Leadership styles differ wildly across the plethora of organizations and their respective industries. I don’t believe there’s any one specific leadership style that is the most effective in all instances regardless of circumstances. However, there are definitely proven leadership styles and characteristics that work in most cases. Leadership is defined as the ability to influence a group toward the achievement of a vision or set of goals. Leaders are slightly different from managers, because you don’t necessarily need to have a management position in order to be a leader, nor does being a leader make someone a good manager. Still, organizations need both strong leadership and strong management for maximum impact and effectiveness.
Strong leaders are often described based on character traits. Some top character traits of great leaders include: charismatic, enthusiastic, and courageous. This is the leadership theory I fully support. When I examine a leader, I first analyze what kind of person said leader is. How do they speak and communicate? Do they seem honest and do they have a reputation of integrity to back it up? How do they react to conflict and challenge? How do they inspire others? Does anything about them inspire me?
Great leadership is definitely about emotional intelligence – you have to understand people, why they act how they act, what inspires them, what demotivates them, what their values are, and more in order to effectively lead them. People must feel that you’re genuine and sincerely care about them and things that they care about before they commit themselves to you as a leader and your vision (in most instances).
Regarding style, as a leader I prefer to be versatile and able to apply all of the different leadership styles depending on each situation and group or individual. Great leaders, in my humble opinion, incorporate all of the following: charisma (a great example here is President Barrack Obama); innovation (Richard Branson is a great example of an innovative leader); command and control (General Martin Dempsey); laissez-faire (i.e. Julian Assange); pace setting (i.e. Steve Jobs); servant-hood (like many of our military leaders); situational awareness (like Denver Broncos Quarterback Peyton Manning); and transformational strategy (i.e. Jeff Bezos of Amazon). Negotiating skills, the ability to coerce, and the willingness to be a coach and a mentor are also highly favorable character traits of great leaders.
Another aspect of great leaders from my perspective is the desire to help others grow and succeed, even if that success ultimately goes outside of their vision and organization. Leaders don’t just amass followers – they also inspire and develop others into leaders themselves. To make it plain, leaders are about the people.
By: Lex R. Brown II
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