Every person in a leadership role must have a clear definition of who they are and what they stand for. If you are expected to lead people, then you must know yourself and be confident in your abilities. That is why before you embark on your leadership journey you should take a pause and discover what your inner leadership style is. This guide can help you discern facts from fiction and enable you to connect with your inner self so you can live to your fullest potential.
Why Is Good Leadership Important?
With the right person in charge, a business can thrive, but the flip side of this is all too real. The wrong person can do irreversible damage to a company or a workforce and, therefore, a delicate balance must be struck. Good leadership is important for many reasons. The primary points are:
- A likeable and strong leader can lift the mood of your employees and keep them motivated. This includes nurturing their morale levels but also keeping spirits high in general. A miserable employee is not a productive one, and with the recent shift in prioritizing mental health in the workplace, it is more essential than ever to practice these values.
- A good leader will also elicit strong communicative practices throughout the floor. Communication is essential to the inner workings of a company as it is what strings everything together. Without it, things will fall apart rapidly.
- They can increase productivity and keep things running smoothly with their general skill base and knowledge. Poor management has been the annihilation of many a small company or even a large one. A person in charge who knows how the company needs to tick over is the best one for the job.
The Five Key Leadership Styles
Here is an overview of five key leadership styles that come up consistently in the world of management.
Authoritarian – A focus on authoritative practices where one person is in charge of all major decisions and timelines.
Delegation – A focus on spreading tasks across the company where responsibility, therefore, becomes shared, and outputs are more collaborative.
Transformative – A focus on a wider motivation objective where one main goal is implemented to foster a sense of togetherness within the organization.
Transactional – A focus on reward and exchange behaviors to fulfill work obligations.
Participative – A clear focus on employee involvement and relations. Employee opinions and inputs are highly valued within this leadership style and used as an asset to move forward with strategies.
How to Find Your Style
Different methods work for different people; however, there is a common theme that should be observed throughout. Integrity, honesty, and strength are three qualities to look for in any leader. The guidance below will take you through how to find yourself in this role and how to align your principles with that of a true leader.
Hold Up a Mirror to Yourself
If you are going to be a leader, a manager, a guider, a head of something, then it is time to hold a mirror up to yourself. What does this mean? It is a metaphor for looking in a mirror to see inside yourself. It encourages a truth searching mission, one during which you tread the path to what is in your heart, your mind, and your soul. Through this process, the objective is to really break down your individual personality traits and lay them bare for examination. In order to become a great mentor, you must know what your mentoring style is. How you interact with people will be your making or your downfall.
It is essential to know what matters to you and what does not, what you expect from the people you lead, whether or not you are able to hold yourself accountable for your actions and decisions and how you behave when under pressure or stress. Any flaws in these four branches, and you will not be able to lead ethically or efficiently.
Pinpoint Your Strengths and Weaknesses
After you have held the mirror up to yourself and found your truths, the next step is to define your strengths and define your weaknesses. These are what make you strong and what could potentially drag you down if left unaddressed.
Desirable leadership qualities include:
- Good decision maker
- Good with people
- Ability to adapt (flexible)
- Strong willed
- Can take criticism
Undesirable leadership qualities include:
- Short temper
- Lack of patience
- Inability to adapt
- Bad at listening/communication
- No accountability
- Not recognizing employee success
There are always more qualities that can be added to this list, but these are the main things to look for or to avoid. If you find yourself landing too heavily on the undesirable qualities side, then it is either time to step up and take action or to accept that you are not destined to lead. No single person is a masterpiece, and there is always room for improvement and forward movements so try not to be too strict or too harsh with yourself when learning the ropes. Managers need to be able to lay themselves bare in order to solve problems.
Welcome Any Feedback
Aside from knowing your true self intimately, another valuable attribute in leadership is a person who is able to absorb, reflect and act upon feedback. Whether this feedback is negative or positive will decide the opposing action strategy. However, the key is action. You might even actively seek and solicit feedback from employees in order to strive for a better work ensemble. If you struggle with negative feedback and criticism, then you will struggle to be a fair and intuitive manager because you are not acting in a democratic way. The people who work for you are people too, with lives and feelings just as your own. So, it stands to reason that their voices deserve to be heard, and a true boss recognizes this and brings it forward into their management strategy.
