5 tips to adapt your leadership style - Are you up for the challenge?
Leadership is a complex and multifaceted skill that requires constant evolution and adaptation. As the business landscape continues to evolve, leaders must keep up with the pace and adapt their leadership style to meet the needs of their team, organisation, and industry.
In this blog post, we will explore the importance of adapting your leadership style and the strategies you can use to do so effectively.
Why is it important to adapt your leadership style?
As a leader, you have responsibilities to guide and inspire your people to achieve their goals. However, every team is unique, and each individual on your team, or in your organisation, has different needs, strengths, and weaknesses. Therefore, a one-size-fits-all leadership approach is unlikely to be effective.
Adapting your leadership style allows you to tailor your approach to the specific needs of your team and individual team members. This can help you build stronger relationships, foster better communication, and ultimately achieve better results.
Furthermore, as the business landscape continues to evolve, the demands placed on leaders are constantly changing. Adapting your leadership style to meet these changing demands can help you stay relevant and effective in your role as leader.
It's all about polarities
I like to view leadership style as a continual choice between opposites:
Authoritative – collaborative
Micro manging – milestone reporting
Directive – coaching
High pace – laissez faire
These are just a few of the many polarities that show up for leaders. If you can identify the polarities available to you, then you are able to identify how you operate more naturally and what is a stretch for you. Adapting is then all about learning to stretch yourself into alternative polarities based on the needs of the situation and the needs of your people and teams.
One polarity to consider is that described in The Circle Way, which recognises there is potentially a “leader in every chair,”. You have the option of purely authoritative / hierarchical (depicted as a triangle) and purely collaborative (depicted as a circle) plus every possible combination of the two. A hierarchical approach can be faster and create more clarity, whereas a collaborative approach can be more creative and validating for your people. As The Circle Way describes, everyone’s voice contributes to the overall success, and it is important to recognise the benefits of top-down vs collaborative in different situations.
How can you adapt your leadership style?
Adapting your leadership style is not always easy, and it requires a willingness to learn, grow, and change. However, with the right strategies, you can become a more adaptable and effective leader.
1. Understand your team's needs
The first step in adapting your leadership style is to understand the needs of your team. This includes their strengths, weaknesses, communication styles, and preferred ways of working.
One effective way to gain this understanding is to solicit feedback from your team through regular check-ins and surveys. This can help you identify areas where your leadership approach may need to be adjusted.
2. Be flexible
Flexibility is a key trait of adaptable leaders. This means being willing to change your approach when necessary and being open to new ideas and perspectives.
One effective way to develop flexibility is to practice active listening. This means listening to your team members without judgment and seeking to understand their perspective before responding. By doing so, you can gain new insights and ideas that can help you adapt your leadership style.
3. Build strong relationships
Building strong relationships with your people is essential for effective leadership. When your team members feel heard, respected, and valued, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated.
One effective way to build strong relationships is to create opportunities for team bonding and collaboration. Whether it's increasing the chances of ad-hoc conversations next to the metaphorical water-cooler, or team-building exercises, social events, and cross-functional projects.
4. Embrace new technologies
In today's digital age, new technologies are constantly emerging that can help leaders become more effective. By embracing these new technologies, you can stay up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices.
For example, are you exploring the latest AI chatbots, video sharing apps (such as Loom or PreviewMe), goal tracking software, etc. I believe it's a balance between not getting sucked into every new trend while also recognising that there can be unknown value in these innovative ideas.
5. Continuously learn and grow
Finally, adapting your leadership style requires a commitment to continuous learning and growth. This means seeking out opportunities for professional development, networking with other leaders, 360-feedback, leadership coaching, as well as books and articles on leadership.
In conclusion, adapting your leadership style is essential for effective leadership in today's rapidly changing business landscape. By understanding your team's needs, being flexible, building strong relationships, embracing new technologies, and continuously learning and growing, you can become a more adaptable and effective leader. Consider the insights above as you look to improve your company culture and leadership abilities. And remember, the most prominent leaders know when to seek the support they need. Consider hiring a professional coach to really make strides in your success as a leader in today’s ever-changing business environment.
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The Circle Way (2023). Retrieved from https://www.thecircleway.net/
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Murphy, M. (2019). Leadership Styles: How to Discover and Leverage Yours.
Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R., McKee, A. (2013). Primal Leadership: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence. Harvard Business Review Press