What type are you?
I have been in the workforce for close to forty years and have seen every type of leader you can imagine.
Some of course were very successful, while others floundered around and eventually failed.
We will discuss the good and/or the bad of the various leadership styles, and then you can determine where you fit into all of this.
The real key is to recognize who you are as a leader and taping into the strengths of that style and getting rid of the weaknesses.
For instance if you are someone that enjoys teaching then tap into that.
Develop that style.
Make sure you don't come across as a know it all!
Take your ability to teach and interject it into your daily interactions with your staff.
Maybe it is seeing something that needs corrected and approaching it by saying something like, "let me show you a little trick!"
Rather than saying, "here is the way that is done!"
As someone that has been successful in a leadership role for most of my adult life, I believe that you can always enhance your leadership skills.
However, I don't believe everyone can be a leader. Just as I don't believe that everyone can be a professional basketball player. You either have the basic makeup of a leader or you don't.
I do believe that if you have the basic makeup of a leader, those skills, just like a professional basketball player, can be enhanced with the right teacher.
That is what I hope to accomplish with this information for you.
Balancing the Needs Of Everyone!
I have provided links to all of the various leadership types below - just click on the one of interest to you! The best leadership types are the manager that balances the needs of the employee, customer and owner.
I have talked about balance in earlier discussions of the different types of leaders, but by far balancing the needs of those individuals will go a long way to making them successful.
It seems like an easy task to balance all three, but it is a lot harder in practice.
Because all three want what they want!
The customer wants a great product or service, at a great price, great customer service, all with little or no delay.
The owner wants to make a great profit with few or no problems.
So why can't someone that is a good leader deliver on all of those?
Maybe we can remove the word great and that will bring us a little closer to reality.
So I can hear you saying, "Yes, that sounds good on paper but how in the world do you make that happen?"
If all three, the employee, the customer, and the owner, all hold up their end of the bargain they may all be able to have their cake and eat it too!
Let's start with the employee. If they create or provide a great product or service, on time without any waste, that will go a long way in making the customer and owner happy.
If the customer receives a great product or service at fair market value, that will go a long way in making the employee and owner happy.
The leader must provide an environment for all this to happen. They must see the process through the eyes of all three.
So if there is an employee that is holding the process back from achieving the goal of a great product or service, with little or no waste the issue must be addressed immediately. This does not mean throw the baby out with the bath water though.
This just means that the problem must be resolved in the best and most efficient and effective way. If it is a matter of training – then train. If it is a matter of discipline – then discipline. Get the point. Just don't make a mountain out of a mole hill.
If the customer is expecting more for less, I'm not sure you want that customer anyway. You can reason with someone until they are unreasonable. Then the old fishing term comes into play. Cut the bait and move on.
Finally, the owner. You must be able to help the owner understand that they must invest in the business reasonably to make a profit. If they are having trouble with that I have always been successful just asking enough questions instead of trying to drive my point across.
Listen closely for the answer. If you are in the restaurant business and they answer “To serve terrific food at a great price”. You need to keep following up until they arrive at the way to accomplish that. In other words they need good employees, equipment, marketing, etc., all that take an up front investment.
We could continue on and on, but I think you understand.
One of the leadership types that I consider for the most part to be good is the leader with compassion.
Compassion is an attribute that has the potential to be good or bad, depending on how it is applied.
I once told a manager that worked for me that if he were to ever lose his ability to be compassionate, he should change professions.
I know that Jesus Christ has compassion and I would put him into the category of a great leader.
Good leadership skills demand that you weigh the circumstances and evaluate what action should be taken.
I read recently from a publisher that women do not make good leaders for the very reason that they care too much about their staff and tend to resent them for that. The publisher said they should care and focus more on what I believe they said was Self.
I couldn't disagree more.
Don't misunderstand compassion for a push over though. A leader must understand the objective and work toward that. The difference is that a leader should not destroy anyone along the way.
One can have compassion and still issue discipline. One can have compassion and still hold people accountable. One can have compassion and still meet the objective.
On the other hand too much compassion will lead to a bigger problem.
As an example take an inexperienced parent that allows their child to get away with things because they say that they love them. The child grows up continuing to disrespect and abuse the compassion the parent once and continues to show.
If that same parent would have issued a mild form of discipline they would have sent a message to the child that they were wrong. But because they didn't most of their conversations are one way or are a yelling match today. Or worse yet, when discipline is finally issued now, it is close to violent because the parent has lost all control.
Have you ever received just a warning ticket or no ticket at all when you knew you should have gotten much more from a police officer? Compassion!
Know your staff. Be compassionate but do not be a push over!
Thank you and May God Bless you!
One of the many different leadership types, is the Teacher.
Someone that truly enjoys passing along their knowledge to those that report to them, can be a good leadership attribute to possess.
