Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Leadership Strategy - Which Leadership Style to Follow ?

Leadership Strategy - Which Leadership Style to Follow ?

Without an effective leadership strategy, it is believed, that the organizational strategies do not work. Best players in a team do not guarantee success without a great coach, similarly, work teams may not function effectively if leaders do not follow an appropriate leadership strategy.

To understand leadership styles here are three scenarios - Scenario 1 - A Teacher gives a question to the class full of students, however, solves it for them; Scenario 2 - A Teacher gives the question to the students and observes how students solve them; Scenario 3 - A Teacher gives a question to the students and moves around the class, observes the students, and helps wherever required. Scenario 1 was “Leading from the Front”, Scenario 2 was “Supportive Leadership Style”, and Scenario 3 was “Interactive Leadership Style”. Besides this the leadership styles / strategies could be based on personality traits like Directive Leadership, Structured Leadership, Intuitive Leadership, or Process Driven leadership.

Here are some tips while selecting leadership strategy / style:

1. A leader must be aware of his / her personality traits and those of his team members / followers to understand which leadership style will be most effective.

2. A leader may not adopt a consistent leadership all through his / her career. Situational Leadership helps addressing varied needs / expectations of the followers as he the leader adopts a strategy based on a situation he / she is in. In case a leader has a self-reliant team, he needs to be using a directive leadership style or lead form the front. He could instead delegate and provide inputs where necessary.

3. A common mistake especially a lot of new leaders make is to copy established / well know leaders. Remember, each situation is unique and so are the followers. A leadership style which may be suited to a well known leader may not be appropriate for your team. Make no mistake here - do not try and imitate other leaders.

4. A leader will never be afraid of trying new approach to solve a work problem or address a conflicting situation. It is quite a possibility that a leader adopts a style that is not by the book.

5. A leader must keep enhancing his / her leadership skills. While on the job experience matters a lot, getting enrolled into leadership courses after detailed evaluation of the program and feedback of the participants will help implementing a leadership style more effectively.

It is often said that good leaders are born and not made; however, good leaders are those who are aware of their personality traits and also of their followers. They know which leadership style is to be adopted in a particular situation. Once this is done, there is a little challenge left for a leader to become a “good / great” leader.

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