Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as good and bad leadership styles. Leadership styles also are not fixed. The best leaders are those who are adaptive and can flex their leadership style as needed. Adaptive leaders are constantly looking over the horizon and in sync with 3 key business guide posts: the business environment, the team and the business’ end game – its goals and outcomes.
Let’s consider each in turn:
Firstly, the environment within which the businesses operates is in constant flux. Leaders who are in sync with changes occurring within the environment and can respond rapidly and flex their style will be better leaders. Consider a regulatory change that will have a direct impact on the way your business engages with the market. To protect the organisation from penalties or similar repercussions, leaders who are typically ‘hands-off” may need to deep dive into the minutia for a period to ensure the necessary changes are made and a level of comfort for leadership accountability is reached. Considerable respect for you as a leader can be earned in situations where leaders demonstrate considerable passion for the business and are not afraid to get into the weeds occasionally.
Secondly, the team is the lifeblood of the business. Business is a team sport and so leadership cannot be a solo act. Being an effective leader means building a team, motivating it and giving it the direction and support it needs to work well together, be clear on the business goal and ensure all are well harmonised and moving in the same direction to achieve common business goal. Leaders who value the work of the team and are not afraid to communicate it will develop positive work culture. When teams feel valued, supported, and listened to, productivity and competitive edge will increase. Leaders who also recognise the knowledge or skill gaps of the team and do something about it will also increase morale, motivation and increase business efficiency.
Thirdly, business goals and outcomes give meaning and purpose to work. It is the main business game. Leadership styles can make or break the ability of business to achieve its goals and outcomes and ultimately, sustainability of the business in the longer term. We live in an increasingly complex and digitally-enabled world that is disrupting the way business is done. An adaptive leader who can flex and reinvent their approach to leading will turn business challenges into business opportunities.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams