I have a friend who owns a coffee shop chain. Pity my coffee taste buds don't run past the common latte as I could learn a lot from his knowledge. I'm also a friend with one of his employees; 20 year old Liz frequents our dinner table and flits to foreign countries in her spare time. And by nature of these two associations I can be party to both sides of a story.
One evening over lamb, Liz tells me about a fellow employee that she is having trouble with. An older team member, who'd worked there longer, had come to resent Liz's good relationship with the boss and her extra responsibilities. It got to the point where they weren't talking to each other and the clientele were noticing the hostility. Naturally intrigued, I wondered what the boss thought of this situation. He was to the point: "They are both adults, they can sit down and work it out between themselves". Perhaps a fair response but one that did cause me to reflect on the six styles of leadership and had I been boss, how I would have handled a similar situation:
- Commanding: Demands immediate compliance - "Do what I tell you."
- Visionary: Mobilises people towards a vision - "Come with me."
- Affiliative: Creates harmony and builds emotional bonds - "People come first."
- Democratic: Forges consensus through participation - "What do you think?"
- Pace-Setting: Sets high standards for performance - "Do as I do now."
- Coaching: Develops people for the future - "Try this."
Everyone has a preferred leadership style but have you paid any attention to what your style is? How can you be more flexible in changing your style to suit the circumstances? Consider asking your team what leadership style they need from you at this moment.
Liz and her co-worker didn't get very far 'working it out between themselves'. The tension continued and not long after the co-worker quit. Would the outcome have been any better if a more flexible leadership style was adopted? What style of leadership would you have found appropriate?
To learn more about how you work and your leadership style contact Karen today to see how SleepingGiant can help you.
Credits: Golman, Daniel (2000), Leadership that gets Results, HBR, March-April, 78-90.