So, you took a leadership test to determine your “leadership style,” and you reviewed the results, nodded in agreement, and simply moved on after that. If your test indicated you’re a “top-down manager,” or a “collaborative coach,” or a “remote resource provider” or whatever your style may be, it’s possible you accepted this as truth and you’ve worked this truth into your day-to-day interactions with your team.

That’s fine, and the insight you gain when you assess your own style can’t hurt your chances of success. But consider this: Your management style can change. It can even change multiple times in a single day. In fact, if you aren’t changing your style in order to accommodate the unique needs of each employee on your team, you aren’t really making the most of your leadership potential. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

One size doesn’t fit all, even if you are the “boss”

If you assume your job is to choose a style that works for you, and then you hold that line and allow others to navigate around you, you’re missing the point of leadership. Great leaders don’t step into their roles in order to make themselves comfortable at the expense of others. They step up because they’re invested in the success of the team. That sometimes means the more status you have, the deeper the sacrifices you need to make. Leaders need to get in earlier, leave later, get their hands dirtier, take on a higher level of accountability, and adjust their style MORE than those around them, not less.

You’re the hub of the wheel

If one employee is shy, another makes fast decisions, and another can’t act without volumes of data, guess who reaps the rewards of these strengths and who suffers from their concurrent weaknesses? You do. So, bring out the strengths and neutralize the weaknesses as much as you can, even if this means adjusting your own approach.

To get respect, give respect

Adjusting your tactics to fit someone else’s needs and personality demonstrates respect for that person. It obligates you to study their ways carefully and truly listen when they talk. And then it obligates you to look inside yourself and find ways to work with whatever they offer you. Showing respect for others is the surest path to gaining the respect you’ll need to function as a leader.

Hands-on or hands or hands-off? The difference matters.

If your employee really needs your help and input, you’ll need to give these things, whether it fits your style or not. The same is true in reverse; if a skilled employee can only do her best when she’s free from your hovering and interference, find a way to stand back. Keep in mind that this assessment can change from day to day, or even hour to hour.

Bring out the best in your employees and in yourself! Learn more by contacting the management team at Extension.


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