How to Shift Your Leadership Style

September 14, 2022

How to Shift Your Leadership Style

“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” — Thomas Jefferson

The best leaders are well-versed in several styles of leadership that they can apply and choose from to fit the situation and the people they are leading. They know how to adapt to the changing times and to the particular context and scenario, in order to inspire, motivate, and bring out the maximum potential of their people, and to achieve their purpose.

Leadership style is the culmination of a leader’s personality, life experiences, emotional intelligence, upbringing, and way of thinking. There have been a lot of studies about the different leadership styles available for use, and as leadership is a fluid practice that evolves over time, there have been many additions and changes to those established and defined styles. Therefore, there is no “best” or “correct” style of leadership—only the most effective and appropriate according to the context.

So, how can we, as leaders, shift our styles?

The first thing we need to do is identify the need for the situation. What changes need to happen, and why? How can it help me and my team move forward toward our goal?

It can be easy to identify these things, but the challenge lies in our willingness to change and adapt as needed. We tend to get fixed on our mindsets, especially when things are comfortable and going smoothly. It is hard to change what we’ve gotten used to a lot of times. But as we’ve experienced over the past few years, we need to be ready to change and be ready to change a lot. One way we can anchor ourselves through those changes is by being intentional—knowing our purpose. If you know your why, then the what and how will be easier to accept and adapt to.

Don’t assume you know everything just because something worked for a long time. That mindset keeps us stagnant. Instead, continue educating yourself and learning new strategies, techniques, technologies, etc. that you and your team might need someday.

The more open you are to learning new things (and relearning old ones), the easier it will be to shift, pivot, and adapt as needed.

Have a plan in place but be open to changing it along the way. Even our goals might need some editing along the way. That is why it is important for leaders to have an awareness of what their purpose and mission are, and what they want to achieve. The paths and road markers might change, but if you know the destination to keep your eyes on, it is hard to feel lost along the way.

Communication is also key when it comes to alignment, collaboration, and growth. Your team needs to know what you expect and need from them during this shift. And they need to understand the changes in your leadership style. Good communication will help you keep everyone on the same page and ensure that things won’t fall through the cracks from misunderstandings.

Set realistic goals and learn to delegate. Leaders always have the misconception that taking responsibility means doing all of it (or a lot of it) yourself. You have your team to help. You just need to lead them.

“The best leaders don’t know just one style of leadership–they’re skilled at several, and have the flexibility to switch between styles as the circumstances dictate.” — Daniel Goleman

Thank you for reading A Brilliant Tribe.