5 ways to flex your leadership style to suit your team
Like all parents, I recognise that my kids are all different. I’m sure all of you have done this, have a look at your children and wondered how on Earth they’re all such polar opposites. Different hobbies; different styles; different personalities…
One is competitive by nature. Like many teenagers she’s always attached to her phone, and loves texting her friends. She is also incredibly creative, loves painting and ice-skating.
One is sporty – hates inequality and likes playing with balls of any description, and playing and watching Rugby. Team games are everything.
One is computer mad – Loves computer games, reading fiction, solving maths puzzles; reading New Scientist and playing Golf.
Our last one is princess mad. In fact she may have been born a Princess. Loves fashion; musical theatre and all things pink!
In our house, one size definitely does not fit all.
We have our rules like all homes and our little traditions. We have a Sunday dinner every week that everyone has to attend, regardless, and we have movie night on a Saturday where Pizza is compulsory and we argue over the film we’re going to watch. Everyone also has the opportunity to have a go at things, and we acknowledge that we’re all different with different talents.
As everyone is so different, we have our challenges like so many parents that we have to switch our parenting styles depending on the child. They all have the same rules, but we try to go about enforcing them in different ways.
If we grounded child number 3, they wouldn’t care but child number 1 would have a fit. If we switched off the internet, however, child number 3 would probably implode. Child number 4, would have a heart failure if told they couldn’t read a bed time story, whereas child number 2 wouldn’t care less about this but if they couldn’t play with a ball, or have their laptop that would be a crisis.
As a Leader, you have exactly the same challenge at work. Granted you’re probably not dealing with kids, but flexing and adapting your style depending upon the situation and the person is still crucial. All the while ensuring you remain consistent and fair at all times.
So how do you do this?
1. Get to know your teams
Your team will be made up of individuals with different talents and personalities. Get to know what makes them tick. What are they good at? What do they enjoy? And play them at their strengths.
2. Share your values and expectations
If your team doesn’t know what’s important to you, and what you expect they’re not going to be able to work alongside that. Share your values with them. What is important to you, and how you want them to work together and behave?
3. Role model the way
If you want your team to behave in a certain way – you have to do it too.
4. Share strengths and talents as a team
Ensure your team know who is great at what. Encourage them to develop each other and grow their skills. Build a strong team mentality by working together rather than competing with each other.
5. Communicate and Listen
An absolute must. Listen to what’s going on within the team. Where are the problems? Who has a solution? What is generally going on? By listening to your team you’ll encourage an open dialogue and you’ll learn so much more.