How Can You Develop Your Leadership Style?

Leadership is most essential in a team environment. It has the absolute power to make or break the cohesiveness of a team. A leader has the responsibility of ensuring the unity of the team, to bring forth the desired result. With more young people coming directly into management positions, leading a team from day one, they are left with no alternative but to develop leadership skills on the job.

A leader is a person who faces their fears to achieve a goal, and more importantly, inspires others to do the same. – BBQ Papers

Problems Faced by Newbie Managers

Many new entrants in managerial positions, struggle hard, undecided about whom to turn to for advice and help – unsure whether their approach is a success or not. New managers have a hard task deciding when to be forceful and when to loosen up. Whether it is productive to be distant or friendly to the subordinates is a dilemma faced by them.

Being woman increases the hardship ten-fold, as they have to carry the additional burden of authenticating their selection and job suitability in the male-dominated world.

Searching for Solutions

A mentor from a higher management position can help young people overcome the initial hiccups. If the mentor is closely associated with their work, even better. With their vast experience and keen observation skills, mentors can provide the necessary guidance. However, finding a mentor is not an easy task in this dog-eat-dog world.

Another option is to find a role model within the organization and draw inspiration from his/her leadership skills. It is immensely beneficial for youngsters to watch a successful leader at work at close quarters. Paucity of role models, especially for women managers, is a drawback. The difference in personalities of the people involved may also limit its utility.

Developing a good rapport with the boss is one of the best solutions that can be applied in most cases. As a person closely monitoring the team, a boss will be able to provide proper guidance in those difficult days and help in developing a unique leadership style.

Best Leadership Styles

A best leadership style, readymade for all situations, is an illusion. Each individual has to develop a repertory of styles for use in specific situations. This depends on the people involved, demands to be met and many more.

Leadership styles can be broadly classified as visionary, coaching, democratic, affiliate, pacesetting and commanding, based on the team status quo and personalities of team members. Each comes with its own merits and demerits. When utilized in situations where advantages are more pronounced, their disadvantages become inconsequential.

Visionary style is appropriate for teams without direction or goal. A visionary leader can get the people moving towards a dream goal. Here goal is fixed, but the choice of path is left to team members. Coaching style is more suited for developing individuals, but can turn too stifling, when applied incorrectly.

Democratic style calls for inputs from team members and use the collective knowledge to move forward. Delay in decision-making is its main drawback. Affiliate style encourages team effort by building rapport among team members. However, exceptional talent and mediocrity may co-exit in this style.

Pacesetting style is taxing for team members, when the leader sets too high a standard for them to follow. It can lead to dissatisfaction and low morale in the team. Commanding style is abandoned even by its proponents, viz. the army. Fast turnaround during a crisis is its only advantage.

Those who have led successful teams, stress the need to borrow from all the styles to suit the occasion. However, in general, leaders should be firm, open, compassionate, clear and direct in their approach towards team members, to be successful.