Leadership Styles

Leadership Styles vary enormously, but there is one overriding quality that is vital in all top leaders…

“The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves”

Ray Kroc – founder of McDonalds

The way leaders lead varies hugely, some of their Leadership Styles are brilliant, some less so, some successful, some not!

From a practical point of view, here are the best traits of the best of those doing their thing out in the real world.

Top Ten Things About Leadership Styles

So then, the very best of the top leaders…

  1. Are Visionary
    Top leaders have a very clear understanding of where the organization is going and a clear strategy for getting there.
  2. Communicate Really Well
    Great leaders ensure that their message gets across to all in the organization – clearly.
  3. Are ‘People’ people
    Having a love for people helps these top performing leaders build relationships and develop wonderful team spirit.
  4. Let Go of the ‘Doing’
    Great leaders do just that – lead. They let their people get on with the doing – and encourage them.
  5. Understand Their Business
    Not only are they visionary and strategically sound, but the ‘top dog’ leaders truly understand their business, inside and out, good and bad, and firmly move it on – they make the difference.
  6. Are Models
    They lead from the front and have the values of the organization and their people. They ‘do what it says on the tin”.
  7. Build Rapport Quickly
    Excellent leaders have a way of building rapport instantly, through what they say, how they look and especially how well they listen and value the other person.
  8. Have Charisma
    …and as well as an ability to create rapport, and they communicate well, there is something else – they have a personal style which ooozes that extra something – they have great charisma!
  9. Are Very Determined
    Whilst having all those fabulous people skills, truly great leaders go that extra mile – they are determined to follow-through to achieve their goals and vision. They are totally ruthless – and in a people-friendly way.
  10. Are Passionate
    Great leaders bring an immense energy to the task in hand – whether it be a car boot sale or a battle at war. This one element distinguishes them most.

Ten Ways to Have a Better Leadership Style

  1. Lead Don’t Manage
    Learn to distinguish between ‘hands on’ and ‘hands off’. When you start small, it’s true, everything is down to you. And it’s great – there comes a moment when it becomes too big and you step up to Lead!
  2. Step Back
    And in stepping up to lead, you step back from the coal-face and do the business where you can leverage the value-making abilities of others – and not just yourself. Leading, in itself, becomes a profit-center for your business.
  3. Create Your Team
    If you can delegate enough, in safety, to your key people you will make a lot of space to lead, so building a great team becomes far more valuable. Checkout Building Your Best Team for more.
  4. Define Your Vision and Strategy
    This is where you really earn your crust. Whatever size of organization you are in, you need to clearly visualize where you are going and how to get there – without this – how can you work out the step-by-step route? And involve others, if you possibly can. There’s more at Visioning
  5. Deliver the Results
    So a great leader leads. So what? That, sadly, isn’t what you are paid for. Bottom line is profit or other value-based outcome measures (you do have those don’t you?). Keep your eye on the real reason you are there.
  6. Listen a Lot
    Leaders are really good at listening – and not just to what’s being said – brilliant leaders listen with all their senses – even their sixth sense, or so it sometimes seems. So developing your sense of intuition as well as all the real sensory evidence is vital. Look up Communication for tip on Listen Well (hint – it’s a whole body experience!)
  7. Challenge
    If you have the Vision and the Strategy, then a great leader doesn’t baulk at challenge – if change is needed, be precise, be honest and make changes happen – preferably once rather than piecemeal.
  8. Provide Resources
    To deliver outstanding results, your people need to have all the resources they need – so not only don’t be mean, be realistic and give them what they truly need to deliver for you.
  9. Keep Your Eye on Core Strengths
    With a few successes under your belt, it’s easy to be expansive. Watch out! By sticking to what you do really well, there is more success for you – truly. So looks for ways rather than follow the flocks (thanks Brian!) of sheep and expand into different areas.
  10. Be a Model
    As ultimate boss, you have an obligation to behave like anyone else – to do otherwise builds resentment and ruins morale. Be honorable, keep promises, get home for dinner even – then everyone else will follow what you do – it is the ‘acceptable’ face of being the big boss.

5 Simple Actions You Can Take Today!

  • Be prepared not to do ‘doing’ things. Try it for a day – then a week.
  • Take an hour out to create a ‘vision’ of where you want your area of responsibility to be in a year’s time – what will it look like, sound like, smell like even – use all of your senses – and ask others to do so too.
  • Listen and truly hear to what’s being said and treat those telling you with courtesy and validation. Make them feel listened too – follow up what you hear without fail.
  • Only make promises you can keep.
  • Keep aware of external issues that can affect you and your business/organization
  • And a sixth! – be a model today – encourage a balanced life for all of your people. Get home for dinner with your family; take your vacations; go early on a Friday for a special occasion. Encourage your people to do the same.

Read some great books – like:-

“Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance” – Lou Gerstner
“Leadership and the One Minute Manager” – Ken Blanchard
“The Extraordinary Leader” – Zenger and Folkman