As a young leader I’ve been observing how others treat their peers and subordinates. In fact, before I was a leader I was already identifying how I would and would not lead, when I had people to follow me. Influenced by both those I looked up to and established authors, I started to write down what type of leadership style I would embody.
First off, borrowed from John Maxwell’s The 360 Degree Leader book, I firmly believe that a leader is a servant. If you’re at the top, your job is to help those below you do a better job, or as John Maxwell puts it “add value”. If you’re at the bottom, your job is to help those above you do their jobs better. If you’re in the middle, well, you’re helping above, below, and just as importantly across. Let’s also not forget that he advocates you leading yourself before any other leading takes place.
Studying some other great books and interviewing those I deemed as “good leaders”, I’ve been define and refining my own style. Below are the latest elements that I continuously refer to that define my leadership style.
- Be firm in your decisions/actions but not overbearing.
- Seek a genuine deeper human connection.
- Be a servant of the individual or group.
- Be candid and always open to feedback/direction.
- Be confident with the group’s vision and path.
- Give all credit to the team or individual contributors. Or never take credit without acknowledging the help of others.
- Provide gratitude always when deserved.
- Encourage innovation and creativity by not judging an idea as “right” or “wrong” in the moment.
- Encourage success but allow team members fail, thereby learning from their mistakes.
- Lead by asking questions that allow the group to arrive at a the same destination together.
- Reward genuinely to positive responses and based on achievement of an even scale.
- Always be encouraging, motivation, and goal focused.
Some more great leadership books:
The Leadership Challenge by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
Also, another great resource if you’re looking to learn from the latest leadership concepts is G5Leadership.com. They offer ever expanding on-demand recordings of authors and popular thought leaders on leadership topics.