It is never the case that you can solve every issue, nor will you be able to find a resolution for every criticism; however, part of this process is accepting that an integral piece of the leadership puzzle is being criticized whether fairly or unfairly. Workers’ frustrations with the job will be directed at you, and though you will not be able to please everyone, you should always make the time to listen and be attentive to those frustrations. This is a part of managing people that has never changed. Feedback is essential to growth and fostering a nurturing work ambiance.
The best thing that you will ever do for yourself as a leader is to learn patience. You know what they say, patience is a virtue, and they are not wrong. But what does it mean, exactly? Patience being a virtue means a person who can wait and be kind without acting out in frustration is a special person indeed. Patience is one of the hardest skills to master, and human beings are passionate beings with volatile emotions and turbulent reactionary habits. So, in order to be able to lead, you must first find inner tranquility. You are only human though; it cannot always be that you are a saint of patience. However, it is something that needs to be at the forefront of any leadership strategy and carried in all of your practices.
Employees who like their employer, who respect them and feel heard and have their needs taken care of, are much more likely to stay put, to stay motivated and to increase their productivity, as opposed to workers who feel afraid to speak up for themselves or have a boss with a short fuse. These kinds of establishments see a higher staff turnover, have unhappy people and struggle to raise motivation even with incentive programs in place.
Always Keep Your Mind Open
Leadership is a multifaceted venture. There are going to be times when you are taken by surprise, or you have to show compassion despite struggling in your own personal life. Keeping your life separate from your employees will be an important focus for your merit as a manager, but you will often have to delve into the personal lives of your workers even when you are not in the space to do so. Unfortunately, or fortunately, however you view it, this is an essential part of the picture.
In addition to making allowances for personal lives, a good leader must also be open to new ideas and suggestions. When you keep an open mind to these types of things, your business can grow from the inside. It not only highlights problem areas and reasons for concern, but it also provides a wider scope for internal promotion and forward movement. Just because you are a leader and someone else is not, does not mean that their ideas and contributions are dismissible. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The best ideas often come from the people on the floor doing the job day in and day out. They have the most hands-on experience, and they have the best insights because they it is their life. Never assume that you hold all the cards, as this is the failing of many people in a position of power.
Delegation skills have many different components at work. To be able to delegate efficiently, a leader has to understand where and when to hand out tasks. Some things are just not appropriate to pass onto lower-level employees and this is a learning process. When you do delegate an assignment, it is also important to provide all the required resources and tools to get the job done. If you leave people in the lurch, they will feel put upon and resent the task at hand, but if you empower people with everything they need to succeed, they will feel valued and share in your success.
Part of successful distribution is knowing your employees’ attributes and personalities as well. The wrong job in the hands of the wrong person can only be done badly, after all. This is why choice is everything. You must also be fair when handing out assignments, as adding too much to one person’s workload can have a negative impact on their mental health and work capacity which can lead to a disgruntled and unsatisfied worker.
Roles Where Good Leadership Are Essential
Some jobs don’t call for perfection, some jobs do. There are some roles where you can let things go and you can compromise and there are some roles where you must advocate fearlessly on all fronts in order to strive for the best outcome possible. This article on nursing leadership styles provides an insight into all the different nursing management styles and shows you where you fit in. This is an arena in which the role has perhaps more grave consequences if executed incorrectly. Remember, as a leader you are the advocate for people always.
Other roles where top leadership is essential include any position of power, for example, a senator or higher, a chief of police, teachers and coaches and child welfare roles. That’s not to say that other types of leadership roles are less valuable. It is to point out that the bigger the responsibility expectations, for example, public safety dealings or helping vulnerable adults or children, the bigger the impact of your role overall.
Being a good leader is about more than just self-reflection. To truly understand your inner leadership style, you also have to look at your present actions and strive to make changes wherever you need to. Listen, take notice, always encourage feedback responses, and ensure that your management style is ethical across the board. It is easy to get it wrong when you are in a position of power so identifying your weaknesses and constantly adapting are the only roads to success. Chances are, if you don’t know who you are yet, then you are not ready to lead people.
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