Leadership Presence Checklist

leadership styles

There are six distinctive leadership styles, based on Harvard University research that leaders need in their repertoire. The skill is recognizing when to activate, and how to blend or merge the various styles. How do you measure up? Take inventory of your personal leadership styles.

Three long-term styles:

Visionary

A Visionary style sets standards and monitors performance in relation to the larger vision. Sometimes, a visionary style may be described as inspirational. Consider for a moment how it would feel like to work on a team with no vision.A thorough understanding of the organization’s vision and the skill to articulate it to team members is fundamental to this leadership style:

  • Do you know the vision of your company?
  • Can you articulate it to your team?

Participative

This style complements and combines well with a Visionary style. Because it recognizes teams versus individuals, it can be a challenging environment for achievement-driven team members. This is particularly true when it’s overused; leaders may appear incapable of making a decision without team consensus.

Leaders with a Participative style:

  • Hold regular meetings
  • Listen to employees’ concerns
  • Drill down to the How
  • Identify opportunities for positive feedback
  • Stress the importance of how employee morale impacts performance
  • Avoid performance-related confrontations

Coaching

A Coaching style is focused on long-term development of team members by providing ongoing instruction, as well as balanced feedback. Leaders with this style are typically very experienced in their roles and as a result, have a high comfort level with delegating. In the best-case scenarios, coaching leaders are prepared to trade off immediate results for long-term development of team members. A willingness to accept short-term failures and disappointments is indispensable for this style. Without this component, the “coach” will be viewed as phony and fake.

Three short-term styles for specific, usually limited application
Affiliative

An Affiliative Style:

  • Identifies opportunities for positive feedback
  • Stresses the importance of how employee morale impacts performance
  • Avoids performance-related confrontations

Although a leader with this style may appear to be supportive and want to be friends with everyone – when overused, these leaders may have a hard time making tough decisions. With time, people may take advantage. Following innumerable chances, opportunities and latitude, when there are disappointing results, this leader may become frustrated – shifting to tight reins and more control.

Pacesetting

This style pairs well with both a Visionary style and a Coaching style.
The Pacesetter:

  • Is apprehensive about delegating
  • Takes away responsibility when high performance is not forthcoming
  • Rescues risk-prone situations

Faced with tight deadlines, this can be a very effective style. It can lift spirits and resonates with people who learn by watching. If overused, even the highest achievers may start to decrease their discretionary effort while other less performance-focused team members may feel overwhelmed by the Pacesetter.

Directive

This style best reserved for critical situations. The captain of a fire department is a prime example of a leader who must use this style.

The Directive leader:

  • Controls tightly
  • Explains by directing or commanding
  • Motivates by stating the negative consequences of noncompliance
  • Offers short-term clarity and action plan

When overused in non-threatening situations, it’s often demotivating; nothing happens without the input of the leader – creating a bottleneck with the team.

Learn more about our Leadership Presence workshops for corporations and individuals.

Leadership Presence demands 6 leadership styles

leadership styles

No single style is more important than any other. What is important, is to be aware of the six essential leadership styles.

In today’s competitive business environment, leaders face a daily challenge to exceed expectations. The ability to remain focused and proactive, while steering the ship with a steady hand and delivering results requires Leadership Presence. Unquestionably, a nimble ability to adapt to the shifting swings in corporate life is a mandatory component.

At Corporate Class Inc., we recognize that Leadership Presence requires this repertoire of leadership styles for varying situations. Consider playing a round of golf with just one club – would you play a good game? Likely not. The same holds true for a repertoire of leadership styles. While golfers must learn to choose from 14 different clubs for every shot, aspiring leaders are faced with only six leadership styles.

Leadership Presence for aspiring leaders

It’s imperative to understand that there is, indeed, a learning curve. It’s steep, but attainable. One of the first principles of Leadership Presence is that there is no single profile:

“There’s a tendency to equate leadership with command…yet leadership comes in many forms.”
— Dr. Kathleen Kelley Reardon, USC management professor, leading corporate consultant, author and blogger (Excerpt from The Secret Handshake)

These six styles are applicable to any company, any industry and any culture

Although studies have shown that leaders typically have a very narrow range of styles, according to Harvard University findings these six styles create an optimal toolkit and equip people for every situation:

1. Visionary style

A Visionary style provides short, and long-term vision, direction and goals. It’s a style that cannot be overused but it’s most effective paired with other styles to influence employees by explaining both the organization’s interests and employee interests.

2. Participative style

A Participative style invites employees to participate in the development of decisions and actively seeks opportunities for consensus. It is often characterized as a supportive style. A Participative style does not reward individuals but the group as a whole.

3. Coaching style

A Coaching style encourages long-term development of employees. Leaders should know the individual short and long-term development goals for every team member and strive to help them achieve their objectives. A coaching style is logical and persuasive; it relies on careful explanations and reasoning.

4. Affiliative style

An Affiliative style focuses on people, not results – and places emphasis on developing relationships with employees.

5. Pacesetting style

A Pacesetting style leads by example in an atmosphere where there is little patience for poor performance. Pacesetters actively jump in and steer, instead of delegating.

6. Directive Style

A Directive Style uses tight control and demands immediate compliance of employees. It provides instruction, not direction, by telling employees what to do.

What’s important to understand is that when it comes to Leadership Presence, the emphasis is on having a full repertoire of styles. Visionary, Participative and Coaching are all categorized as “long-term styles.” They may be applied in combination and set the tone for sustained productivity.

