Not everyone is born a leader. But you can learn how to lead a team and work with a group of people. Today’s post is about my vision of leadership and how I discovered my leadership style.
Today’s world, compared to our parents and grandparents is characterized by a few major factors, including:
- Rapid advancement in technology
- Accelerated globalization
- Political instability and fighting for scarce resources
- Ethical, racial and income inequality
All these external influences have created new opportunities but also brought unparalleled challenges for corporate leaders. The leaders of today and tomorrow need unique skills and strategic thinking, and apply a leadership style which is morally right and “fit for a greater purpose”.
The Inspiration for my Leadership Style: The Late Steve Jobs
What makes a good leader in my opinion?
In my corporate business development job I was lucky to work with a few great leaders from whom I’ve picked up, precisely what makes their leadership style effective.
A successful leader, in my opinion, always starts with a clear vision. Steve Jobs is one of the leaders I admire, and I believe that I have plenty to learn from his leadership style. From his biographic movie “Steve Jobs” (2015), I’ve learned that Jobs was a visionary leader, always obsessed with excellence, making everything perfect, and not settling for less. Throughout his career at Apple, he has inspired many of his followers to “dream bigger”, aim for perfection and don’t be afraid to “change the world!” (Gallo 2015).
Alike Steve Jobs, I’ve always been an idealist and a BIG dreamer.
I think this is what draws me to his unique model of leadership. I am committed to working extremely hard and I put my full passion into my job, while also aiming to change the world into a better one. This also means, that I expect others to keep up with my work ethic, and can’t accept poor excuses and limitations.
Some will consider this a downside, but the goal is important and I have the absolute determination to reach it.
My Vision of Leadership
Situational and inspirational leadership styles
I consider that there is no single leadership style that fits all circumstances and a good leader needs to adapt their style to a given situation (Mullins 2010). However, if I had to choose a leadership style, I’d use a combination of situational and inspirational leadership styles.
Here’s what a situational leadership style means.
Tip: The diagram below shows the situational leadership behaviour model by McKinsey & Company (McKinsey 2014).
McKinsey Situational Leadership Behaviour Model (McKinsey 2014)
McKinsey (2014) argued that applying different leadership styles will vary according to different levels of organizational health. The Baseline (see chart above) is a generic starting point, where leaders should evaluate the current situation of an organization.
In the second stage, the leader focuses on fact-based decisions, such as effective problem solving and recovery from failures. Organizations which are “moving on up” need leaders who are able to keep teams on task and direct them towards well-defined goals, while companies in the top quartiles are most effectively lead by inspirational leaders who use motivational behaviours.
Although the McKinsey model seems simple to apply, there are many managers who cannot identify correctly the stages of the organization. Therefore, they fail in implementing the situational model.
What Have I Learnt so Far?
Throughout my MBA in Global Business (Coventry, UK) course I have improved my knowledge in various areas of leadership. A handful of these skills can be applied in any future leadership role I will be assigned.
Firstly, I’ve learned that in a work environment it’s important to adopt an ethical approach. Good team ethics come from a leader that focuses on a combination of deontological and consequentialist ethics.
Additionally, I’ve learned about Tuckman’s team formation model which is a great tool, which if used properly can minimize conflicts and discrimination in teams.
Next, to become an effective leader, one needs to account for continuous changes.
Furthermore, communication skills are very important for leaders in order to nurture good relationships with employees, build trust and reduce resistance to change.
Finally, I’ve learned that leadership and management are two different concepts. You can be a good manager and be a lousy leader. Or one can be a great leader and a good manager. The efficiency of any leadership styles varies based on the context.
DISC Personality Test Result
My DISC Personality Test Result shows that my personality is high on dominance (44%) and influence (25%) and low on steadiness (18%) and compliance (13%).
This test indicates that I am well suited for competitive situations and challenging tasks. I find this description accurate, as I have always enjoyed performing difficult tasks and solving problems which require stepping outside of my comfort zone. I’m also someone who loves to exercise critical thinking and creative skills. Another advantage for my personality type is that I have a strong inner motivation to influence people and circumstances.
What Leadership Skills Should I Improve?
To become a better leader, I still have a lot to learn.
Fistly, I should apply different sets of skills and actions in different situations. Although I have been given leadership duties in my career such as managing a diverse team, there are still some areas that I would like to improve.
By applying the Johari Window model and receiving feedback from my MBA classmates in this course, I’ve learnt that my colleagues perceive me as a perfectionist, with a dominant personality but that I need to work on my time management. To develop these skills, I’ve prepared a 6-months personal development plan which aims to track my performance against my skills development goals.
Conclusion – My Vision of Leadership
I consider that leadership can be both born or taught. It cannot be inherited or transferred through generations. But with continuous development, training and persistence, anyone can become a successful leader today. As Thomas Friedman, a New York Times columnist, said “the age or average is over” and thus, being able to lead in the 21st century, you need “creativity, imagination and persistence”.
What are your thoughts?
What makes a great leader today?
Barton, D. (2016) Dominic Barton [online] available from <http://www.mckinsey.com/our-people/dominic-barton> [12 November 2016]
Gallo, C. (2015) How Steve Jobs Inspired People To ‘Dream Bigger’ [online]available from <https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/251476> [12 November 2016]
McKinsey&Co. (2014) Leadership In Context [online] available from <http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/leadership-in-context> [12 November 2016]
Wharton (2015) Mckinsey’s Dominic Barton On Leadership [online] available from <http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/mckinseys-dominic-barton-on-leadership-and-his-three-tries-to-make-partner/> [12 November 2016].