Do you know your style?
What is your leadership style? If you examine all the qualities of successful leaders, you’ll find a lot of different skill sets. One set of attributes taken from studying a successful leader doesn’t necessarily mean another person with the same leadership skills will be as excellent even if nothing else changes. Let’s take a look at types of leadership and what it means to be successful.
The Experts Recommend
If you search the internet, you will find a lot telling us what makes a good leader. I didn’t find any that considered the people and organisation as part of the equation. It doesn’t matter what skills you have if there is a misfit.
Some people don’t connect with some people, whatever skills they have. Nobody appears to consider this. When it comes to leaders, it’s horses for courses.
What Style Are You?
What type of leader, boss, manager, supervisor or coach are you? There are many successful leaders, but we can’t say they’re successful until after they have achieved success. Some leaders manage to create success, move on and create success in other organisations or teams. However, this isn’t guaranteed, and successful leaders can often fail after changing companies or gaining promotion.
Success in one business doesn’t mean automatic success in another
Lots of people create successful companies but fail to emulate that success in other companies. Success isn’t just about the leader (who can be a driver, a catalyst or even a workaholic), making things happen. Success is about the overall outcomes created by a capable unit with an effective leader. There’s no single formula which will guarantee success because every team is unique, just like the individuals in it.
The media and experts continue to recommend leadership attributes
The media (amongst others) have tried to analyse success, to produce the perfect profile for leaders but, again, there’s no guarantee. You only appreciate a good leader when they have produced results after time, or they moved to another place. Too little time may create a false positive.
How do you measure leadership?
One measurement of success is how long it lasts. You can define success over time; sometimes it’s very short-lived and, other times, it’s ongoing. Occasionally it can be continued even after the leader has moved on. Leaders can be seen as successful, but it doesn’t always last.
Success or failure as a leader depends on the leader, the team, the product or service, the environment and the attitudes of those involved. Successful outcomes can also be lost by one bad apple in a group or even one poor decision.
It’s complicated to define the profile for success because there are so many options. If you’re looking for a leader, you can reduce the possibility of failure, but there’s never a guarantee. You can monitor performance and maintain ongoing adjustments, but you still can’t guarantee success or continuing success.
Are You the Dominant One or the Influencer or?
What type of leader are you? Are you dominant, forceful or even dictatorial? Are you clear and precise? Do you inspire others? Do you abide by the rules or are you a rule breaker? Are you fixed or open-minded? Are you a good listener and effective communicator? There are so many types of successful leaders. An individual with an accepted leadership profile doesn’t guarantee success. The same leader types are capable of success and failure.
Different styles suit different environments. The police are supposed to apply the law, but that doesn’t always happen. A good teacher will inspire their students, but that oftentimes doesn’t happen. In the army, you need leaders who can enforce the rules. Some do and some struggle. If you have a style that suits an environment, it still doesn’t mean you’ll be successful.
Leadership? Example of Bad Leadership Getting Results
There was a boss who deliberately mentally abused their staff whenever possible. For instance, he was always telling the staff they had to work overtime on weekends, even though it wasn’t necessary. They could show the work could be completed without taking away their time off.
Even though the boss accepted this, and they proved it by completing the work within regular work hours on many occasions, the boss still found ways to make life difficult for them. Then one day, although he was married, a girlfriend appeared on the scene, and his attitude changed. A more approachable person showed up, who didn’t have time to be abusive.
That is until she left him, and then he reverted to his usual dictator style. A major problem here was the top boss. He didn’t know (or care) about what was happening if he got the results he expected. Eventually, the people in the environment started to play up, and that impacted the business, so the top dog came down hard, and the boss got harder with the people because he didn’t know any other style. Naturally, the business started to suffer. The well-known UK organisation doesn’t exist anymore.
Brilliant Leadership Example
In another company the boss was incredible. It was one of the largest companies in the UK. His style demonstrated how to work with human beings, and he was very successful. All his staff worked enthusiastically for him. If he or anybody wanted to make changes, the agreement was that everybody had to agree before they were accepted. One person could stop anything by saying “no,” and people often did.
The boss was very persuasive in a reasonable, logical manner. He always accepted these outcomes. Sometimes this meant alterations to the change, and the result was usually still positive, but if not, he sought suggestions from all of us. He never needed to put pressure on people and always used rational explanations. It was a pleasure to work for him.
Then, sadly, one day, his staff were informed that he had died in a swimming accident. A new boss arrived from another department, and his style was completely different. He tried to emulate the previous boss, but he was different. Eventually, the department’s world and their environment began to collapse rapidly, and people began to leave.
Example of Poor Leadership
In another substantial United Kingdom organisation with a contract overseas, there was a boss who was only interested in his status. People in his team were usually family, friends or friends of friends and family. These people were always favoured. Once he asked for an employee to be fired because he wasn’t any good, but he proved to be an excellent worker. He proved this again and again, so the boss failed to get rid of him.
Then it was found out that he actually wanted to replace this employee with a family member and eventually found another opportunity for that person. Once he had his claws in you, your work-life became a misery. Some bosses are like that when they can’t get their way.
On one occasion he wanted some information from a computer tape, but the system never collected this information. He said he had been given it before, but that was impossible and he wouldn’t accept, we didn’t have it. He used this to say that the employee was useless but he couldn’t prove it. It didn’t stop him trying. The country eventually kicked the organisation out.
Special Note: Some names and other specifics have been deliberately left out of the above stories to avoid identification of any people and companies.
You Can Learn Leadership – Are You a Leader?
Are you a leader? What type of leader are you? You can be born with natural leadership traits, and you can also learn them. In both cases, you can continually improve by using feedback and by seeking knowledge on leadership. People like Tiger Woods has talent and is always developing it. Then there are golfers like Dustin Johnson who taught himself. They both use feedback and knowledge from acclaimed experts to improve their game. This process is also useful for enhancing your leadership style. You can learn and grow forever. It never stops.
Summary – Type of Leader
If you want to be a successful leader, you must keep improving yourself and your leadership style. It’s essential to understand the different personality types if you want people to perform for you. You must continually monitor your environment through the results you achieve. You must listen to the people you lead, your peers, your seniors, your customers and your suppliers if you want to maintain your status as a successful leader. Good leaders ensure they base their decisions on rational consideration and not emotion.