As we discussed in last week’s blog, the most effective leaders recognize when to shift gears and match their leadership style to the needs of the individual or team they are leading and challenges they are facing.
Learning when and how to vary your leadership style can be challenging, but there is a systematic approach that works well. Follow these six steps:
- Watch for signs that a fire may be starting. Pay attention to clues from your team. Analyze the general (project, team, company) work environment and the specific (individual) situation. Are your team members showing signs of stress, treating each other differently than normal, or checking out?
- Acknowledge that it’s time to shift styles. Don’t wait! Accept your evaluation and make your decision to shift styles quickly.
- Write down your plan. Write down what you intend and what you hope to accomplish. This will slow you down, enable you to identify specific behaviors and tasks to engage in, and help you define your measures of success.
- Keep your actions and words ‘business-focused.’ Be focused on getting the job done and producing superior business results.
- Examine the results of varying your leadership style. Evaluate your efforts by asking three questions: Did I choose the right style? Did I execute effectively? Did I get the results I was looking for?
- Return to your collaborative home base. Varying your leadership style is temporary – to meet a short-term need. To consistently meet your people and production needs, go back to your collaborative leadership style (your home-base position) most of the time.
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