I have been the coach of leaders for more than fifteen years now and every now and then I get approached by people asking me - what is a good style in leadership? How should I be? What should I say and do to get people to follow?
The thing is there is not one answer to that question. It depends on all kinds of factors. Who are you aiming to lead? Where? When? In what context? But most of all - Who are you?
We all have our personalities. A unique set of traits, skills and experiences. The most powerful leadership comes from being grounded in your own uniqueness and build new skills and experiences from there.
Self-knowledge as key to good leadership
Knowing yourself, strengths and weaknesses, and learning to handle these are at core of being able to be a good leader. To find your personal leadership style this is a good starting point. Working with your values, your personal visions your empowering and weakening traits and knowing how they affect you will help you be clear on who you want to be as leader and what you need to do to get there.
Knowing your personal leadership style also helps you choose the context in which you are suited to lead. Some of us are visionary leaders apt to point out the direction and inspire pioneers. Some of us are more administrative leaders apt in setting things in order, managing and developing structures and creating safety around us. Depending on your style different phases of an organisations life cycle might suit you more or less and knowing yourself helps you choose your opportunities more wisely.
Grounded but not static in your personal leadership style
This is not to say personal leadership style is static. Step one is finding out what it is right now. Knowing that about yourself you are also ready to start developing skills you lack, get experience in areas you miss and grow into a bigger picture. You will keep changing as long as you keep learning. To be a powerful leader you need to stay true to yourself though. When grounded in your personal leadership style new skills or methods become part of you and come naturally. Adding methods and theories that don't match your style is at high risk to be perceived as fake. It sounds and feels hollow.
This is why when challenging yourself into new skills like maybe facing conflict instead of avoiding it you need to do some deep work and connect this new way of acting with your own values, find your way of doing it, to develop a new grounded skill. In coaching this is often done by client facing a challenge working on it in session. Weighing against core values, exploring in the safe zone of coaching sessions different ways to express and/or act on new skills and finding his/her way in new thoughts. Then stepping back into daily routines trying out the new grounded way of acting feeling more secure within the knowledge that this is also me.
To find your personal leadership style you can start by exploring your own core values. Knowing them and how they affect you will help you recognize your present style as a leader. What kind of leader is a person affected by these values in this way?
Your values will if honoured give colour to the way you show up in the world. Find them, honour them and develop a personal leadership style in line with them and you will be one of these powerful leaders making an impact in their own way.