the potential weaknesses found in that style.  This gives leaders the confidence and skills they need to lead.  Effective leadership in today’s diverse culture will require a team approach, and teams require diverse leadership styles.  By employing the best leadership style for you and knowing when to adapt to other styles, you can effectively lead your team to success.

Adapted from Glenn Gutek’s article in Briefings Bonus from www.communicationsbriefings.com

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