Widen the view of personal commitment, responsibility, and accountability from self to the organization and team members. Discover how to become more self-aware.
After your promotion to management, you may have gotten this sage advice. To be effective, you need to find your leadership style. If you're like most new managers, you may not know what that is, and that's okay. This course will give you a jumpstart in figuring it out. I'll start with an example about a young man named Derek who was the go to guy in the IT department of a major company. He was a brilliant technical resource. When Derek was promoted to leadership position, he felt the need to emulate the style of his previous manager and mentor.
That's what leadership looked like to Derek. It was this bold, charismatic person who was a great presenter and didn't hesitate to deliver directives. Unfortunately, Derek was a soft-spoken introvert who would rather have a root canal than speak to a large group of people and he had more of an ask versus tell style. As you can imagine, trying to copy the style of his former boss came off as awkward and forced. Derek had all the potential to be a great manager but he needed to discover his own authentic brand of leadership that reflected his personality and natural tendencies.
That's the challenge for you as well. Much has been written about leadership styles over the years. You may have heard of the transactional leadership style or the transformational style, or perhaps the pacesetting and affiliative leadership styles. To keep from getting bogged down describing more than a dozen versions, I want to talk about three main leadership styles people tend to adopt with the understanding that there are variations and it's common for people to flow between different styles depending on the situation.
The authoritative style. That's one that centralizes all of the power and decision-making with the leader, allowing for fast decision-making and more focused production. The democratic style decentralizes authority, emphasizing two-way communication and delegation with respect for both people and projects. The free-reign style gives complete freedom to subordinates, entrusting them with the decision-making and developing their independence.
As you might imagine, there are pros and cons to each style. Authoritarian might at times be interpreted as somewhat dictatorial. And free-reign could occasionally resemble anarchy. But it's helpful to understand these general categories as you find the right fit for you, your team, and your organization. I encourage you to download the full handout for complete details about these common styles. Archetypes aside, we all know there are many other factors that impact how others experience us.
And to uncover those factors, you need to really know yourself. Yes, your strengths and your weaknesses, but harder yet, your temperament, habits, and personality traits. Everything that makes up who you are and how you show up at work. Your goal isn't to become some cookie-cutter copy of someone else. It's to leverage your own best qualities and showcase your individuality as a leader. With that said, here's a clarification. This doesn't mean you don't have to push yourself out of your comfort zone on some occasions.
Becoming a leader requires all of us to stretch and grow. In Derek's case, he did have to give presentations and he had to engage more frequently with his direct reports even though his instincts would be to stay in his office all day with the door shut. But he adopted these new practices within the parameters of his own personality and it worked well for him. So how can you increase your self-awareness as it relates to your impact as a leader? You have options. I've provided you with a downloadable self-assessment to kick off the process.
If you want to get more objective outside feedback, try participating in a 360 degree assessment which gathers valuable anonymous feedback from your colleagues and coworkers. You might consider visiting my website to find a convenient online version that is fully automated. Once you know a little more about your true preferences for interacting with others and how you're perceived by the people you work with, you can use that as a foundation for developing a leadership style that fits with your personality.
To be an effective leader, put self-awareness on the top of your priority list. It will help you create a powerful leadership style that feels natural and allows you to connect with your teams and influence them in a more authentic, personal way.
- Moving from technical skills to relational skills
- Becoming more self-aware
- Communicating with greater impact
- Moving from individual to team results
- Broadening your perspective
- Building productive and meaningful relationships