Have you ever been in a room with a natural leader who just “has it?” Sometimes, people have natural and recognizable gravitas, something dynamic and intangible that makes them easy to follow—but for the rest of us, we have to work at it!
A great leadership style can make you look confident and competent, and it can help you lead your team to success. Of course, finding the leadership style that works for you is sometimes harder than it sounds, and developing it takes work. If you’re on a mission for a little more intuitive leadership, here are a few tips to help get you there.
1. Observe, But Don’t Blindly Imitate
When you move into a management position for the first time, you may feel tempted to simply imitate your previous supervisors. Many of us have our own assumptions about what the archetypal leader should sound and act like. However, it’s important to realize that imitation is good only within reason: you’ll want to pick and choose the strategies and actions you want to adopt rather than blindly mimicking the last leadership style. It is especially true if your previous managers turned out less than high-functioning teams.
2. Read Up on Leadership Strategies
When you work within a single organization, company leaders tend to learn from each other—which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, having similar management styles among all leaders can sometimes make it harder to see the strategies that aren’t working, simply because they’re so ingrained into the workplace. That’s why, as a new manager, it’s important to consume as much as you can on leadership strategies. Check out your favorite blogs for inspiration, or get your hands on some great books on leadership.
3. Understand Your Team
The reason there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution to finding the perfect managerial style is that no two teams are alike. Where one team may work better under a leader with a no-nonsense attitude who adheres to the agenda, another might find it easier to work with a leader with a little levity and a flexible approach. Take some time to get to know your team, both as individuals and as a group, as you adjust your leadership style.
4. Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
As you get to know your team, it’s important to also do an inventory of your own strengths. Are you a confident speaker? Do you consider yourself warm and approachable? Are you a natural cheerleader? These kinds of advantages are great resources to weave into your leadership style.
On the other hand, don’t forget to take your weaknesses into account as well. Do you struggle to speak in front of a crowd? Do you struggle to delegate or find it hard to forgive others for work-related mistakes? Whatever your weaknesses are, it’s important to be aware of them—and to work on improving them as you move forward.
5. Keep Evolving
You’re going to endure plenty of mistakes and growth during your time as a leader, so use these to keep evolving your style. Set aside time every now and then to consider your strategies, including what you could have done differently, and reflect on the type of leader you want to be.
Whether you’re a new or veteran leader, developing your own leadership style is critical to your success. Of course, it isn’t always easy, and your style will (and should) continue evolving throughout your career. But the rewards, including a high-functioning team and a clear path to success, are well worth the effort. If you’re struggling with leadership or other personal development goals, check out our podcast for a little extra insight!