A reflection about my leadership style and learning to develop other styles

Thank you to Cherie (@cherbabes) for that wonderful quiz to help us look in the mirror and reflect on our leadership styles.  I also shared with her that I think anyone who is willing has the potential to develop all leadership styles.  It’s important that we embrace the strengths we have but to also be intentional about developing other areas that we are not as experienced or comfortable with applying as leaders.  I think it would be interesting to see how our leadership styles are changed when we begin to develop other styles and apply them appropriately.  My least well-developed leadership style is “Coercive”, so I guess I need to work on being more assertive and directive when leading through a crisis.  Ironically, I feel that I have moved away from those tendencies over the years and work really hard NOT to be coercive.  It’s interesting to consider that maybe there are times when that is needed from me as a leader and I need to figure out how I can use coercive skills without railroading others in the process (or is that just being a Pacesetter?).

My quiz results:

My most developed leadership style:  Coaching

My fairly well-developed leadership styles:  Pace-Setter, Visionary, Affiliative, & Democraftic

My least well-developed leadership style:  Coercive

Sam (@sdutton2015) shared a four-step process for finding the appropriate leadership style (detect, adapt, choose, then adopt).  I feel like these “simple” processes for a complex issue can be misleading if not properly used or understood.  This process might not be very practical or efficient when leaders have little time, knowledge and limited understanding of the current change process, to properly go through each step and determine the best leadership style to use.  I added that I felt like maybe in reflection, a simple process like this can be a useful exercise in looking back at the approach used and highlighting areas that worked and blinders that may have prevented successful change implementation.  Sam shared an important point, that leadership is situational and leaders must understand when, in what context, and how to use a particular approach or style.

Theresa (@teacherak14) shared some thoughts on the importance of being approachable as a leader.  I commented that I think it can be challenging for leaders of larger teams or group to convey approachability.  I think of being approachable as being open-minded and demonstrating to others that they can trust you to hear them out when they have issues or concerns to share about the work.  Leaders can do this with an open-door policy, setting aside time to meet regularly with individuals or teams, and genuinely showing that they care and can relate to others through common interests, backgrounds, and experiences.  But I think it can still be challenging to be everything for everyone, hence the different leadership styles that are needed at various times to address different situations, needs, and individuals or teams.  Sometimes leaders are doing everything they can to be approachable and yet staff are unable to feel comfortable engaging with their leader; this could be due to previous experiences, not enough opportunities for interaction, or personal communication styles and expectations that are not currently being met.

This week was in interesting exercise in thinking about what types of leaders I have worked for and how I perceive myself as a leader (as opposed to how others perceive me).  The quiz results resonated for me and there are times that I am more visionary, affiliative, or democraftic in my approach but certainly being a “coach” has been my predominant leadership style lately.

Any thoughts, feelings, opinions, suggestions?

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