All leaders may have the same goal--to get the best performance out of their teams--but they set out to achieve them very differently. Some managers take an authoritative approach while others prefer a democratic style of leadership. In some instances, one method works best while in others an alternative management strategy may preserve team culture and improve operational efficiency.
As our business has grown over the past 12 years, my co-founders and I have learned to adapt our leadership styles to specific circumstances and situations. When collaborating with certain team members, suppliers and agency partners, we take an agile approach to ensure the way we lead and represent our business aligns with our values but also resonates with others.
Below, I list three things every entrepreneur should know to become a more effective leader.
Blend multiple leadership styles to suit different scenarios.
While most of us gravitate strongly towards one specific style of leadership, that doesn't mean that we don't occasionally incorporate attributes of the others into our actions and decisions. This is actually a highly-effective tendency, since taking on a management role often requires flexibility and the ability to adapt as required.
There is no single approach that works optimally in all situations. Rather, the best leaders are able to draw on various styles and switch back and forth efficiently.
Incorporate active listening skills and respond to the new information you receive.
Good listening is a crucial skill for effective entrepreneurs to practice. It is important that you listen intently whenever employees share their specific concerns, struggles, and goals. Doing so puts you in a position to provide solutions that can empower them to overcome roadblocks and accomplish much more at their jobs.
A study by Universum found that 41 percent of executives believe the most important thing a leader can do is empower his or her employees. When your staff feels heard, then they feel validated. It is your responsibility to also turn their ideas and problems into action, helping them work through hurdles they face and helping to make their suggestions a reality.
Balance your tendencies and improve your overall habits.
Part of understanding your strengths as a manager involves learning how to deal with your weaknesses as well. Think carefully about the actions you take as a leader and determine how you can bring balance to the equation.
For instance, some managers over-delegate and have a tendency to cede authority even when the situation could benefit from their guidance. In those cases, it would be best if they played a more active role in the decision-making process with their employees. On the other hand, there are some business owners who take on too much responsibility themselves. This makes it challenging for them to focus on big-picture trends and opportunities because they are too preoccupied with overseeing every operational aspect of their company. For this type of leader to thrive, they need to learn to trust their employees and lean on others for help.
The more closely you observe the nuances of your management style, the better prepared you will be to counteract your less desirable habits.