Here is some very good news for you.
There is no perfect leadership style, which means there is more than one way to lead effectively.
Why is this good news?
Because it means you, yes you, can become a highly effective leader.
Read that again and let it sink in.
Whatever your past experience, whatever your relative success or failure as a leader, you can become a self-assured, highly-effective leader of others. And it doesn’t require that you become someone else or “play a role” to do it either, because there is no perfect leadership style.
There is however, a leadership style that matches you – your strengths and weaknesses, values and beliefs, personality and tendencies. A big part of your personal leadership development process is determining this style and then developing in that direction. Notice the process doesn’t end with finding your style – it starts there. Once you understand yourself enough to determine your style, then you can begin building your skills, practicing and more.
But this article is written to help you with that first part – determining your style. Here are some steps in that process.
To determine your unique leadership style, you must start by knowing yourself. These first three strategies will move you down this path.
- Consider your values. The best leaders lead from their most deeply held values. Leading from your values means that your behaviors, choices and actions will be guided by those values. All of this is a foundation of your personal leadership style.
- Know your personality traits. Your natural style will grow from your personality traits – how you are wired. Introverts can be leaders, as well as extroverts. Action oriented people can lead, as can disciplined planners and researchers. These natural tendencies (and many more) are an important foundation for your style. Take time to learn more about this using one of the many fine assessments. Any of these assessments, well administered and with good understanding and coaching can help. Here is the one we use.
- Validate strengths, recognize weaknesses. Take your personality preferences and tendencies and put that together with past experiences and learning and you are moving towards your strengths and weaknesses. It is important that you know both strengths and weaknesses, as collectively they help inform your style. Take the time in reflection, through 360 Assessments and other strengths-based tools to learn more about your strengths and weaknesses.
Once you begin looking at who you are, you can begin looking outside of yourself to round out your leadership style. Here are some ways to do that.
- Learn from, don’t emulate. Look to leaders you admire. There is much you can learn by observing others. Doing this after you have begun to understand your own style is far healthier for your development, lest you fall into the comparison trap.
- Get feedback. Once you have a style in mind and know what you want to achieve, get feedback. Don’t just ask people, general things like “how am I doing as a leader?”, but using your personal style picture, ask questions about those specifics, to learn how you are doing, and how you can improve.
- Give yourself time. The steps described here won’t be completed in a lunch break, an afternoon or even a weekend. Give yourself some time to take the steps suggested. Be patient with yourself and listen to your intuition as well. Intentionally determining your natural leadership style is time well-invested, so give yourself the time to do it well.
Last, but almost first, is the biggest strategy of all.
- Keep learning. Just because you are leading from who you are doesn’t give you an excuse to stop learning, or allow you to deny your weaknesses. The best leaders are always learning – they are strengthening their strengths and shoring up their weaknesses too. Their constant learning focus is perhaps the biggest similarity between successful leaders across any particular style.
If you want to find your style, build your skills, and become the leader you were born to be, register for our free gift here.