If you’ve ever cruised the self-improvement section in the local book store, you know there are plenty of opinions on leadership. Some notable authors believe that style is a “genetic” characteristic while others believe that leading styles are developed through education and experience. Whichever viewpoint you take, there’s no denying that sometimes the leader’s style does not mesh with the needs of the followers. When this happens, I advise the small business manager to shift his personal style to meet the needs of the team.
What’s My Style?
This shift begins with a proper diagnosis of your current style. I recommend taking the DISC personality profile to get an accurate reading. This test will measure you in four areas: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance. You could also poll your group and ask them for an assessment of your current skill level. Take an honest look at your strengths and weaknesses.
What Does My Team Need?
Trying to adjust your leading style without understanding what your team requires is a waste of time. Before you make any changes, assess the team by observing their performance, refreshing your knowledge of their job duties and quizzing them (informally of course) on their understanding of the company vision. You might also consider performance reviews, just to get a better read. After you assess individual information, you’ll need to look at the group’s dynamics as a whole. The changes required should help you better lead the whole team, not the individuals.
Ready for the Tweaking?
Now comes the tricky part. This step demands your concentration–and plenty of practice. You’ll have to resist leaning on your normal strengths and natural tendencies. Question your own methods and include the team in decision making. Consult leadership books that provide guidelines for using your new leadership style. Think about hiring a business coach! There are other tools available too like software and apps.
Continue the Process
Don’t expect a quick fix. Be patient because changing leadership styles can take time. Ask a trusted leader to monitor your progress and prepare to scale back changes as needed. Schedule personal reassessment regularly like once a week.
If you want to get more out of your team or just want to grow as a leader, consider changing your leadership. Even a temporary or semi-permanent change could bring you surprising results.
Read more from Monica Bullock:
Why I Jumped on the No Spend Day Band Wagon
What You Should Know About Your First Job
5 Reasons to Dress Up for Work