Monday, April 2, 2012

Leadership Styles

Your leadership style is the manner in which you tackle the challenge of leading a team or group. Today,  I want to touch on three of the different types of leaders that exist and then describe what I consider to be a Balanced Leader. Consider your own style as you read the descriptions below and take note of which traits you exhibit.

The Parent

The Parent is a leader that takes you under their wing. Their style is very supportive, encouraging,  and caring. If you ever have an issue, this type of leader lets you know it’s not your fault and finds someone else for you to blame. This type of leader is easy to talk to, but does not offer much immediate direction or solutions. The Parent is often wise and well informed but finds it difficult to reprimand group members for poor performance.

Traits: Kind, Caring, Understanding, Motivates
Strengths: Easily accessible, Wise, Experienced Weaknesses: Does not push team to maximum potential. Team does not learn from mistakes.
The Friend
The Friend is a great partner, but not a team leader. They are considerate of their teammates and always let them slide when they miss a deadline or requirement. This leader is reliable and will pick up the slack of team members that don't contribute rather than confront the issue. The Friend is often well liked, but not truly respected or appreciated. They have great ideas but usually let others, who are more confident, decide things.

Traits: Supportive, Reliable, Non-Confrontational, Friendly,

Strengths: Well liked. Helpful and cooperative.
Weaknesses: Gets taken advantage of by others. Does not take charge when necessary.

The Supervisor
The Supervisor is a strong-willed manager. They have the tendency to watch over their team members shoulders and micro-manage. This type of leader makes a solid plan and expects other team member to follow it without excuses. They typically divide work evenly but are not very conscious of the desires or outside commitments of their team members. This team member does not share information well. They consider themselves central to the completion of the project.

Traits: Controlling, Lacks Trust, Driven, Focused, Plans well, Confrontational, Extrovert
Strengths: Detail oriented. Has a deep understanding of all aspects of the project. Excellent planner.
Weaknesses: Often disliked by team members. High stress level.

The Balanced Leader
The Balanced Leader has a few of the characteristics of the three leaders mentioned above. They are kind and understanding like the Mother, reliable and supportive like the Friend and focused and driven like the Supervisor.  What makes the Balanced Leader the wisest is that he knows how to identify what type of leadership traits each situation requires.  The first step to being a Balanced Leader is knowing your team. Perform an evaluation of your team and assess their strengths, weakness, commitment, and  availability.  This will help you delegate the project tasks in a way that is effective and efficient. It also shows your team member that you have their best interest in mind. Each team experience should be an opportunity for everyone in the group to learn about themselves and improve their skills through use. Next you’ll want to provide a network of support. Communicate effectively and frequently with your team.  Provide an open way for questions to get answered and solutions to be developed by the whole group, not just you. Make pertinent information available for those who need it and keep your team up to date with changes to the requirements and deadlines as soon as possible. Finally, maintain a professional level of respect. Your team will produce better for you if they respect you. You also need to make it clear that you respect them as well.  Show them that you understand the challenges they are facing as they work and that you are there to help whenever possible.

Your leadership style will grow and change as you do. Be confident and sure  in who you are and it will show through your team's progress and success.

Our next discussion will be on the types of group members and how to work with them.

Below are some questions that you can ponder on your own or respond in the comments.

  • Describe your leadership style.
    • What is your favorite aspect of your leadership style?
    • What are the different environments in which you tweak your leadership style?
    • Discuss one of your greatest challenges as a leader.


    1. I would say that I am a cross between the Parent and the Supervisor. When I see the opportunity to take charge because no one else will, I will definitely step up and be that person. However, I would like to learn how to be able to better motivate my team members. The best part of being a leader in any situation is, in my opinion, motivating your team to give 110%. If I had to single out one skill I wanted to improve, it would be that.

      As an example, I play quarterback on an intramural flag football team for which I am also the captain. It is a struggle to get everyone to show up for the practices some weeks, and therefore the team doesn't do so well during a game. I try to lead by example by going out every week on a set schedule and practice with those who do come, but it's just not enough.

      1. Thanks for your comment! I will add that to my list of topics for new posts! Follow my blog to make sure you don't miss it!