Affiliative, Directive and Pacesetting are categorized as “short-term.” These three are often effective in highly emotional, difficult and extreme situations. Consider the golf club analogy. Some, like the sand wedge, have very specific and limited application and this applies to short-term leadership styles.

Learn more about our Leadership Presence workshops for corporations and individuals.

Why anonymous feedback from direct reports, colleagues and management is vital for high-level advancement

feedback

Last week we introduced Deloitte’s latest report that encapsulates results from its global survey on human capital trends. The report is very clear; in the future “feedback” will increasingly replace the more traditional employee appraisals.

Today, these feedback reports are often 360-assessments. At CCI, we frequently conduct these reports for corporate candidates. The process includes debriefing and coaching sessions with each individual.

Also known as multi-source feedback, anonymous comments from an employee’s direct reports, colleagues and boss, along with the person’s self-evaluation make-up the feedback. The objective is to bring to light top attributes for professional development purposes. The debriefing/coaching segment is critical to help the individual read between the lines.

Case study: Tony’s actions were at odds with his goals

One of the surest signs of true candidates for high-level advancement is their acceptance of less than positive feedback. In CCI’s recently published White Paper, we describe a situation with challenging circumstances that involved unfavorable feedback.

When we first met “Tony” at a workshop, he absolutely dazzled us with his effortless, graceful ability to engage people and his profoundly professional presentation skills. During a preliminary review of his 360-assessment, with feedback from across Tony’s organization, we were stunned by the discrepancy between what we had witnessed and the reported behavior. Colleagues and senior leaders found him prickly and short-tempered, especially during group meetings. We were baffled.

Shortly after reading the feedback, we were scheduled for more extensive training sessions at his firm’s HQ. Immediately, we connected with Tony to informally chat about the disparity between our experience and the comments about his imperious “performances” in the boardroom. We did not mince words, but told him straight out about his unrestrained conduct.

Tony got it immediately. He explained that he became impatient; he was trying to move things forward. Tony also revealed his personal ambitions to advance to a very specific role within the C-Suite. Our role was to help him understand that his actions were at odds with his goals.

Discover how this situation was resolved. Did Tony move to a higher plateau or crash and burn? Read the full story, Benefit #6: To motivate the next generation of leaders. Download the WP >

Feedback timelines

Typically, there is an 18-month hiatus between the first series of feedback and coaching sessions, and the follow-up series. This allows participants time to evolve. With a narrower window of only three to six months, there really isn’t sufficient time to see significant development. An interesting sidebar to the opening initiative is how participants respond to feedback. Many are surprised by the comments and perceptions. “I didn’t know people saw me as a leader,” is a frequent admission. Obviously, this positive information spurs the person to welcome L&D opportunities and reinforces a maturity of action and behavior.

The other side of the coin, often apparent among corporate stars, occurs when the feedback reports arrogance. As more and more frequently today, leadership roles go to people with highly advanced “people skills,” in this case, the organization is giving the person a heads-up!

By drawing attention to address this potentially career-limiting flaw and providing sufficient time within the 18-month time frame, there is a better chance for awakened empathy.

If you would like to read details about our Assessment process and its application for your organization… Learn more >

If you missed last week’s blog about Deloitte’s latest report…Learn more >

Bright Ideas: Incite Creativity in the Workplace

idea_1024x570Creative workplace environments should not be limited to so-called “creative” industries such as graphic design, film, or the arts. In fact, creativity should be present in any workplace, no matter the industry or department. Whether you work in HR, sales, or finance, creativity must be encouraged for your company to advance. Here are a few ideas to foster creativity in the workplace.

  • Encourage a collaborative environment.
    In many cases, the saying “two heads are better than one” often rings true in a workplace. Staff members often bring different academic backgrounds and various professional experiences to the table. Encourage employees to work together and combine their various skills and experiences into new ideas.

    You can encourage collaboration by assigning group projects, creating team-building activities, or re-adjusting physical spaces at work. Even providing an open-concept space in an office set up with cubicles or closed offices can make a big difference.

  • Invite new ideas and foster open conversations.
    Some employees may feel shy or intimidated to contribute their ideas, especially if they are new to the company or inexperienced. But everyone can contribute something unique based on their own individual perspectives and backgrounds.

    Invite dialogue by creating “safe” and low-pressure environments where employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas. This could include a staff bulletin board, an online forum available only to staff in your company, or a monthly meeting designed for brainstorming and casual yet productive conversation.

  • Inspire employees to think differently by adopting a new routine.
    We often become stuck in a rut when we fall into habits, performing the same routine day after day. But mixing up our quotidian routines can expose us to new thought patterns and new perspectives. Bring a new routine into your workplace by providing staff with opportunities to participate in trainings or lunch and learns. Whatever the topic may be, new learning opportunities can spark ideas and inspire employees to continue learning both on and off the job.
  • Allow others to lead.
    As a leader in your company, you may be accustomed to being the one designated to lead initiatives and forge ahead with business developments. But an opportunity to take the reins can provoke other employees to perform their best and strive to make a good impact on the company.

    Invite others to lead where they may not otherwise have a chance, even on smaller projects or initiatives within the organization. This gesture will also demonstrate to employees that their original ideas matter to the company and that they are valued.

To learn more about creativity in the workplace, see Forbes’ “Six Ideas to Promote Innovation in the Workplace” or Entrepreneur’s “The Three Elements Needed to Build Creative Genius in the Workplace.” How do you incite creativity in your workplace?