We all have a sort of built-in leadership style that we tend to use as our default. Some people like to take charge and lead the way, while others prefer a quieter, more subtle leadership style. Regardless of what style you’re most comfortable with, there’s no doubt you could learn something from studying other leadership styles. Different styles come in handy in different situations, and making yourself comfortable with as many styles as possible will make you a more well-rounded person and a better leader.
Know Your Own Style
Before considering other leadership styles, the first thing you need to do is get acquainted with your own default leadership style. Think about how you behave when you’re under stress. Do you tend to tell other people what to do, or ask their opinions before deciding on a direction?
Play To Your Strengths
The next step is to play to your strengths, so find out what aspects of leadership you really excel at. This can be hard to determine on a self-evaluation, so feel free to ask around and see what your colleagues have to say about your top leadership qualities.
That said, there are still things you can learn from doing a little experimentation on your own. Try out new leadership techniques as often as you can. At the end of each week, make a list of what worked and what didn’t. Focus on the things that worked and make a point of developing them in the future.
Strengthen Your Weaknesses
When writing up that list of things that worked, you should also make sure to take time to focus on the things that didn’t work. Why didn’t they work? Were the ideas bad or were they poorly executed? Why did they fail? If the idea was bad, was it because you didn’t get enough input from other sources? Or did you take bad advice from someone else, even when your gut told you it was a bad idea? If you think it was a good idea that was poorly executed, think about what you could have done differently to make that situation a success.
Identify A Leader (or Leaders) You Admire
If you haven’t done so already, you should find at least one leader whose style you admire and would like to emulate. They can have a leadership style that’s similar to yours, but if their style is very different from yours, you’ll likely learn more. You can draw on your strengths, as well as theirs, to help shape your leadership style into one that’s more well rounded – and therefore more flexible.
If you can, try to identify more than one leader you can observe, preferably with a variety of leadership styles. That will give you more opportunities for you to observe different leadership styles and their various strengths and weaknesses and how different styles work better in certain situations. With time and practice, you’ll soon be able to draw on different leadership styles in different situations, which will give you the ability to lead your team through just about every challenge they might face.