Adapt or fail!

What got you into this role won?t be enough to get you into your next!

One of the common mistakes new leaders make is assuming they can continue to be outperforming individual contributors (which is generally why they were promoted in the first place) AND be the leader of a team?and succeed.

These leaders continue to do the work, in the hope their team will be inspired by their results and follow suit. This style of leadership is referred to as Pacesetting and, while it?s effective in some scenarios, overall it has a negative impact on the success of a business.

The other mistake new leaders make is they stop doing the work completely and order their team to carry on. They adopt a ?do as I say? approach and often ?not as I do?. This style of leadership is referred to as Commanding and again can be effective in specific situations but overall has a negative impact on the success of a business.

Are you a new leader? Have you adopted one of these as your primary styles of leadership?

Let me share with you a story about Brendan (not his real name) who was an extremely talented individual. He was the highest performer in his team and was promoted into a leadership role after just eight months. When Brendan first stepped into the role he assumed a Pacesetting leadership style. He did his own work but also picked up the slack from the rest of the team?after all, his role now was to make the whole team successful.

After doing this solidly for six months Brendan become unwell and was off work for two weeks. Knowing that the stresses of his role played a big part in his illness he knew something had to change. So, he decided enough was enough and adopted a Commanding style of leadership.

Over the next six months Brendan gave orders, he alienated his team and slowly eroded the once vibrant team culture. Absenteeism increased and so did staff turnover. Brendan was at a loss, what was he doing wrong!

When we met, he was just a shadow of his former motivated and passionate self. He was exhausted and slowly withdrawing from his team and his role as leader. Without knowing what to do, he had gone into survival mode.

By working with Brendan to increase his self-awareness, and introducing a variety of different leadership styles into his toolkit, he could adapt his approach to influence the situation, individual and team. His motivation returned, the team culture improved and so did his health.

The leadership styles we worked on were four of Daniel Golemans Six Styles of Leadership, which have overall positive impacts on the business. These are:

  • Visionary ? This style is intended to mobilise people toward a vision, ?come with me?. It works best when changes require new vision, or when a clear direction is needed.
  • Affiliative ? This style is intended to create harmony and build emotional bonds, ?people come first.? It works best to heal rifts in a team or to motivate people during stressful circumstances.
  • Democratic ? This style is intended to forge consensus through participation, ?what do you think??. It works best to build buy-in or consensus, or to get input from valuable employees.
  • Coaching ? This style is intended to develop people for the future, ?try this.? It works best when helping an employee improve performance or develop long-term strengths.

So my message to all the new leaders out there is this?become more self-aware…then become a chameleon and adapt! Adapt across multiple leadership styles and you will succeed. To stick with the one that?s easiest for you, on the other hand, is almost certain career suicide!

Shelley Flett is a passionate leader with a keen focus on creating dynamic team environments through adaptable leadership. She is a leadership coach, trainer, facilitator, mentor and speaker who ignites vision and purpose in those she works with.

If you?d like to know more about how she can work with you, and your team, drop her an email shelley@shelleyflett.com.

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