Your leadership style will impact your success for better or for worse. Here are three ways to leverage your leadership style.
1. Know your leadership style and the styles of others with whom you work.
There are many different leadership styles. No one style is inherently better than others. It depends upon the circumstances. The first requirement is that you know what your style is and both its strengths and weaknesses in various settings. I’ve found easy to use profile reports like DISC and motivating factors give leaders a candid read on their styles and how they function naturally and under stress. They also note challenges that leaders with a particular style face. For example, a relationship-oriented manager may be great at connecting with people, but she or he may have difficulty addressing performance issues directly.
2. Assess what’s needed in the situation.
Learn from the profile reports and your discussions with supervisors and coworkers where styles like yours work most effectively and the value they deliver to an organization. What’s your fit? Remember that you have choices. You can stick with your style, flex to a different style (if needed), or negotiate how you engage so that you and the people you work with get your needs met. For example, if you like small talk to get acquainted, but you need to satisfy a highly directive person, you will need to flex your style. On the other hand, if you are responsible for a project and have a collaborative style, you may need to ask others to flex with your style so that you can deliver your best.
3. Use tools to leverage your abilities.
We all face situations where our styles have strengths but they may not be enough to get the job done. Think of it like someone who needs to lift 500 pounds. A few people have the strength to do that, but most of us can’t. We need to find tools (for example, a lever or pulley) or some friends who can help us. Similarly, if, for example, you don’t have a highly directive style but need to address performance and accountability issues, you can use tools like clear delegation to get the job done.