Almost every leader must be able to teach to a certain degree, but I am speaking of the one that dedicates a large amount of their time doing this.
As an example, a coach of a sports team must be able to teach, and should be spending a significant amount of time doing this. If they are not a good teacher, they will probably not be successful.
Then we come to the everyday supervisor/manager of a department.
As an example the manager of an accounting department should be someone that is a good teacher. Most of the employees would be working alone and this sets up the perfect opportunity to spend the necessary one on one time teaching new accounting techniques.
This would also mean that you, as the leader, should be continually learning as well.
I have worked with leaders that thought they could teach, but were not good at it. It is definitely a skill.
Never make fun of them!
Never make light of their ability!
Never teach in an effort to make yourself look smart to others!
Don't always look for the wrong in something so that you can teach!
Don't always correct someone every time you see them!
Don't mistake correcting someone with teaching. Certainly correcting them in the right way is teaching, but continually correcting them becomes annoying to most people. You will soon lose their respect.
As an example if you wanted to show someone a different way to approach a problem/situation, address them in a way that builds them up. Say something like, "This looks great, but may I show you a little trick I learned from my supervisor?" Providing of course you did learn it from your supervisor. But you get the point.
Don't say, "That takes too long to do it that way, let me show you the right way." Or any version of this!
Know what you are talking about! Do your home work!
Most importantly you need to be a good student as well. Be willing to learn also!
Don't fall into the trap where you are the only one that knows best.
That's called arrogance, not leadership!
One of the leadership types is an Authoritarian and under most circumstances would be considered a bad thing.
It is someone that believes all power starts and stops with them!
Speaking as someone that was in the Marine Corps, when you are on the battle field you need someone ready to make decisions in an authoritative way. This is a time you can not stand around debating what is the best course of action. You need someone that can make a decision and stand behind it.
So what does that look like in practice?
It is someone that may ask for input, but leaves no doubt about who is going to make the final decision.
Certainly someone in a leadership position needs to be able to make the tough decisions.
But someone that presents those decisions in a forceful way will not be respected unless it is a crisis they are dealing with.
I have always said it is easier to get a great big bull into the barn by giving it a reason to go there, instead of forcing it from behind.
The latter way generally never ends up good for the bull or the person trying to push him.
An authoritarian leader will tell someone exactly what they want from them. In most cases they will speak down to them in some fashion.
As an example they may say something like, "Here is what I want done and when I want it done by!"
In their personal relationships they most often act the same way, i.e., they are in charge.
I have always wanted employees who while working on a project are not afraid to enhance it.
In a situation where I don't want this to happen I will clearly let them know that, and why we must stick with our original plan.
An authoritarian most likely will not let them know why. They will say that they don't need to know why.
I would respond that if you want someone that can think on their feet when you are not around, say like on vacation, it may be a good idea to let them know why.
I suppose under the right conditions I have been an authoritarian leader from time to time, but it has been rare.
Unless you fit into one of the categories above where being an authoritarian leader is necessary, I would not recommend it for the long term.
It is not a good leadership attribute to have, for the everyday leader.
The People Person
One of the many leadership types is the People Person.
Is being a People Person a good thing, or bad? Depends!
When most individuals think of the term People Person, they think of someone that is able to get along with everyone. Someone that is very good with people of course.
If a supervisor or manager's main objective is to please their employees, they most likely will not be as successful as they could be.
So what does that look like?
If the manager only does things to please their employees, such as raises, time off, perks, high wages, flexible schedules, loose dress policy, no discipline, afraid to address issues, etc., the customer and owner will suffer.
If the customer suffers too much, they will choose another source for whatever it is they came to you for.
So again, you must have balance.
Don't get me wrong, it is nice to be considered a People Person. But don't go to extremes.
When you are directing someone, you can use positive words to get your point across. Such as, "When you get a few minutes ... ", or "I'm hoping that you can ... ". or "Let's try this approach ... ".
A People Person will also get to know more personal information about their employees, which in most cases is a good thing. Just don't cross the line, between knowing, and becoming personally involved.
I worked for a Division Vice President one time that had short notes on the staff she dealt with around the country. So when she called them she could start the conversation with, "How is your son, John doing", or any version of that. After their conversation she would update her notes for the next time she spoke with them.
The point is she was able to have a personal touch without crossing the line. I would call having someone that reports to you individually come to your home for a Super Bowl Party, crossing the line.
If you had everyone over, it is less of a problem. However, my experience has been when you involve alcohol at any event, it can turn problematic, for the manager/employee relationship.
Understand as a manager you will not be able to please everyone, which is generally what a People Person type wants to do. You can have compassion, and still be able to lead everyone to success in a positive way.
The easiest way to accomplish this is to have clear and established expectations for everyone. Don't leave them guessing as to what is expected. Or what will happen if they don't.
