There’s no shortage of leadership styles – autocratic, democratic, delegative and many others, all with nuances in how an individual leads and manages their team members. And even though you may end up with a boss whose leadership style you don’t agree with you figure out ways to make it work because you have to. Real challenges actually come up when you’re part of a leadership team with leaders who work differently than you do. That’s where ego’s and personalities undergo the greatest clashes.

It can be ridiculously frustrating to work with someone who technically has the same amount of authority as you do but has a totally different way of getting things done. But we all know that the time spent in unhealthy conflict is damaging to all parties involved. So lets talk about how to make the most of this tough situation whenever it comes up.

Accept That Whoever Is the Project Lead Holds the Trump Card

Leadership teams/committees in any organization should and usually have one person responsible for the overall goals of the group. Every person in the team needs to acknowledge that though they have significant contributions to make, in the end, they must also do things the way the team lead wants things to be done. If there are extremely contrasting leadership styles within the team, it might be prudent to rotate responsibilities on a periodic basis. This way, not only will everyone have a chance at doing things “their way,” they just might develop respect for doing things a different way.

Observe How This Person’s Team Interacts with Them

Contrasting leadership styles are most interesting to manage when it’s a partner in an organization who manages things differently than you do. It takes a great deal of effort not to jump into meetings and “suggest” how things could be done. But, if you take a moment and look at the bigger picture, there’s a very good chance you’ll realize that your partner’s team actually responds very well to the way they lead. This could be because of the relationship they’ve established over a period of time or because they don’t come with preconceived notions that “they’re right.” Either way, more often than not, teams are more open leadership styles as compared to a leader’s colleagues.

Accept/Justify Their “Weaknesses” In Your Head and Acknowledge Their “Strengths”

Okay, first of all, let’s accept that another person’s weakness is very likely magnified in your head. It’s probably not as big as you think it is. However, when there are contrasting leadership styles, you have to mentally overcome “weaknesses” that you think others have. This could be anything – from how they write emails to how they solve problems. Whatever it is, you need to sort out in your head that how they do this is okay and works. One good way to do this is to acknowledge their strengths and approach them with a “glass half full” attitude.

Of course, this doesn’t apply to situations where real damage is being done to the work environment, the ability to deliver on time and within resources or any other situation where it’s not just a matter of different leadership styles. But, if it’s on a day to day basis – give other people’s techniques a shot. The results just may surprise you.

Photo Credit: epubliscist via Flickr

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