What are your leadership styles?
Whenever I am asked by a peer of mine or a potential employer during an interview, “How would you describe your management style?” I think I am that typical tough but fair type. I correct behavior when I need to and I praise good behavior when it is present. I am above all else fair, I do not favor anyone, as far as I am concerned we all signed up to do a job and must be held accountable if that job is not being done; regardless. I will quickly admit when I was wrong but I will also point out when others do wrong. I set my expectations early on, keep an open mind to new plans, and as long as my team is giving me their full effort and follow the process, I will have their backs and take responsibility for their decisions. Anytime my team does well, I say it was all them as well as jokingly take all the credit but surely I did nothing but support their hard work. When they fail, it is on me. Whatever the scenario, I did not teach them the process correctly, maybe they need more training, the trailer did not get sealed on time, I trusted it would get done but I failed to verify it did, and so forth. I can be seen as the “cool, laid back manager” when things are going right but if the work is not being done, they will have to be held accountable. They all know this because I set my expectations on day one. With that being said, here are some leadership styles that I have seen in my days.
One type of style is to empower your team to make the calls and just be there to support them in what they need on your end. This is great, especially if you are a manager of managers because leaders tend to want to be left to do their job the way they like doing it. It is difficult to change someone’s leadership style and so sometimes you have to trust your team will get it done.
This is not ideal in a lot of situations, in fact it’s not my favorite, but I understand it can be effective when necessary. If you have an employee, that is generally a good employee, but you have to watch him or her to ensure they don’t start daydreaming and is continually being productive, would be a good time to micromanage a little bit. Overall, leaders like to be empowered and left alone so this isn’t one you’d use all the time.
By the Book
Being by the book is great, you know all the policies, if anyone is confused about anything, you have the reference to get the answer readily available, but you are not too keen on a lot of change or “individual case by case basis” type of thinking. Now, there is a reason for policies and they definitely need to be in place but life is not so black and white, cut and dry, that you have to follow it verbatim.
Wild Wild West
On the other hand, you have the cowboy, the leadership style where you just shoot off the hip, spontaneous, no plans needed, go with the flow mentality, etc. This is a great style to have when new things happen and there are no set guidelines in place or past instances to base it off of. This is not something you would want to do for your every day operation because you will not win consistently but rather you will have too many ups and downs; not consistent trend.
You cannot use the one style of leadership all of the time. In a future post, I will discuss this in more depth on being flexible with your leadership and why it’s more beneficial than fitting into one set style of leading.