I am almost through the Steve Jobs Biography and I have had some ensuing discussions about his leadership style and that of other leaders. This discussion tends to leads to a “whose style is best or most effective?” conversation. So much talk in management circles these days revolves around modeling yourself as a leader that I wanted to address this inevitable but dangerous trend.
Many wonder who they should model themselves after; my own personal and mentoring experience has show that the best style to model after is your own! Most every leader or developing leader will claim that they have a style and are more than happy to describe it. What I have found is that many entrepreneurs, managers and CEO’s are biased toward the latest CEO or Leader in the media who seems to be garnering great results. So when you hear someone describe his or her leadership style, it quite often reflects the leader who is most recently on the mind of that person.
The fact of the matter seems to be that a certain style works for a certain type of person. The “secret to success” is uncovering, developing and exploiting your own strengths and style. So, how does one truly develop their leadership style? How does one know which style works for them through thick and thin? There are as many answers to these questions as there are styles and strengths that leaders have.
Consciously developing your leadership style is something that most leaders do not consider, mostly because they already think they know who they are. Before you can know who you are there are four primary questions each leader needs to very honestly ask and consciously know the answer to:
1.) Who Am I?
2.) Where Am I?
3.) Why Am I Where I Am?
4.) What Am I Choosing To Do About That?
By knowing the answers to these questions, a leader will have a conscious basis upon which to deal with every situation. Second, recent bias or being swayed by the “leadership characteristics of the day” will have less of an impact on the leader.
Learn from the style of others but do not try to be someone else – Know who you are and lead as such.