How you can make the most of dif­fer­ing lead­er­ship styles


your be­hav­iour.

And it’s your be­hav­iour that im­pacts oth­ers, ei­ther pos­i­tively or neg­a­tively.

Lor­raine Sweeney, from Cerese So­lu­tions, sup­ports in­di­vid­u­als and teams to help them max­imise their team per­for­mance.

“When teams reach peak per­for­mance, there is less en­ergy spent on de­bat­ing the pol­i­tics and in­ten­tions of var­i­ous play­ers and much more on the work at hand,” she said. “But that re­quires a level of trust that comes from a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of each other’s style and mo­ti­va­tion.” Let me start by say­ing there is no such thing as a right or wrong style. How­ever, in given sit­u­a­tions, some styles help to achieve an ef­fec­tive re­sult and oth­ers can in­hibit it.

For ex­am­ple, let’s say your pri­mary style is to be dom­i­nant, de­ci­sive and re­sults-fo­cused in ev­ery sit­u­a­tion. That might be per­fect in a cri­sis but not if you’re try­ing to coach one of your team.

In sum­mary, there are four main styles, de­ter­mined on one axis by the ex­tent of your level of as­sertive­ness ver­sus in­tro­ver­sion. On the other axis they are de­ter­mined by your ori­en­ta­tion on tasks and re­sults ver­sus peo­ple and re­la­tion­ships. The di­a­gram shows just some char­ac­ter­is­tics to il­lus­trate the ex­tremes of each style. Great lead­ers cre­ate a high per­for­mance and mo­ti­vat­ing cul­ture that brings out TASK/GOAL FO­CUS OPEN AND PEO­PLE ORI­ENTED the best in ev­ery team mem­ber. That’s done with great com­mu­ni­ca­tions and through un­der­stand­ing re­la­tion­ships. In turn, that gen­er­ates in­creased col­lab­o­ra­tion and team­work across the or­gan­i­sa­tion. Be aware of your style and the styles of those around you. En­gage in a fa­cil­i­tated work­shop to help you de­ter­mine the style of each team mem­ber. Flex your own style to work more ef­fec­tively with di­verse styles that are dif­fer­ent to yours. When there is po­ten­tial for con­flict or dif­fer­ent agen­das, seek com­mon ground and mu­tual in­ter­est with those of a dif­fer­ent style. Clashes of styles are in­evitable. De­velop the emo­tional in­tel­li­gence of your team so that they be­come more aware of each other and know when to let go or adapt as needed. Put peo­ple in po­si­tions not just based on their tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise but that play to their strengths. For ex­am­ple, putting a ‘driver’ type sales­per­son in front of an ‘ami­able’ buyer is a recipe for con­flict.

If you have no choice in this, then en­sure that the sales­per­son knows how to recog­nise it and adapt.

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