Leadership is thought of as a single skill. Is it really so?
Many feel that leadership skill is something which you either have or don’t have, but in reality leadership skill is something that can be acquired and developed.
When we look at some of the great leaders from history, sport, and our own lives; we see some strategists, others visionaries, and a few others who are great motivators.
What about our parent as a leader – their role as multi-tasking, nursing, peace making, admonishing; several facets of leadership, each suited to different situations.
Let’s look at our work arena as a focus.
At the starting point
Three styles of leadership are required at the outset of a project. The visionary must set the vision and encourage his followers to stop what they are doing and focus on the new vision. The entrepreneur will have the determination to give the project momentum and turn the idea into reality, ideally with the help of the strategist who will have already broken the big picture down into manageable chunks.
As we go along
Along the way as critical decisions need to be made, it will be the directional leader who decides with certainty what is it that is to be done. It is not just change for the sake of change, in the hope that something will work and that the team will come out looking good.
The team maker who will instinctively gather all the people with the necessary skills, and move forward on the project, plays a critical role. This leader is a good judge of character, and will also have an intuitive understanding of the strengths that already exist within the team, ensuring that imbalances are compensated by suitable new additions. Keeping the program on track will be the monitor, all too often this skill is overlooked because those that possess it don't have the charismatic approach associated with leadership. They play a key role in setting milestones and ensuring that everyone is moving in the same direction and at the same pace.
Keeping the team energized is the role of the motivator and the guide. The motivator sets goals, gives incentives and celebrates achievement while the guide focuses on the individual's welfare. In this results based world the guide is often seen as a hindrance to getting the job done but ask those who work for these leaders and there you will see their motivation to achieve the task on time and to standard is way higher than others.
When the chips are down
We all know of stories where a leader has taken on a failing organization and turned it around. These change leaders thrive on taking teams apart and putting them back together again. With the benefit of experience elsewhere they can see where an organization is going wrong and know exactly how to put it right. Once this is achieved though they may not have the skills to maintain the momentum and cast a vision for the future, like the entrepreneur they will be hungry to start a new challenge.
When you are on a roll
The vision has become reality and brought with it several new visions. Now, the danger is that each will follow its own course rather than supporting the others. The consolidator will have spotted this and will know how to listen, arbitrate, negotiate, compromise and relate to a large cross section of people to steer each of them towards a common goal without detracting from their individual missions.
Now, think back to past leaders you have served and identify which of the ten styles they demonstrated and in what environment. Compare them to your own situation and consider which aspect of your leadership style you need to develop.
Let us “evolve the path” ourselves and build the team by the vision and strategy that our work needs.