What comes to your mind when you hear the word “leader”? Each style of leadership is unique. And it is this uniqueness that can be both motivating and confusing as a manager takes on this role and tries to identify his or her leadership style.
Different styles are appropriate for different employees and different scenarios. As a manager discovers his own unique style of leadership, he will then develop a sense for when to apply them. How to learn this can be done in the following three steps:
Observe what is effective and what is not.
Journaling can be a great way to explore what is effective. Spend some time each morning for the next week writing about your work experience over the past year of your life – specifically the work experiences that resulted in positive outcomes with your team. Write down each event and outcome, who was involved, and how you would describe your leadership style. This gives you a window into your leadership style. You can then use this to develop a leadership system for managing your team. Next week, use your journal to write about every boss that you’ve ever had. Describe their style and its level of effectiveness on you as an employee and team member.
Read books on leadership regularly.
The bookstore is filled with material on this subject, and since good leadership can be learned, take advantage of what has been written by experts. Managers still face many of the same problems and scenarios that have been faced by leaders for centuries. By being a lifelong student of leadership you can grow and succeed in this area by leaps and bounds, and keep the great talent that you recruit to your company.
Find a mentor.
If you want to go somewhere that you’ve never been to before, hire a guide to take you there. This could be an experienced executive within your company, a former professor, or a paid executive coach or consultant. Something this important requires a person who has a strong interest in seeing you develop as a leader.
Develop your style and be open to changing it as new and different scenarios reveal themselves to you. And hopefully your subordinates will have an inspiring memory of you in their minds when someone mentions the word “leader.”
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