Stepping into a leadership position or management role for the first time is a major accomplishment, but it also comes with some big decisions. One of the most important decisions you will have to make is what kind of leadership style will define your career.
In large companies, it’s easy to fall victim to leadership inheritance, which is the tendency to adopt the leadership style that was used in the past. The problem is that it feels comfortable and causes your decisions to be instinctual, rather than intellectual.
Entrepreneurs have a better chance of avoiding leadership inheritance as they get to build their business from the ground up. But they can still fall into the trap of inherited leadership from previous jobs.
Below are four questions to ask yourself to challenge leadership inheritance:
1. What leadership style do I want to adopt?
If you’ve reached the leadership level, it usually means that you have an idea of what type of leader you want to be. Choose a leadership style that appeals to you and that could mean great success for the company.
2. What leadership style is suited to my talents?
Just because you like a certain leadership style doesn’t mean that it will work well with your skill set. Take time to evaluate your skills and see what leadership style will produce the best results.
3. What style will be effective in the situation?
While one leadership style may work for you, different situations may call for different styles. For instance, one employee may thrive under micromanagement while another may do best with a hands-off approach.
4. Will the style enhance or diminish objectives?
It is imperative that the leadership style you choose works for both you, personally, and the company. Here are some questions from Entrepreneur to help you answer question number four:
• Do my people need a lot of attention and feedback?
• Do I have specialized knowledge that my people will need to access?
• Are we customer-focused, safety-focused, quality-focused, efficiency focused, etc.?
• Do I lead people who effectively do what I did before?
• Do I set the vision or do I implement the vision?
• Are my people better matched with a particular leadership style?
• How does the work environment lend itself to one style over another?
Leadership styles can change over time, so be sure to evaluate your style several times throughout your career. This will create the best experience for your team and ultimately, your company.
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