Are You Using the “Right” Leadership Style?

Last week I was coaching with a highly focussed and talented leader. He asked me if he was using the “right” leadership style.

What a great question!

The conversation proceeded and we worked through what was appropriate to his goals, his personality, his long term outcomes and the situation at hand.
Do you have a leadership style? Or do you stumble blindly through each day hoping not to make too many mistakes?

Have you thought through clearly how you want to lead?

Do you adapt your style for different people and different situations or do you adopt a one size fits all?

The Situational Leadership Model of Blanchard takes into account adapting our leadership style for the person we are leading and the task at hand. However leadership style is much greater than this.

The overall needs of the situation, our values and our desired legacy must also play a part in the style we adopt.

Recently in Queensland we have gone through a series of natural disasters, out of which the comments have been that our Premier Anna Bligh was an “inspiration”, “awesome”, “a great leader” and so on. The effusive praise is well deserved in my view. She led us through floods and cyclone with apparent ease. She had a central command team; she was transparent in her communications. She was consistent and she acknowledged the difficulties whilst giving a message of hope that we will prevail along the lines of “our hearts may break but our spirits will not”.
Like Winston Churchill before her, Ms Bligh is a great leader in a crisis.

Her style perfectly matched the situation. Before the crises she was generally disliked and had little respect from the public at large.
In the good times her style did not match the need for forward action, visionary thinking and consultative leadership. She was a one woman show, her word was law.

Similarly during the GFC at a federal level our Prime Minister had a “kitchen cabinet” with 4 decision makers included. This was perfect for the crisis situation. All decisions were centralised and the larger government cabinet was rarely consulted. However coming out of the crisis, the kitchen cabinet continued – as did the lack of consultation, during a time when real creativity and inclusion were needed.
This in part led to Kevin Rudd’s leadership loss.

Both examples I have used here are current political examples of leadership.

My business clients’ question brought to mind other Executive Coaching conversations over the last 2 years where there has been a mis-match between the style adopted at the time and the style needed by the organisation and the team in particular.

Each of you reading this article is a leader. Either you have the title and responsibility of a leader of a Team; a Business; a Family or, you are a leader through influence.

Outside of the Blanchard Situational Leadership model, I ask you to examine your leadership style. Are you creating the results you want? If so, congratulations.

If not,
Do you need to take into account the changed circumstances and your desired goals?
Do you need to be more inclusive to create energy and incorporate others ideas? Or
Do you need to be less inclusive and more “command and control” to get through a short term crises?
Do you need to be more inspirational, selling a medium or long term vision, or
Do you need to be more uplifting to raise morale for a short term goal?

You have your own Leadership Style, are you adaptable and flexible within your style or are you stuck and rigid?

How will you know? That is the simple part, just look at the results you are creating and what kind of feedback you get from your staff peers and Manager.

If your answer is that you are indeed stuck and rigid as a leader then perhaps you need to re-examine your style.

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