Leadership Styles are a tricky conversation primarily because no one wants to be pigeonholed being “that” type of Leader (when no one cares for having “that” type of Leader in their organization).
But it gets worse, as you start to work with other leaders (maybe you have a group of Team Leads you are mentoring) they want to understand what style you teach and employ because this is more important than the results you create.
To be a Great Leader, you don’t need to have a Leadership style.
If you want to be better then having a particular style, I would urge you instead to focus on having a Non-Leadership style which essentially says – who you aren’t.
Having a Non-Leadership Style is what keeps you open to changes in the industry and lets you build your toolbox with a variety of tools, adding new ones, replacing old ones. It prevents the conversation from with team members from going down a path of – “oh okay, so today we’re doing this?”
When you have a Non-Leadership Style you KNOW who you DON’T want to be, what you DON’T want to do and what you DON’T want to teach others.
You won’t find Non-Leadership Styles in a powerpoint deck because there are too many and only you can be the judge for what works for you and what doesn’t from your experience at trying them.
Non-Leadership Styles are typically unstructured and not driven by processes or perfect diagrams. Instead they are composed of guiding concepts and goals that hold the leader to their path and direction but let them choose the route to get there.
Non-Leadership Styles are not for everyone – there is no handbook (except the one written by the leader) that says – “when this, do that, then do this, followed by that” which can frustrate those that are looking for a step-by-step manual to leadership. They are free-flowing, evolving and natural in their development, growth, and escalation as they are implemented, tweaked and twisted. They are the leadership styles that we come to admire for these exact qualities of flexibility and growth.
The next time you get asked what’s your Leadership Style, flip the conversation and start by saying what your Leadership style isn’t. In that instant, the conversation will change as people here what you will not do and when you start doing what you set out to do they will not be fearful for what comes but instead be relaxed in knowing what it will not be.