Leadership takes many different forms and shapes over the course of a career. Knowing how to read your staff, how to communicate using their “language” will allow you to get the most from your employees, and is a key strength in management and leadership.
Leaders often try the “befriending” leadership style, hoping to leverage a friendship-based relationship void of any authority in order to lead the organization. That may make you popular, but only until you have to leverage your authority; then all the friendships are over.
Some are strictly authoritarian, completely void of any personal relationship or accountability to the staff or organization. This style is an ego-booster for the leader, but sucks the life and joy and passion from the employees. It seldom encourages any real buy-in from the employees, and often results in an excess turnover ratio within the organization.
There are some leaders who employ a managerial-style leadership, taking charge of every last detail, and leaving no time to dream, to envision, to encourage the organization for whom he or she is responsible. Again, this style of leadership isn’t really leadership at all, and should be avoided at all costs.
Leaders who are seeking to establish long term success of their organization should find a style that is akin to a team philosophy, where the leader is more of a “player-coach”. Implementing a team environment encourages employees to develop a greater sense of responsibility to the vision; allows for more outside-the-box thinking and development; provides more opportunities for building relationships within the teams, and generally adds to the overall satisfaction of employees and team members. This style can succeed at every level of leadership in most every type of organization.
Be careful, leaders…. Your legacy will be measured not only by the success of your organization, but by the quality of the relationships you develop with the people you lead.