To become a better leader and empower your team, you first need to consider your own leadership skills. Being in a senior position demands excellent communication skills, the ability to think outside the box but also delegate tasks and take a top-level overview of your team’s performance.
Like anything in life, practice makes perfect. The more time you spend improving and developing your own leadership skills will only ever positively impact your team. The question is, what type of leader are you? In this article, we’re going to discuss three key leadership styles, transformational, servant, and authentic leadership. You’ll also have the opportunity to put your personality, habits, and leadership skills to the test in our online Habit Finder Assessment here.
But first, let’s discuss how leaders used to manage and encourage their employees, and how a dramatic change in management style is paving the way forward in the world of HR.
In the past, to become a better leader, people might have suggested punishing individuals and spreading fear throughout the workplace, in order to enforce your position and dominance. Thankfully, there is a clear shift away from traditional authoritarian management and towards a more supportive approach. In fact, research has found that if you want to boost team values and commitment, you need to lead by example, become a good shepherd, and leave your iron fist at home! (1)
To become a better leader today, you should be aiming to boost morale among employees and strengthen team bonds, to work collaboratively towards a shared goal. No matter which industry you work in, becoming a leader or being given managerial responsibilities can feel daunting at first. But as Steve Jobs, Apple co-founder once said, rinnovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower, so it’s time to say goodbye to the old-fashioned iron-fist style of managers, and welcome a more effective approach that empowers and supports people.
With that being said, Steve Job’s leadership style was autocratic, since he chose to surround himself with like-minded people, had a meticulous eye for detail, and relied heavily on his creative awareness. (2) He certainly made a number of mistakes whilst being a leader himself! In Water Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, claims that the brainchild of Apple was, in fact, toxic and used bullying tactics along with a lack of empathy towards his team. (3) Did it generate results? Well, what we do know is that Steve Jobs was widely hated at Apple during the 80s and was strongly resented among employees. No level of success should come at the cost of the happiness and mental wellbeing of your team. (4)
So, how can we all avoid turning into Steve Jobs when given the responsibility of becoming a leader for the first time?
If you’ve ever wondered how your team sees you as their manager, you should be aware of the different types of leadership styles, and how they can impact your performance. Effective leaders typically share key personality traits, such as sociability, ambition, curiosity, and emotional intelligence, but today we’re going to talk about three different leadership styles. (5) Whilst each and every leader will be unique, let’s explore how each approach to a managerial position can help or hinder your success.
Encouraging, motivating, and approachable, if these leadership skills sound familiar, you might be a transformational leader. This style of management aims to nurture each member of the team whilst setting a shining example for others to follow. However, this shouldn’t be mistaken for micromanaging which can spread frustration and self-doubt among employees.
Transformational leadership gives their team room and time to be creative, think outside the box, and develop their skills. By investing time into your team through mentoring, supporting, and respecting everyone, you can quickly earn the respect of others and thrive together. However, you’ll need to make sure that the time you’re granted your team is being used wisely and not for recreational purposes, i.e. slacking off!
Unlike transformational leadership, servant leadership is based on perceiving yourself as a servant to your team. You believe your job as a leader, is to support, serve and help your team in any way you can so that they can succeed and reach their goals.
Unlike Steve Jobs, your approach doesn’t involve becoming dominant or using bullying strategies to encourage your team to achieve. Instead, servant leadership focuses on growth and self-development.
A servant leader might check-in with their team to make sure that everyone is happy and working well together. They might also schedule time each week to listen to any concerns and possibly chose to share power with other members of the team. It is a balance to lead and empower others at the same time. Make sure to understand what your people need from you as a leader.
Last but not least, we come to authentic leadership. This style involves being clear and straightforward in your goals and expectations of your team. An authentic leadership style also means accepting each member’s strengths and weaknesses. Authentic leadership helps build trust as there is no insincere behavior used in the office, concealing your true personality from your team. It’s about being transparent and honest, whilst focusing on results. Goal-oriented, authentic leadership doesn’t involve the pursuit of power, money, or ego, but only your team’s success. (6)
Are you transformational, authentic, or a servant to your team? To really get to grips with your approach to managing a team or large group of people, you first need to assess your own performance and uncover habits and internal fears that could be holding you back.
We are often unaware of how our actions and body language can significantly impact others around us. But by taking the time to self-reflect and consider your own behavior, habits, and ideas, you can become more conscious of your own unique leadership style. Your journey to become a better leader starts today!
Discover which leadership skills you have and your style of management by taking our interactive online Habit Finder Assessment here.