Overall, I would say that if you are the People Person type it is not a bad thing. Just use caution!
Thank you and May God Bless You!
Autocratic is one of the less desirable leadership types that I can think of.
Very close to an authoritarian, the autocratic leader is even more absolute in their authority.
They either are, or think they are, the final authority for the organization. They leave no doubt about it either.
I can't think of too many benefits to the organization that has someone with this type of leadership.
The worst thing is that while the employee is looking to leave, they will be unproductive, and some may even be vindictive along the way.
A lot a new leaders are under the belief that barking out orders, and demanding results, makes them a better leader.
Of course we know that simply is not the case.
My younger brother one time told me he had some of his employees cleaning on their hands and knees the corners of the floor with tooth brushes. He was so proud of himself because he had the power to do so. Keep in mind that their primary duties didn't include cleaning.
He wasn't the manager long at this particular facility before he was let go. No surprise!
My advice to you is that you never buy into the idea that your way, is the only way! Even, if you are the owner.
Avoid using statements like, "As long as I'm in charge ... ", or "My way, or the highway ... ", or "As long as I'm the owner and paying the bills. .. ", or "You'll do as I say ... ".
The best way to lead is to instill a desire in your staff to want to do their best. Instill a belief that it is a team effort and not one sole individual that gets you to the finish line.
It is a minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day, week to week, effort in relationship building.
Not by being an autocratic leader!
Thank you and May God Bless You!
Another one of the leadership types is the Compromiser.
The Compromiser is the type of manager that is always willing to agree even when it means they must sacrifice something in order to do so. They generally do this without much of a fight.
Finally, the Compromiser typically gives in to the highest authority or the path with the most resistance.
That sacrifice can come in many different ways.
It could mean that they sacrifice their principals!
The manager approaches his supervisor and informs him that his staff made their goal and would like to receive the benefit promised. The supervisor tells the manager that in order to receive the benefit now, the employees must achieve a higher goal. The supervisor finishes the conversation with the manager by saying, "After all if I give them this benefit I will not receive my bonus."
Without any further discussion the manager carries this news back to his staff. They of course are not happy at all.
This is just one type of compromise.
In the example situation above, the manager that really represents what a leader is would have stood his ground and challenged his supervisor. Especially when the supervisor was acting in a selfish way!
A leader must be able to challenge his superiors in a professional way. Not cower to down to them. Stand up for what is right. Their reputation depends on it!
The damage that would be done on a situation like the example above would last for years to come. Every time that manager made a statement or promise again, it would be disregarded.
This would be the case even if the manager had a good track record prior to this.
The other type of situation that often occurs in the workforce by the type of manager that compromises is like the below example.
The manager after speaking with his spouse decides to do nothing.
Two days later, the employee shows up late again by forty-five minutes. Again the manager does nothing after speaking with his spouse.
The following day a different employee shows up late by fourteen minutes and the manager immediately takes action.
Will the manager be well respected? Of course not!
You can change the above situation and replace it with almost anything. This happens all the time where the manager compromises their values or the company policy in order to achieve their goals.
This type of compromise can end up costing the company a lot.
Good leadership skills will eliminate this possibility.
Set clear expectations and you must follow through.
Say what you mean, and mean what you say!
Being "The Helper" is one of many different leadership types. Does this describe the type of leader that you are?
Have you ever been driving down the road at a high rate of speed and decided to get something out of the back seat?
Did you take your eyes off the road and maybe even let go of the steering wheel to turn around and reach back for whatever it was you needed?
If you did, I don't want to ride with you anywhere! However, many leaders think they can lead like this!
Let me explain.
The problem with the leader that is a Helper, they think that they are a really good manager, because people like them.
Well, why aren't they?
Haven't we always heard that we should lead by example? What's good for the goose is good for the gander! If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me!
We've heard all of these. Yes, it is good to lead by example! Yes, you can step in and help now and then.
Same thing as a leader! If you take your eyes off the big picture for too long and only focus on the things that are right in front of you, you will sooner or later fail yourself and/or your staff.
Your staff appreciates your immediate help on the tasks they are doing today. But are they going to appreciate you having to lay someone off tomorrow because your department isn't meeting their sales goals, due to your failure in focusing on the daily indicators.
These indicators could have alerted you to what changes were needed to increase sales.
Instead you were focused on helping them with their duties.
I am speaking more about continually being involved in the day to day activities that your staff should be doing on their own. Activities like inputting computer data or calling customers that is a routine duty of one of your staff members.
Think of the Captain of the ship. If he is down in the engine room most of the time helping out, where do you think the ship is going? I hope they have enough life boats to get everyone off safely.
Thank you and may God Bless you!
The Micro Manager
Another one of the leadership types that aren't fondly thought of is the Micro Manager.
The leader that has to be involved in all the intricate parts of the daily routine activities and decisions could be defined as a Micro Manager.
