Adapting Leadership Styles

Adapting Leadership Styles

There has been much debate over the past few months regarding the difference between Management and Leadership.

Warren Bennis illustrates specific differences between managers and leaders:

  •  The manager administers; the leader innovates
  • The manager maintains; the leader develops
  • The manager focuses on systems and structures; the leader focuses on people
  • The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust
  • The manager has a short-range view; the leader has a long-range perspective
  • The manager asks how and when?; the leader asks what and why?
  • The manager has his eye always on the bottom line; the leader has his or her eye on the horizon
  • The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it

At Natural Talent we are often asked which is our preferred Leadership Model.  As all our work is underpinned by the principles of Emotional Intelligence, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Advanced Behavioural Science in order to achieve maximum effectiveness, one of our most utilised Leadership Models is Daniel Goleman’s Leadership Styles, which he introduced in the 1990s and post the banking and economic crisis are now very much back in vogue.  He believes that Emotional Intelligence Competencies such as self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skill all combine in different ways to create distinctive Leadership Styles.  Goleman adds that in order for leaders to be effective they need to be attuned to other people’s feelings and speak authentically about their own values, direction and priorities.

The six Leadership Styles he identified are Visionary, Coaching, Affiliative, Democratic, Pacesetting and Commanding.  The model works well in conjunction with the Strength Deployment Personality Questionnaire, where the ‘Red: Assertive – Directing’ style corresponds to Goldman’s description of the Commanding style of Leadership.

We agree that great leaders should adapt their style according to the situation, for example it is still necessary to use a Commanding style when there is an emergency and the organisation needs to be led from the top.  However, nowadays frequently there is more of a requirement to adapt to the Visionary and Coaching styles of Leadership in order to engage, empower, develop and retain team members. 

With many of our clients we tend to find that most Leaders are spending too much of their time being Managers, ‘fire-fighting’ and working ‘in’ the business.  Often our challenge is to transform them in to great Leaders, who work ‘on’ the business, developing a clear strategic vision, aligning goals with the strategy, developing top Talent, creating trust, motivating and inspiring teams, and identifying a strong Succession Plan.

Utilising Talent Assessment Tools such as Personality Profiles and 360 Feedback Reviews our clients are able to identify their key development areas and through Executive Coaching and Leadership Development start working on SMART Action Plans to become  more adaptable, rounded Leaders.

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