Autocratic? Democratic? Dictatorial? Consensus? Collaborative? Delegating? Coaching? Country Club? Facilitative? When it comes to leadership style, which one is the best? Easy answer is… It depends. In reality, there is no one best leadership style because there is no one person on your team that needs the same thing.
Your Leadership Style
Ken Blanchard and Paul Hersey coined the term “Situational Leadership” way back in the early 1970’s. Back then the premise was that leadership needed to be in sync with the ‘performance readiness’ of a leader’s followers.
In application these days though, leaders need to be ready to morph and adopt their style of leadership depending on:
- The expectations of the people on the team. Different generations have totally different expectations of what they get out of a job. All the way from: “I’m here for the paycheck,” to “I want to work for a company that believes what I believe.”
- The maturity of the individual. What is the level of competence to do the job and the individual’s confidence in their abilities?
- The current level of performance for the business in the world around them. The world around us and the competitors that are trying to eat our lunch is dynamic. Ever changing conditions in the marketplace mean the business has to be dynamic, flexible and able to thrive in ambiguity. This means that your leadership style has to be dynamic and flexible as well.
- Crisis. Sadly, shit happens. Your response to the ‘crisis du jour’ will also determine how the team responds.
Adapting Your Style
All of this means that as a leader, you need to be able to flex your style easily and quickly depending on the individual or team you are leading. Your followers need you to adapt your style so that they can adapt their output. How do you know what style to use? Here is my guide…
- The newer a follower is to a role, the more hands on and directive you need to be.
- As followers mature, you need to move from directive behaviour to a style based on coaching to consensus to delegating as the follower grows. When ‘shit happens,’ you need to become directive and to the point.
- When you need a team to move or transition to something new, you need to ‘make it their idea’ by facilitating the team to what you wanted them to do in the first place.
- Always remember, the people make decisions emotionally, so you need to always remain constant around ‘Why’ or the purpose behind why you want what you want and… from the perspective of their why not yours.
Robert Murray is a Vancouver, BC based Business Strategy Consultant, #1 Best Selling Author, and International Keynote Speaker. For further advice, insight and inspiration on how to unlock your inner leader, follow Robert on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
Click here to get his weekly Tuesday Tune Up blog posts straight to your inbox.
Tags: Business Culture