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January 24, 2013

21st Century Communicator: Principle #2 – There is no ONE leadership style

Business leaders frequently ask me, “What one leadership style is most effective?”

If only life were that simple.

The reality is there’s not one style that’s best, or most effective, or that produces successful results time after time. If there were it would be business school 101 and every leader, including you, would already reflect that style.

Your goal should be this: Know yourself and be more of yourself.

The days of the cookie cutter, charismatic CEOs like Ray Kroc, Walt Disney and Jack Welch are gone. Perhaps the last of the bunch was Apple’s Steve Jobs.

So today, there’s a greater need for and appreciation of how style impacts the way you lead and communicate within your organization. Think about this classic example:

  • Extroverts do a lot of talking. The quantity of the communication is high, though with so much talking the quality of the communication may be low.
  • Introverts communicate a lot less than they think. The quality of the communication may be higher, but are you being heard?

There are successful leaders with both styles, yet those styles certainly impact how they communicate and interact with others – helping those leaders be themselves in the most effective way possible.

The answer is to understand your style and be able to flex your style depending on the situation, person, or the feedback you get.

As leaders when we show our personalities we can extend our reach, impact and visibility with employees and other stakeholders, helping them see us as real people. This builds faith, trust and stronger relationships with the people who will ultimately help you achieve your business results.

What are the best ways to show who you are?

  • Tell stories – The right anecdote can be worth a thousand theories or facts, and will more likely be remembered.
  • Self-disclose – Help people get to know you on a personal level and understand what drives your passion for the business. Talk about yourself in a self-deprecating way, or share lessons learned where others can see themselves in you.
  • Get to know your employees on a personal levelShow employees that you care about them on a human level and they’re for more likely to see you in the same light. What’s important to them outside of work? When are their birthdays? It’s a two-way street.

How can you be more of yourself today?

- David Grossman


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Tag(s): Leadership

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