Master the Art of Leadership: How Self-Awareness and Leadership Style Flexibility Can Transform Your Team Performance

Wednesday, 14 June 2023

You have now been entrusted with the mantle of leadership at work, and now you're wondering, "What's next?" or "How can I be the best leader for my team?"

Well, I've got some good news for you - leadership isn't some mystical, elusive skill that is extremely difficult to learn.

It's basically about knowing yourself, understanding the people you're leading, and having the ability to adjust your approach to all specific situations you're facing.

Let's break it down.

Self-awareness is your secret weapon in leadership. It's about honesty, understanding your strengths and weaknesses, and not being afraid to look in the mirror to become an authentic leader.

Think of it as getting to know the team captain (that's you!) before you start directing the rest of the team members.

But how can you ramp up your self-awareness?

It's time to roll up your sleeves and get reflective - consider your past actions, listen to what others say about your leadership style, and be open to feedback. You can take a self-assessment or engage a coach to give you some insights.

Here's why it's important: the better you know yourself, the better you can understand others and adapt your leadership style to suit your team and the situation.

Leadership isn't a one-size-fits-all deal.

There are different styles, and each one shines in different scenarios.

Remember Daniel Goleman? He's the person who made Emotional Intelligence cool long before it was a buzzword.

He identified six leadership styles - Coercive/Commanding, Authoritative, Affiliative, Democratic, Pacesetting, and Coaching.

The trick here is to avoid picking one and stick to it. It's about flexing your style according to the situation and your team's needs.

Let's say you're leading a team through a major change. An authoritative style might be the best option, inspiring your team with a clear future vision. If your team's morale has taken a hit, you should choose an affiliative style, focusing on building emotional bonds and harmony.

Leadership isn't about forcing your team to adapt to your style. It's about you adapting your style to your team's needs.

And that is where self-awareness comes into play. It helps you understand your team's needs and choose the best style.

But remember, it's not about fitting yourself into one style. It's about keeping all these styles up and using them when the situation calls for it.

Goleman emphasized that using these styles is more than finding one that matches your personality.

It's about strategically choosing the best style for each situation and using your emotional intelligence to execute it to improve your team's performance to achieve the objectives, goals, or outcomes.

So there you have it.

Want to step up your leadership game?

You can start with self-awareness, learn to understand your team and flex your leadership style as the situation demands.

It's going to take much work, but hey, no one said leadership was an easy thing to do.

The good news? You're already on the right path by reading this article :)

Remember, each leadership style has its depth that can be explored, and there are real-world examples and specific strategies to help you master them.

But that's another article for another day.

Practice these insights now, and watch your leadership skills level up!