How To Adapt Your Leadership Style For The Challenges Of The Modern Business World
Leadership is not a one-size-fits-all type of role. Effective leaders can come in all forms. Charismatic legends like Steve Jobs, Jack Welch or Oprah Winfrey may spring to mind, but their style is only one type of leadership technique available to you.
In today’s business world, leaders are running into challenges due to the changing landscape of the workforce and the varying expectations that teams hold for their managers. Navigating those tensions can be difficult but attainable. In fact, facing these challenges is imperative if you want to keep your leadership style relevant.
Here’s how to confront and adapt your leadership style to meet the demands of the modern business world:
Align your perception with reality.
The first step is self-awareness. Take the time to write out a self-evaluation. Describe what you think your leadership style is, making sure to include strengths and weaknesses, as well as how you believe others see you. Ask a trusted colleague to write a similar evaluation of you. Next, compare your self-evaluation with theirs and see if and where there may be discrepancies. Those areas are the perfect places to discuss and dig deep to help you better understand your current leadership style.
Next, think about how you want to grow. Were the discrepancies you discovered in the self-evaluation exercise an indicator that your leadership style is not what you thought? Does it outline places for growth? Focus on them, and write out your personal goals for improvement or for taking your leadership style in a different direction.
Know your people.
Your leadership style might also need to change and adapt depending on the people you are leading. Some team members might like receiving clear marching orders and then go off to get their work done. Others might prefer to know the “why” of certain tasks and do their best work when they feel like part of a team. Though you should not make drastic flip-flops in your leadership style, it is important to know your team and how they like being led. Having that information will make your job much easier and more efficient.
Account for outside pressures.
Of course, there are also outside pressures that can affect how you lead in any given situation. A project may be time-sensitive, so taking time for lengthy meetings or wide-ranging team feedback is not feasible. You may have a vision for the outcome of a task but are not clear on how to achieve it, so you need to ask the experts on your team for guidance.
As a leader in the modern business world, you will find yourself in situations that require you to adapt your leadership style slightly to achieve success. A Harvard Business Review article suggests preparing for those moments by developing a portfolio of micro-behaviors you can employ when the situation demands you use a different style.
Admittedly, it is not an easy feat on one’s own. Try asking for feedback from your team or hiring a leadership coach to help you navigate the tricky waters of leadership in today’s business world. Only by understanding yourself, your team and the various challenges in the workforce that you may face can you prepare accordingly and excel as a leader in the modern era.
This article has previously been featured on Forbes