There Is No One Right Way To Lead
Leaders come in all shapes and sizes. Understanding your leadership style is a crucial step in empowering your agency to succeed. There are leadership styles that fit much better in some circumstances than others.
Sometimes, an organization needs a strong leader that is comfortable making decisions and assigning others to carry them out. Sometimes, an organization needs a collaborative, team-building communicator to get the most out of the staff. Other times, the agency needs someone who puts others first and serves rather than commands.
It is important for the leader to determine which style will get the most out of the agency he or she is leading. A good match means smooth sailing, while a poor one can be a disaster.
I once witnessed a complete reversal of style first hand when a hands-on, high controlling (very effective) leader passed away while in office. His successor was a collaborative and empowering delegator – a new leadership style for the team to follow.
For a while, there was turmoil. People no longer understood their roles. They meekly pulled back until they could figure out how to proceed. Very little got done and the most important decisions were punted into the future. Offering opinions and solutions was a new idea to the leadership team. Instead they were used to preparing information and presenting it to the previous CEO. Ultimately, he was the real decision-maker.
The organization eventually got its act together, but not until the leadership team felt comfortable “sticking their neck out” and making important decisions. Trust paid a big part in this transition. Until the leaders trusted the new CEO, they were reluctant to do anything.
Eventually, they came to realize their new CEO would back them and not “hang them out to dry” if a decision backfired. They became braver and more willing to assert themselves. The end result was a stronger team that worked much better together and helped grow the business.
The key was everyone realizing that the new leadership style could be just as effective and successful as the old one. Everyone just needed to get on the same page.
Do you have a leader/follower disconnect in your agency? Maybe you, or the team, needs to acknowledge it and find a new way to work together.
In addition to assessments like StrenghsFinders, DISC, and Myers-Briggs, here is one tool you can use to assess your own leadership style so you can take the necessary steps to lead well.