LEADERSHIP—What Works and What Doesn’t!

Connie Podesta 12-17

As I work with leaders, managers and supervisors around the world, I keep running into the same four leadership styles. One is amazingly effective and promotes a healthy, productive environment and the other three? Well they do exactly the opposite. They create havoc. Lack of motivation. Disruption. Teams that can’t work together. Low productivity. Resistance to change. And high turnover.

Let’s take a look at what DOESN”T work first.

Number one: The micro-manager. You know the type. Overachieving, wants to win, highly competitive. In themselves none of those three things are bad. But here’s what happens. The micro-manager is so busy hovering, manipulating, reminding, pressing, and doing things themselves, they lose the ability to create bench strength within their team. The employees don’t take responsibility because the micro-manager is right there to remind them or do for them. And here’s the other thing that gets missed. The employees never get a chance to explore who they are, to be creative, to fine tune or showcase their skills and talents. There’s just no room. Plus the typical micro-manager is quick to place blame and not so quick to compliment and encourage. So what happens when the manager is out for a week? There’s no one to step up to the plate-right? Because they haven’t created healthy, confident, pro-active risk takers in their teams who are willing to step into leadership roles and responsibilities. And when that happens? Everyone loses. People need a safe environment to try new things. Share ideas. Take risks. That’s how you create a great team.

Number two: Most wouldn’t on the surface find this person a BAD leader – but hear me out. I’m talking about the REALLY NICE leader. The one who hates confrontation. Doesn’t want to make anyone upset. Can’t make a decision. Is unable to have really crucial discussions about performance. Becomes everyone’s therapist, parent, friend—everything but the leader they need to be. The one who knows everything about everybody. Who’s divorcing, who’s sick, and who has kids that are giving them a hard time. They’re very motivational, involved, and eager to offer incentives. Not all bad traits. But here’s how this goes south. Because there are no repercussions, no consequences, no boundaries, they get dumped on. People take advantage. And marginal employees are allowed to slip by while the top producing employees pick up the slack (and resenting their job more and more every day!). People need fair boundaries, fair consequences and standards to live by. That’s how they grow. They how they get better. That’s how they learn. And that’s how you create a great team.

Number three—the absentee leader. This leader is so enmeshed in their own work that they pay little, if any attention, to their employees. There’s no coaching. No mentoring. No teaching. Definitely no role modeling. Employees are pretty well expected to fend for themselves. At performance appraisal time, the employee may finally hear what it is they have or haven’t done to deserve a raise or promotion—but there was no attempt throughout the year to help them grow, learn and thrive on their job. Leadership is there in name only and does not contribute in any way to their long-term personal development on the job.
People need attention paid. They need recognition. Appreciation. And respect. They need to be given every chance to grow and learn and thrive in their environment. That’s how you create a great team.

Now let’s get to the really GOOD – no UNBELIEVABLY GREAT management style. The folks that are willing to let go of a little ego to help grow people. The ones that challenge their team. Invite creativity and collaboration. Who let people take risks. Who mentor, coach, cheer, and train. But who also set boundaries, limits, expectations, and consequences. The ones who are there as living role models for how to successfully lead a team. It’s a fine line to walk when you are a leader. Caring, but firm. Open to ideas but not afraid to make a decision. Understanding, but committed to doing what’s right. Allowing leeway, but maintaining high standards. Knowing when to mentor and when to let go. Offering incentives while setting high expectations. Showing them how to do the job better, but not doing it for them. Complimenting when the time is right but having crucial conversations when necessary.

No matter what kind of leader you are—YOU WILL AFFECT YOUR TEAM”S ABILITY TO PRODUCE, COLLABORATE, PROVIDE SERVICE, DEAL WITH CUSTOMERS AND CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR ORGANIZATIONS GROWTH AND ROFITABILITY. The question is what path will your specific leadership style take them?

Once again, the psychology of human behavior helps us solve a mystery of how to succeed. When you understand who you are, you can translate that to what you need to do to help grow your business.


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