Leadership is all about people.
As a leader, who you are and how you manage your own behaviors will dictate the leadership outcomes you will achieve. By managing your leadership style effectively, you will succeed in making the most of the people around you.
Whether you are a leader who tens to be a dictator; a supporter; an encourager. If you prefer to be demanding; or enlightener or a people person. There’s a different leader in us all.
Effective leaders appreciate as much about themselves and the way they go about their business as they do about those they lead. By creating self-awareness and understanding better their impact on those around them, the best leaders make the most of themselves and their people too.
Whilst it’s true that we all have a natural leadership style about us, when we develop the capacity to flex how we act when we appreciate how others are, we are much more able to maximise their capabilities – to bring out their potential – than if we blindly lead in the only way we ourselves feel comfortable.
Whilst being natural in delivering our role as leader is often able to get good results, the best results will come when we leverage those around us. To do this we must be capable of amending what we do, to find the ‘hot buttons’ in others that are so vital to release their inner capabilities. To relax them enough into their own strengths.
Here are 9 vital requirements for leaders to utilise their own capabilities in the styles they adopt and adapt with their people:
Many leaders fail to appreciate themselves and their own behaviors as much as they need to. Without becoming paranoid, it’s hugely valuable to appreciate the way you are with your people – your little traits and quirks as well as the bigger picture – and how that works with them.
2. Seek and Accept Feedback
For this reason, it’s really useful to be able to ask for – and fully accept – feedback regularly and consistently from a range of people you interact with – and not only your own team. Feedback that you don’t fight; or excuse; or overtly reject. But fully accept and appreciate those who give it – and then consider and respond where appropriate.
3. Constantly Refine
With careful appreciation of the feedback you receive, you will be able to adapt your style to be a better leader. If you can overcome the inner voice that tells you how good you are already are, you will take on this need to vary as the challenge it is.
4. Listen Well
By being able to listen well, you start to show your capabilities to be flexible. Many leaders love the sound of their own voice because they are ego-driven (not always a bad thing). Yet this can prevent truly hearing people – and then it becomes much more difficult to appreciate what they need from you.
5. Have a Shared Vision
Leadership is so often aligned with a vision. Yet many leaders fail to involve their people in that vision. By involving others in your team (however big or small it is) in the vision for the future, your leadership style will show the flexibility and inclusiveness so necessary for creating valuable bonds and input.
6. Are Trusted
Leaders have a bit of a track record here. Over time, poor communication skills can lead to a lack of clarity. This can mean that leaders can make decisions that seem at odds with what might be expected. Trust comes from delivering to meet expectations, being honest and transparent.
7. Appreciate Differences
Every team needs a mix of capabilities to create the best results. And that means a range of individuals who are very different and who require different leadership styles to get the best from them. Great leaders appreciate this and behave in different ways to leverage each one of their team.
8. Model Behaviors
Whilst it’s important to flex some behaviors, others need to be consistent. And your people will follow you and who you are as their model. Many core behaviors require this level of commitment on your behalf, or you will see others replicating the poor ones too.
9. Show Respect
Great leaders understand the emotions that others experience. These can be very demanding and it’s vital that you appreciate each person for who they are and what they are working hard to do. Mistakes and under-performance happens. Yet these are real people who need to see how much they are respected.
Leaders so often have inherent styles in their way of working. The very best are able to anticipate and deliver a range of leadership styles that enhance their role, rather than hold it back.