What are the the most effective leadership styles for creating high performance?
If you have visited other pages on the site, you'll have guessed by now that I am biased towards leadership styles that are inclusive and inspire people to be at their best. But that style doesn't suit every situation. And so being flexible enough to use other styles of leadership, as the situation demands, means you'll be a better leader and your career will benefit.
During my career, I've been lucky enough to work as a leader within a couple of high performance organizations and, since hanging out my shingle as a high performance leadership development consultant/coach in 2001, I've worked with many more organizations that are high performing (or on the track to becoming so).
With this experience, the one thing I am sure of is that leadership styles which are based in command and control generally deliver the poorest business results, the worst customer service experience and the least happy people.
Don't get me wrong - there is a place for command and control -- if there is an emergency situation you do want someone to take control, make decisions, mobilize resources and people to get through the crises. The problems arise if this model is used in all places at all times!
Certainly to be a successful leader you will need to develop some leadership skills, however, it's your leadership style that really gives your business unit (no matter how big or small) its flavor.
An effective leadership style for one individual or one organization may not work for you and your situation:
- How well do you think Southwest Airlines or Virgin would run with Jack Welch at the helm?
- How much would Herb Kelleher struggle (within himself, at least) if he were to find himself a leader in The Ford Motor Company?
- It is well documented that Winston Churchill was a great leader during World War 2. Yet in peacetime his style was found lacking by the nation that had so recently held him in esteem as a hero leader.
Your style as a leader will be largely influenced by two things:
- The culture of the organization you find yourself in
- The quality of leadership, coaching and mentoring you experience as you move through your career
When you inherit a leadership style from the culture, or are overly influenced by another person, you may find yourself feeling frustrated and on-edge. For example, if your style is to be naturally empowering, and you find yourself caught in an environment where people are seen as 'hired hands' - who are paid to perform not think, it can be soul destroying.
You may have the feeling that you are trying to be someone you are not.
You will do well to remember that leadership isn't something that you do, it is an expression of who you are.
A word of caution. Do not try to make your preferred/(natural) style fit all circumstances. Remain flexible enough to alter your style to fit the particular situation you find yourself in.
Even though your preferred leadership style may be to be more inclusive, it isn't necessarily the best style in every situation. You will be far more successful if you can flex your leadership style to suit the situation at hand.
Us this link to discover various leadership styles and find a style that works best for you, your team and your organization AND the specific circumstance you may be facing.
If you are ready to be at your best, take a peek at why leadership coaching with me may help you fast-track your career and enhance the quality of your life.
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