Effective Techniques to Help You Perfect Your Leadership Style
Whether you’re a natural born leader, or someone who prefers to let others take on this role, it is likely that as you progress through your career you will be required to take on some level of leadership.
When it comes to taking on leadership opportunities, the newfound responsibility can be daunting for some. Research from RADA Business’, Beating Workplace Performance Anxiety report, found that a staggering 94% of company directors reported feeling anxious about communicating, and that they felt this anxiety around 10 times per month, which is twice the average across all job levels.
With hybrid teams working in multiple locations now the norm, leadership skills have never been more important when leading teams and communicating with the wider company network.
For those looking to develop their own style and lead with confidence, Jonathan Lewis, Tutor at RADA Business, shares a range of insights and techniques.
We all have a preference in terms of our leadership style. Being self-aware is at the root of good leadership. If you understand where your confidence comes from then you can start to anticipate how you’ll react under pressure. It’s also important to be aware of how your communication style comes across to your colleagues. If the communication isn’t right, the leadership isn’t right. One way to find your preferred way of leading is to put yourself in different scenarios:
Imagine yourself on a holiday – do you like to plan an itinerary for each day ,or go with the flow?
When talking to a friend do you listen intently, focusing on the speaker before you consider your own reaction – or do you listen actively and engage physically, commenting as you go along?
In these situations people can start to understand whether they are more detail or outcome orientated. Making yourself aware of this character can help you understand how you habitually communicate with your team.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Now that you’re aware of your own leadership style, you need to make yourself aware of your surroundings and the work environment you find yourself in. Just as you have your own way of working, so does everyone else. It can be effective to think not about what you need from your team, but rather what they need from you to perform at their best and achieve the tasks
If you’re a detailed, task-focused person and you’ve got people around you who aren’t, then your habitual instinct to provide as much detail as possible could be perceived as micromanaging. It can help display a more expressive, outcomes-based approach, and explain the reasoning behind a request.
If you are a bigger-picture person you are likely to be great building relationships and motivating staff. But you may alienate detail-orientated colleagues. It can help to be curious, spending less time on the end-goal but focusing more on the steps to get there. Provide detailed information to put colleagues at ease with a task and help them perform at their best.
By taking the time to understand the dynamics of your team, you can effectively adjust your style to difference scenarios.
Adapt and Prepare
Performing and leading have a lot in common. When you’re leading a team, you’re effectively performing in front of them, as an actor would in order to connect to their audience. Just as actors must be adaptable and reactive to different environments, leaders should also be able to flex their communication style accordingly.
Giving a regular team update and pitching to a client are two situations that require very different ways of communicating. Each different conversation that matters to you could be rehearsed. Spend time practising with a colleague, and you’ll learn even more about your own habitual style and how to treat that particular situation.
Under pressure we tend to do more of our own preferred style. And yet, being an adaptable, flexible leader is more likely to generate a positive outcome. So, it is not about which type of leadership is right or wrong, it’s about recognising what works best in any given situation.
Whether you’re taking on more responsibility at work, or simply looking to finetune your own leadership style, make sure to take account of both yourself as well as those around you, so you can lead with greater authority and confidence.