Know Your Leadership Style

Whatever your leadership style, you must be able to develop people who have a sense of ownership in the outcomes that define success.

Knowing your leadership style has never been more important than it is today. With turnover on the rise and remote and hybrid work changing the dynamics of the workplace, leaders need to be laser-focused on engaging and retaining their employees and helping them feel connected to the broader mission and purpose. Once you understand your leadership style and its implications for how you manage and coach, you can take a much more strategic — and more effective — approach to creating the high-performing teams that will give your organization a distinct business advantage.

What’s your leadership style? Let’s take a closer look.

Know Your Leadership Style – Are You People-Focused or Goal-Focused?

In a general sense, leadership is a balance of two key traits — being goal-focused and being people-focused. When we work with leaders, whether they’re senior level leaders or frontline managers, we find that they tend to fall into one of four quadrants:

Some managers are overly focused on people and don’t want to hurt team members’ feelings by challenging them. While their intentions are good, the result is that their employees can end up stagnating in their careers and missing out on achieving what’s truly possible for them. They may become frustrated that they aren’t growing and demotivated because they believe their manager doesn’t see more potential in them.

Other leaders are goal directed to the detriment of being sensitive to people’s feelings. At its extreme, this can be demoralizing and cause employees to disengage. It can also keep people from growing, especially if the manager’s behavior makes them believe they aren’t capable of higher performance.

Successful leaders have a blend of both traits and know how to be flexible to the needs of their team. It’s worth noting, though, that few leaders have a perfect balance between being people-focused and goal-focused. Most of us have natural traits in one and must work on the other. But by understanding your leadership style results, you can become more effective working with those you coach and with others in the organization as well.   Whatever your leadership style, you must be able to develop people who have a sense of ownership in the outcomes that define success. One of the primary advantages of knowing your style is that it will enable you to connect with people in a more meaningful way and communicate with greater clarity and impact.

Leadership Style Characteristics

Some characteristics of each leadership style are listed below. As you review them, think about which ones you believe are most descriptive of you and your style.

Keep in mind, few people are a single quadrant style — most have traits that fall into two quadrants, sometimes three. However, one quadrant will usually be dominant.

Leadership Gap Analysis

It’s important to recognize that you have to put in the work if you want to get the results. Moving into Quadrant 2 is a growth process that involves intention and effort on your part.

To develop your own personal action plan, first, do a quick gap analysis: Assess your current leadership style, compare that with your desired style and then set goals to close the gap between the two.

Next, spend some time thinking about what you can do to build more self-awareness and enhance your personal leadership effectiveness. Here’s a quick guide to get you started:

  • How would you describe your current leadership style?
  • What do you consider to be your greatest strength?
  • What qualities of leadership would you like to further develop?
  • What specific actions will you take to strengthen these areas?

One of your most important jobs as a leader is to make sure your employees are engaged, growing and feel personally connected to the mission. That means helping them recognize what’s possible for them to achieve and then coaching them to unleash their full potential. But you can’t be effective at helping them grow if ignore your own personal development.

Now that you have an idea of what your leadership style is, it’s time to do the work and elevate your leadership game. Because once you do, everyone will benefit.