Now the Micro Manager is different than The Helper, in that the Micro Manager must know everything that is going on down to the smallest detail. In addition, they almost always have input that will be different than the person performing the task.
As an example, they may tell someone to develop a report that will produce XYZ data. The person they assign this task to could be the best person within the company to accomplish it, but they will never let them fully do it.
They will continually be offering almost daily input such as "We need to change the headings to XYZ, and the totals need to appear over here instead of there, etc.".
If you delegate an assignment make sure that you give clear expectations of what you want the outcome to be and any deadlines for each phase, if there are any. When you follow up on the dates agreed to, and they are not achieving the results you expected, that is when you offer your input to realign them with the targeted goal that you already clearly defined.
Unless it is absolutely necessary, don't keep changing the goal. You will confuse and frustrate your staff.
If you hire someone to paint the outside of your home you would normally agree to what color to paint it, the price, and any deadlines you need it done by.
No, you pay them to do the job, and then let them do it. Unless they paint it a different color or the wrong house, you let them do the job. You then inspect their work at the end to make sure it was done to the agreed upon expectations.
Why then would you treat your trained capable staff differently?
Being a Micro Manager will take your eyes off the bigger picture. If your eyes are off it too long, you will forget what the overall picture looks like.
The Non Confrontational Leader
The Non Confrontational Leader is another one of the leadership types that I would not want to have leading my organization.
The manager that is always wanting to please everyone is someone that can not handle confrontation. They ultimately will not please anyone!
Not that we want confrontation, but we certainly do not want to cave into every matter that arises in the workplace. This same type of leader will not defend any difficult decision or position of upper management with their staff. Nor will they defend their staff with upper management even if it is the right position for them to take.
That's Hog Wash!
The other position this type of leader will take is during a conversation with one of their staff they will speak as though they agree with them on a situation. Then turn around and take whatever position their supervisor has on the same situation. Then when delivering the position to their staff member explain that although they didn't agree with their supervisor they must carry out the position of upper management.
This will always cause future problems for any future decisions that are made. It will begin to build a wall between management and the workforce.
These problems will come in the form of reduced productivity, increased sick days, insubordination, gossip, etc.
A leader must have integrity. Integrity comes from consistently doing the right thing.
They destroy relationships in so many ways. The discredit authority and no effective organization can last in an environment where this occurs.
If you have a leader in your organization like this, pull them aside and give them some tips on how to respond differently to their staff. One technique could be to respond like, “Although I can appreciate your position, I must let you know that I feel the company is going in the right direction.”
Or if they disagree with their supervisor, they may respond like this, “I think that both the organization and the staff can benefit if we move in this direction, and let me tell how...”.
However, in most cases this is a behavior that is almost impossible to change.
Square Peg/Round Hole
There are many different types of leadership but, I have found that not trying to place a square peg into a round hole works best.
Sounds so basic doesn't it?
I can hear you saying now, "No Kidding"
Before you stop reading hear me out!
As you know I have been in a senior leadership role for many years and things that I take for granted may not be the standard out there anymore.
I began thinking about the round hole square peg theory again when I noticed the local high school football team practicing one day.
As I stood and watched longer and longer I became more puzzled that they hardly ever brought anyone else into to practice.
At the end of the practice session all players did some sprints and into the locker room they went.
I started asking some questions as to why the second and third string players only watched. The coaches all sang the same song in that they wanted to put the best players on the field to increase their chances of victory.
I spoke with some of the parents and players and found out that they were using the same techniques since they became coaches there. With yet some more questions I found out that the head coach was brought in because of his winning record at his last school. He even took the team to the state finals in his final year there.
I found out that he was using the same plays and schemes he had been so successful there with.
So why wasn't it working here?
I boiled it down to a very simple principle. Square Peg - Round Hole!
In business I have worked with all types of employees. Some very talented that can fit anywhere and others I have found only have a limited amount of skills.
In the coach's case, just because the plays that he developed for the players at the last school were successful it was obvious that they were not going to be at the new one.
Tap into the talent that you have and find out what works and what doesn't. He should be developing his plays around his talent, not the opposite.
Secondly he had more than double the amount of boys standing on the sidelines doing absolutely nothing, while he had what he considered the best athletes on the field.
What happens when someone gets hurt?
In business we don't have the luxury of failing for several years. Nor can we afford to let that much manpower sit idle on the sidelines while we try to fit a square peg into a round hole.
The coach was doing what many new leaders/managers do and that is trying to apply what worked for one individual and force it on another.
I have four kids and each one is different. What motivates one does not necessarily motivate the others, and each has different talents that help them stand out from each other.
Employees are different! Athletes are different! People are different!
Find out what makes them different and then use that to help make everyone successful! Even if it is a small role, it will all blend together in the end to everyone's benefit.
Don't force a square peg into a round hole!