What’s the best leadership style out there? The one you create for yourself. Stand out in business by finding your own authentic way to lead others to success. But the process takes some conscious thought. Let’s take a look at how to get to know yourself as a leader so that you can create the best style of leadership: your own.
Leadership styles can vary – you’ve probably encountered quite a few along the way. There are thousands of leadership books and every book seems to suggest they have the secret to success as a leader. Do they? Maybe. Maybe not.
Merely adopting a leadership style from a book or from someone else doesn’t reflect your actual leadership style. You’d be selling yourself short to copy someone else. Plus, “their” style might involve values or missions that don’t line up with yours, which creates internal conflict and perhaps awkward business interactions that don’t work.
5 tips for creating your own leadership style
Creating your own leadership style means making time for self-reflection – ask yourself, ‘who am I and what kind of leader do I want to be?’ Successfully standing out as a leader in business means keeping your approach authentic.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look up to the leaders who’ve inspired us. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel, but there is a reason to customize your own wheel. Discovering your own leadership style is an exercise in consciously thinking about what kind of leader you want to be. Click this video to learn more on the best leadership style for you.
Know your values
Values are our guiding principles and they come from a variety of sources, including parents, community, and other environmental factors. Those principles can be stated or unstated; easily recognizable and well-defined or far more subtle and difficult to define.
Knowing your values means that you’ve taken the time to identify your stated and unstated values. Knowing your values makes you prepared to clearly state those values and use them during both difficult and prosperous times.
Your organization has a set of values as well, so it’s important to identify and understand what those are and they fit in with your values. This kind of conscious effort helps you understand and clearly align your personal and organizational values so that you can stand behind clear and consistent messaging. Unstated values create a guessing game and can lead to inconsistencies in messaging. Even worse: when leadership doesn’t live up to the stated values, which has led to the downfall of many organizations in the past.
Wondering how to clearly define your stated and unstated values? Click here for a helpful exercise to work through your core values, unlock your authenticity, and discover who you are as a leader.
Determine the key leadership traits that align with your values
Can traits be changed? The short answer is yes. Developing a new trait may take time and consistent effort, but it can be done. It’s true that some personal traits are just a part of who you are. However, there is always room for growth if you consciously choose to do so. Those traits might include honesty, decisiveness, and even humor.
As you identify your core values, you can also ask yourself if you’ve discovered any traits that actually do not serve those values. If that’s the case, you now have a clear picture of which traits and behaviors to modify so that your words and your actions are aligned.
Understand the skills you need to live up to values
To become an outstanding leader, soft skills (like diplomacy, communication, compassion) are just as important as the hard skills like technical expertise within your field. As you learn more about your core values, it’s also essential to identify and understand the skills that you need in order to live up to those values. Accounting, finance, public speaking, etc.
All of this is in service of making sure our words and actions match up for a consistent leadership style, which is the best way to stand out in business as an authentic leader.
Understand your personal communication style
How do you come across to others? Do you listen more than you talk? It’s important to understand your own personal communication style for effective leadership. After all, it’s your team that’s out there following your lead and doing what you say. So understanding the best way to communicate that gets the job done is essential to consistent business success.
If you’ve ever dealt with a team that seems to be moving in different directions, it might be because the stated and unstated values and traits are not aligned. No one knows what the company truly stands for. Your ability to communicate your values and traits will determine your ability to make those values and traits reflective in your business and your team.
Clearly understand your priorities
Getting your mission done is your priority, but what comes after that? As you define your personal values and your organization’s values, the tasks of your business should be reflective of those values. Your priorities should reflect what’s most important to you.
As a leader, what do you feel is important? Make a list and clearly communicate that to your team. It’s okay to allow your priorities to shift over time – you can still re-rack and stack that list as things develop and progress.
The bottom line on finding your own leadership style
No matter how many leadership books there are, finding your own leadership style has to come from you and your own unique set of values. Don’t just grab a book off the shelf and copy their journey – take the time to develop a leadership style that works for you because it’s based on your journey and what you feel is important.
Look to the leaders you admire as a shining light, to identify what resonates with you and what doesn’t resonate with you. Adapt a style that’s authentic and unique. Don’t worry if you don’t figure it all out in one sitting – it’s an ongoing process.
To dive deeper into identifying your own leadership style, take a look at our Leadership Style Guide worksheet.
For more guidance on great leadership techniques to take your leadership journey to the next level, head to Evil Genius Leadership Consultants for weekly or bi-weekly coaching packages that are tailored to your own unique needs. We offer a free initial consultation so you can determine if Evil Genius Leadership coaching is right for you risk-free.