What makes a leader an effective force for good? Many have developed models of leadership that were based on natural leadership styles. These all have one core observation: what made an effective leader was one who knew the natural strengths and weaknesses and could adapt to both. It didn’t matter whether a leader focused on building relationships or completing tasks. What mattered was that a leader could determine their most effective leadership style at any given moment.
What Makes You the Leader You Are?
There are two primary influences that affect an individual leadership style: the relationship someone has had with the best leader they have ever known and the relationship someone has had with the worst leader they have ever known. This creates a situation where leaders are consistently trying to live up to their role models while doing their best to avoid the mistakes of the worst leaders they have ever personally known.
The reason why this is important to understand is because personal experience leads to a natural bias. Team members who reminded leader of the worst leader they have ever known will naturally fall out of favor quickly. Those who have the strengths that a leader characterizes within the best leadership model they have ever seen tend to get the more challenging tasks and experience better rewards.
For a team to run effectively, a leader must be able to identify their leadership style. This means knowing if you focus on relationships or tasks first. This information then allows leaders to be able to put their strengths and weaknesses to better use. A weakness is not a bad thing to have. By recognizing it and being able to adapt to it, a leader becomes that much more effective at their job.
How You Do Work Effects the Work Being Done
Leaders disseminate information in a wide variety of ways. Some leaders prefer to encourage creative thinking by creating unstructured instructions to complete projects others take a more directional approach and demand compliance with a step-by-step to-do list that each member of the team must complete as close to 100% as possible. Many leaders fall between these two extremes.
Much of leadership effectiveness comes with the assumption that natural leadership styles are fixed. This may be true to some extent, but natural leadership styles also evolve over time. Leaders are like sponges: they take the best out of what they see and include the great traits as best they can into their own style. It makes leaders better… but sometimes this can also make leaders unpredictable.
Recognizing personal preferences will allow a leader to recognize their position power. Position power can either be strong or it could be weak. It all depends on how members of the team respect the approach that a leader takes. This is why the Leadership Effectiveness Theory is so important. By being able to recognize what has developed a leader into their current persona, they can apply their knowledge and experiences to each project and team development opportunity more effectively.