Leadership Styles

I’ve been asked a number of times to describe my leadership style.  To be frank, I find this to be a silly question.  It is similar to asking a painter which brush he uses.  The response will likely be “All of them”.

Leadership is a tool and is used in different ways depending on the circumstance.  The trick, as a leader, is to know how to modify your behaviour to match the people you are trying to lead and the situation you are in.   It involves understanding psychology, knowing the skills, knowledge and attitudes of the people you are trying to influence, and having a good idea what needs to be done.  Knowing these things determines whether you bellow like a drill sergeant or quietly lead by example.

Supposedly, there are many “styles” of leadership and you can easily find sites on the Internet that list three, or four or ten.  The differences in the styles varies but most rely on or assume that the followers will cooperate with the leader and recognize the authority in the leader’s position.  This certainly makes leadership somewhat easier.

But if you want a real test of your leadership capabilities, consider democratic leadership – not the pseudo participative styles – but leadership in situations where cooperation is not guaranteed and initially you have no authority.  If you can rise from the crowd and, with nothing more than your wits, get them to follow you, you will have proven yourself as a true leader.    You should also consider a career in politics.


2 Responses to Leadership Styles

  1. Cory Howe says:

    I agree that the real test of leadership is the ability to lead without a title. I would go as far as to say that if you can’t lead without a title you can’t lead. At best you can manage, which isn’t always bad, but it isn’t leadership. For this reason I absolutely refuse to promote to a leadership position anyone who isn’t already showing leadership, no matter how well they may do at their other responsibilities.

  2. Leadership programs fail because organizations are spending too much time seeking input for these programs. Organizations must eliminate formal training programs and give full control to the mid-level managers.

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