Leadership Style – Part I

What’s your leadership style?  Well, that’s a big question.  And the answer doesn’t always come readily to hand because leadership style varies from person to person and from situation to situation.

As the boss, you might say, “I am what I am and people will just have to figure it out and work with it”

In fact, in many cases that is just what happens.  New leaders are introduced and those who are required to follow them spend a lot of unproductive time trying to figure out the new leaders’ modus operandi and then spend more unproductive time trying to adjust their own behaviour to suit.

So here’s the message.  It is not the primary job of followers to figure out how to respond to the leader.  It is the job of the leader to set the tone and direction;  determine the needs of the followers and; respond to them in such a way that they get what they need to do their best work.

I recognize that that is a rather simplistic statement.  After all, personality and preferences of all parties involved tend to cast a haze over the leader/follower relationship. But, being able to recognize what kind of leadership is required in a variety of situations and to supply it in a timely way is a skill worth acquiring.

So to kick things off, I’m going to start with the fundamentals and point you to the work of  Ken Blanchard and Paul Hersey who developed a Situational Leadership model, maybe a hundred years ago…okay not quite that long ago.

This model is easy to follow and I think has been widely used because of its simple and practical approach to guiding people and responding to them according to their stage of knowledge and skill development.


Something to Read: Leadership and One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard.

Something to watchA clip from the old movie 12 0’clock High which provides a classic example of the Telling or Directing stage of the Situational Leadership model.

Something to think about:  How does the Situational Leadership model apply to you and those who follow you?  Where might you make some adjustments in your approach?



Filed under Leadership Style

4 responses to “Leadership Style – Part I

  1. The trap I have fallen into is confusing commitment with competence. A really energized and committed person can at first make it seem like they know what they are doing. Some people can talk the talk and not be ready to walk the walk (in many cases they can’t see their own gap). It is our job as a leader to make sure we use the right style to empower them based on their actual skill (vs. what they portray on the surface) while using their commitment to fuel their success.

  2. prissyperfection

    So true. It is a big job too because we first have to be self-aware enough to know what our default style is and then focus outside ourselves in service of the needs of others. I think it calls for us to continually exercise our empathy antennae, listen, watch and learn. Phew!

    Thanks for helping me think about this more. I’m learning lots from you!

  3. Great article! I am going through a similar situation at work and believe me it is painful! Best of luck and I will link to your site.

  4. prissyperfection

    Thanks for dropping by Gregg and for linking to my site. I will do the same for yours. It is important I think when we think about things like leadership that we ground the theory in practicality and I think your website helps to do that.


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