Flexible Leadership Styles Produce Better Results

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Flexible Leadership Styles

Leadership styles heavily influence an organization’s culture. In fact, your leadership style can determine whether your team works together harmoniously or whether it carries tension into every project and interaction.

A team’s foundation can fracture when a leader’s style clashes with his or her subordinates, and can lead to deflated morale — or worse — declining results.

A leader’s style can either build camaraderie and collaboration, or roadblocks and resentment depending on the styles of the people around them. Knowing your leadership style and identifying others’ styles can help you become more flexible and adaptable when challenging situations arise.


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Leaders who naturally default to their dominant style are often more effective when they incorporate elements of the other styles in challenging situations. Like chameleons that fluidly shift their colors to match their environment, leaders who can adapt their leadership to match another person’s style get better results. One example of a leader who was known for style-shifting was Steve Jobs. He was a quintessential visionary leader at Apple; yet, he was also known to be an authoritarian, and often flexed his domineering style sometimes to the detriment of his people.

Below I’ve identified 6 leadership styles to help you self-identify your default style. Which description best matches your leadership style?

6 Leadership Styles that Influence Corporate Culture

The Hands-off Style

This type of leader gives you space to do your own thing. They trust you to make the call and to take responsibility for your actions. The weakness of this leadership style is that subordinates can feel they have no direction. They don’t know what’s expected of them and how to deliver the best results.

The Dominating Style

This style is authoritarian and uses fear and intimidation to get results. Narcissism and egotism lead the way, at the expense of connection and trust in the team. Unfortunately, this style of leadership still exists. The culture is oppressive and screaming matches are not uncommon. While teams are driven to achieve results, the weakness is low morale, lack of trust, and little loyalty.

The Micro-manager Style

This style restricts autonomy and taking the initiative. This leader oversees all the minutiae and wants to know details about EVERYTHING. They leave no room for others to make decisions and often create atmospheres where employees question their contributions and feel disrespected. While attention to detail is important, it can suck the initiative and energy out of a project.

The Collaborative Style

This style opens the floor to others’ ideas and encourages contributions. These leaders set their egos aside to elevate the brand, the department, and/or the organization. They know they don’t have to have all the answers and that collaboration delivers the best results. The potential weakness in this leadership style is there are plenty of ideas but little action and execution because no one takes the helm.

The Builder Style

This style focuses on developing people. This leader sees potential in every person they work with. They cultivate strengths and believe in their team members, even when individual players don’t believe in themselves. They help unleash the leaders within their team and foster a culture of growth and learning.

The Visionary Style

This style sees beyond today and looks to what’s next. These leaders envision where the organization can be 10 years from now, and see the steps needed to get there. These leaders see the big picture. They encourage change, embrace innovation, and believe in risk-taking.

Becoming aware of your default style, and knowing when to sprinkle in elements of other styles when it’s needed makes you a more balanced, effective leader. This self-knowledge could get the attention of your superiors to get you acknowledged and/or considered for a promotion.

Share your leadership style in the comments, and let’s start a discussion about how we can best accommodate styles that could potentially cause conflict with our own.

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