Leadership Style Contributes 30%


What type of manager are you? Is your style effective for your team?

The best managers consistently allow different leaders to emerge and inspire their teammates (and themselves!) to go to the next level. Most of us know this. But what if I told you that a manager’s leadership style contributes to the profitability of the company? It does. Read on.

Every business has challenges. Some are daily and some require more energy. It’s how management reacts to these challenges that really matter as well as how effectively a manager can lead the team. When you’re dealing with ongoing challenges or organizational changes, no one can be expected to have all the answers or rule the team with an iron fist. It just doesn’t work for day-to-day operations. Sometimes a project is a long series of obstacles and opportunities coming at you at high-speed, and you need every ounce of your collective hearts and minds and skill sets to get through it.

What type of manager leads your team?

An authoritative study on the subject of how leadership plays a role in corporate climate is Daniel Goleman’s Leadership That Gets Results. Goleman and his team completed a three-year study with over 3,000 middle-level managers with the goal of determining how manager’s styles and personalities affect the business and bottom-line profitability. The research discovered that a manager’s leadership style was responsible for 30% of the company’s bottom-line profitability! That is too high a percentage to ignore. Imagine how much money and effort a company spends on new talent, processes, efficiencies, and cost-cutting methods in an effort to add even one percent to bottom-line profitability. Wouldn’t it be more effective to simply inspire managers to be more proactive with their leadership styles. At 30% of profits, your business depends on it!

The six leadership styles Goleman uncovered among the managers he studied were summarized nicely in Robyn Benincasa’s book, How Winning Works: 8 Essential Leadership Lessons from the Toughest Teams on Earth:

  1. The pace setting leader. This person expects and models excellence and self-direction. If this style were summed up in one phrase, it would be “Do as I do, now.” The pace setting style works best when the team is already motivated and skilled, and the leader needs quick results. Used extensively, however, this style can overwhelm team members and squelch innovation.

  2. The authoritative leader. S/he mobilize the team toward a common vision and focuses on end goals. If this style were summed up in one phrase, it would be “Come with me.” The authoritative style works best when the team needs a new vision because circumstances have changed, or when explicit guidance is not required. Authoritative leaders inspire an entrepreneurial spirit and vibrant enthusiasm for the mission. It is not the best fit when the leader is working with a team of experts who know more than him or her.

  3. The affiliative leader. Works to create emotional bonds that bring a feeling of bonding and belonging to the organization. If this style were summed up in one phrase, it would be “People come first.” The affiliative style works best in times of stress, when teammates need to heal from a trauma, or when the team needs to rebuild trust. This style should not be used exclusively, because a sole reliance on praise and nurturing can foster mediocre performance and a lack of direction.

  4. The coaching leader. This leader develops people for the future. If this style were summed up in one phrase, it would be “Try this.” The coaching style works best when the leader wants to help teammates build lasting personal strengths that make them more successful overall. It is least effective when teammates are defiant and unwilling to change or learn, or if the leader lacks proficiency.

  5. The coercive leader. S/he demands immediate compliance. If this style were summed up in one phrase, it would be “Do what I tell you.” The coercive style is most effective in times of crisis, such as in a company turnaround or a takeover attempt, or during an actual emergency like a tornado or a fire. This style can also help control a problem teammate when everything else has failed. However, it should be avoided in almost every other case because it can alienate people and stifle flexibility and inventiveness.

  6. The democratic leader. This leader builds consensus through participation. If this style were summed up in one phrase, it would be “What do you think?” The democratic style is most effective when the leader needs the team to buy into or have ownership of a decision, plan, or goal, or if he or she is uncertain and needs fresh ideas from qualified teammates. It is not the best choice in an emergency situation, when time is of the essence for another reason or when teammates are not informed enough to offer sufficient guidance to the leader.

Defining what makes a great leader great is hard. Think about a leader you admire and then try to put your finger on what makes him or her great. It’s not just one element. You may not want to change the personality of the leaders in your organization, but you should want to provide them with the confidence and the tools that they need to utilize their uniqueness and fulfill their leadership potential. At the very least, given that 30% of your profitability relies on leadership, you should acknowledge the importance of management style.

What is the future of leadership? At a December 1st, 2011 Garrison Institute luncheon in New York City, Daniel Goleman attempted to answer this question and speaks about key leadership qualities, such as self awareness, empathy, and systems awareness. Watch:

Do you need help with Your Management Style?

Our workshops on Leadership Training are performed by certified consultants. Through our customized workshops, we will provide you with valuable tools to help clarify your own management styles and enable you to focus on the importance of a consistent approach for achieving successful leadership. We use questionnaires, conduct interviews, observe, and analyze. Our assessments are conducted by consultants with the experience and knowledge to understand the multiple aspects of the leaders’ personalities and of their roles. We provide detailed recommendations and follow through with personalized action plans and coaching to address any areas of weakness.

Taking a team from ordinary to extraordinary means understanding and embracing the difference between management and leadership. According to writer and consultant Peter Drucker,

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

Call today for more details on our July 25th DISC Behavior Styles Lunch & Learn.

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