When we traditionally think about leadership, we may automatically think of titles or people in charge (managers, supervisors, directors, and so on.) However, leaders aren’t only defined by their organizational title or role. They are defined by their actions and impact to a group or project’s goals and outcomes. There is no one size fits all style of leadership with this broader definition. So why does finding your own unique leadership style matter?
Understanding your unique personality and what you value is key to building your leadership. Defining your ideal style creates intentionality and authenticity that will build your own leadership strength and effectiveness.
Define Your Unique Leadership Style
Defining our unique leadership style starts with getting clear on our leadership vision. According to Infoprolearner, 83% of employers say it is crucial to develop leaders at all levels. However, only 5% of corporations actually implement these improvements. Given statistics like these, it’s not very surprising that ineffective leaders abound. Most of us have had our own experiences with poor leadership. Let’s take a few moments now to brainstorm the qualities that make a poor leader. Close your eyes and think about a bad experience you’ve had with a previous leader. What happened? How did they make you feel? What were some of their traits that were hurtful or not helping?
Now let’s explore the flip side of the leadership coin and visualize a leader or person who inspires you. Think about a time you had a positive experience with them. How did they make you feel? What are some of their traits or qualities that you respect or admire in them? Take these learnings from the positive and negative leadership experiences to set the vision for the type of leader you want to be.
Which Leadership Qualities Matter?
Which traits did you come up with? While these qualities are uniquely defined by what you value, there are common, universal leadership qualities that often emerge. Psychologist and author Daniel Goleman, a leading expert on emotional and social intelligence, identifies several of these qualities he believes all effective leaders possess. Which of these traits align to the ones you identified? Here, we are going to talk about the unique leadership qualities that matter.
Understanding your “why” makes your work more meaningful and effective. A leader communicates this “why” by translating organizational objectives and making them relevant to their team. Transparency matters.
Questions to ask: Have they set a vision for your organization or team? Are you clear on their vision? Is it motivating and energizing?
Lead By Example
Leaders understand their actions speak louder than words. They are willing to contribute at all levels and model the values and deliverables they expect. Great leaders practice what they preach.
Questions to ask: Do they walk the walk or just talk the talk? Do they exemplify the value and actions they encourage?
Leaders will honor their values even when the going gets rough. Despite challenging situations or people, they will stay the course. Remember, consistency is key.
Questions to ask: Are you clear on their values? Do their vision and actions align to these values? Do they hold firm despite outside pressure?
Leaders are able to clearly tell their story in a way their audience will understand. They are able to communicate their vision, strategy, feedback, and expectations within any level of their organization, both internally and externally. A focus on communication is essential. Listening is also key here!
Questions to ask: Do they adapt their communication style to the needs of the situation or individual? Are they clear with expectations and feedback?
Make The Hard Decisions
Leaders do not shy away from challenges. They stay consistent in their resolve, no matter the situation. Following through, especially during hard times, is necessary.
Questions to ask: Are they decisive, even when the going gets tough? Do they stay focused instead of hesitating?
Leaders understand the importance of celebrating their team’s wins and contributions. They make a point of acknowledging others and understand this is also a key part of development. Recognition creates motivation and connection.
Questions to ask: Do they recognize the contributions of each individual? Do they identify the successes of each contributor beyond the success of the company or team overall?
Leaders understand their role in developing others. They create opportunities for growth. Success is about supporting others to perform their best.
Questions to ask: Do they recognize the importance of cultivating growth in others? Do they realize success is not just about themself?
Motivate and Inspire
Leaders create connection with others. Their actions inspire others to do their best work and keep raising their bar. So a continued focus on cultivating a healthy environment is priceless.
Questions to ask: are they able to motivate you to keep going, even during the tough times? Do they inspire you to be your best?
Need Leadership Development Support?
Gaining clarity and building momentum to grow your leadership can be tough, and coaching can help! As a next step, we recommend you complete our leadership style assessment here. In addition, partnering with a coach is such a powerful tool to help you set and achieve your goals. So if you are ready to take your leadership to the next level, schedule your free coaching consult today! We look forward to connecting with you.