What’s your leadership style?

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In almost every organisation we work with, leadership emerges as an issue.

Failing to get to grips with how you lead, and the subsequent impact of this on those around you, is a sure-fire route to organisational chaos.

As humans, we have an inbuilt need for hierarchy but the challenge lies in making sure those at the top have the skills required to be a good leader. Often those in senior roles may be there because they are good at what they do, not because they have excellent leadership skills.

Taking time to understand your own personal leadership style and that of wider leadership teams shows a willingness to listen and learn, and can have a huge impact on relationships throughout the organisation.

So, how do we do it?

Leadership isn’t easy. There’s a huge amount of pressure on leaders to understand the complexity of their industry and organisation, lead projects and grow the business, as well as recognise team dynamics and nurture relationships.

When chaos hits the leadership team, it can have a huge impact on the whole organisation. Being prepared to listen to feedback, and embracing openness and honesty are key to moving forward.

Diagnosing leadership as the root cause of chaos comes from frank conversations with individuals within the organisation and takes time. It’s not likely to be picked up with a one-size-fits-all survey.

Issues that may arise within this feedback are:

  • A sense that the leadership team is not working well together/is dysfunctional
  • A lack of understanding about the impact of behaviour on the team and others
  • An inability to change or to make decisions
  • An ego that stops progress

Hearing this will inevitably feel difficult, but we need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable if we want to make positive changes. Only then can teams really begin to work together, rather than functioning as a series of individuals.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick M Lencioni is a great book for learning more on this topic.

What makes a good leader?

Understanding your style as a leader is incredibly important. No two leaders are the same and while we often feel compelled to compare ourselves to others, we have to find what’s right for us.  

The best leaders don’t try to be something they’re not. They understand their own style, the needs of their teams and their organisations, and adapt their behaviours as necessary.

Likewise, leadership isn’t always about making changes. Successful leaders take the time to really listen, observe and understand the current picture before implementing new ideas and ways of working.

Integrity is key – doing what you say you’re going to do, rather than just paying lip service to it. Is your office door really always open? Don’t make promises you can’t keep.

The 6 key skills of leadership

While leaders will inevitably all have their own different ways of approaching their role, there are a set of skills common to those at the top of their game, which I outline in my book Influential Internal Communication.

Understanding and embracing these can transform the effectiveness of a leader:

  1. Compassion – particularly important since the COVID-19 pandemic. Showing vulnerability and an understanding of what it is to be human helps to forge genuine relationships.
  2. Looking after yourself – you can’t lead an organisation effectively if you are not focusing on your own health and wellbeing. A useful book on this subject is ‘Your Oxygen Mask First’ by Kevin N. Lawrence.
  3. Respect – showing respect to everyone, regardless of hierarchy. Focus on your language, tone and behaviours, such as being punctual for meetings.
  4. Time and attention management – Acknowledge your own ability to manage your time and your attention and take actions in areas you need to improve to ensure your time is spent where it should be.
  5. Self-awareness – You may feel that you’re doing all the right things but feedback is suggesting otherwise. Understand your limits and seek support for areas you need help with.
  6. Listening – Listen in order to understand, rather than just to respond. Demonstrate this by taking notes or improving eye contact. Make people feel heard.

For more information about the importance of effective leadership, and how to take your organisation from chaos to calm see our Leadership Support page, or drop us an email at info@redefiningcomms.com

You can also hear more about this subject on this episode of the Redefining Communications with Jenni Field podcast.

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If you’re a leader or business owner that needs help diagnosing what’s causing chaos, improving your communication and moving towards calm, please get in touch and book a free 15-minute call.

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Join our community

Subscribe to join our community and we’ll be in touch with helpful advice and updates about how we can take your organisation from chaos to calm. Our community gets invited to a quarterly 90-minute Ask Me Anything online session with Jenni Field, as well as early access to events, discounts and research.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.