By Joanna Howes, Leadership and Performance Coach and Founder and CEO of The Change Creators.
Discovering your leadership style is vital to being a great leader. If you are not certain on who you are and centered with your own values and beliefs, then you won’t be able to lead effectively.
Leadership is more than just telling people what to do, you need to inspire, encourage, be approachable and also adapt to each team member.
Being a leader
I have put the emphasis on the word being as too many leaders focus on what they need to DO when actually it’s far more about recognising the qualities and values that you want to lead your team with. It’s about who you want to BE as a leader.
How you are being is bringing your character and true self to your leadership.
Too often I find leaders focused on who they think they ‘should be’. The word ‘should’ puts so much pressure on leaders and they can get lost in what leadership means and what legacy they want to leave. If leaders focus on the ‘should’ rather than what’s actually happening, imposter syndrome can creep in and they will start doubting all their decisions and behaviors, which results in a mismanaged team.
By being your true, authentic self you can inspire others to be fully present and create a transparent and open space where team members feel comfortable to be themselves and share ideas.
Your leadership style has a huge impact on your team and it is your responsibility to really understand who you are and step into your identity as a leader.
You need to understand how you think, make decisions, receive feedback and so much more.
It’s one thing finding your natural leadership style but it’s another to then learn how to develop behavioural flexibility and connect deeply with different personality styles.
Leaders need to be very outward facing and take visual clues from their team members to understand the general mood and then react in an understanding and authentic way. Leaders who are proactive rather than reactive or who wait to hear of any issues, will show that they are on the ball and actively taking an interest in their team.
To discover your leadership style the most effective way is to do a profile. There are many of these on the market and the one that is my favourite and I deliver for my clients is called EDISC. The reason I recommend this one is it’s about behavior and not just personality.
It focuses on your natural style but doesn’t put you in a box with no recommendations on how to adapt and grow as a person. It helps you to see your opportunities for growth and offers insight into how you can keep developing your leadership. It also show’s any patterns that may be holding you back.
Great leadership is not only knowing your style, it’s being able to be flexible, adaptable and the ability to enter the world of others.
To be able to resourcefully adapt your style so you can be heard by someone who has a different style to you is vital for success.
Leaders need to lead the individual not just the team as a whole.
The responsibility in leadership is to know your people and to be able to adapt your style to enable them to grow. Leadership is not about you, it’s about others.
Discovering your natural style and then learning how to access what doesn’t come as naturally to you is the art of great leadership. With this skill you will leave a legacy of being able to grow future leaders.
When I discovered who really was, I had a sense of peace, acceptance and a foundation to build on to really help my team.
I follow a lot of Brene Brown’s work and she calls it ‘wholeheartedness leadership’ and I believe that is the goal we all want to aim for. If we can put the whole of ourselves into our leadership, we will not only be successful but also achieve fulfilment.
The most effective leadership style is to have the courage to be you and bring all of you to your leadership.
About the author
Joanna Howes is an award-winning international Leadership and Performance Coach. Combining 20 years of operational experience with her behavioural expertise and leadership coaching, Joanna has worked with leading companies like Getty Images and the BBC to increase performance and results. Joanna is also co-author of international selling book ‘The Law of Brand Attraction’ and has been featured in ABC, FOX and The London Daily Post.
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