6 Questions to Identify Your Leadership Style
When you’re hiring, you invest all kinds of energy in determining exactly what kind of candidate will make the best hire. How much experience is required? How important is education? But let’s be honest, those are the easy questions. Defining the skill set and work style of the perfect hire can be very challenging.
That’s where I come in. One of my roles as an executive recruiter is to help hiring managers gain clarity on who, really, will be the best fit for their team. I do that by asking a series of increasingly deep and probing questions that will guide my search and help me vet my short list of candidates. But as a recruiter that’s truly committed – and able – to find you the best hire, I’m not just trying to get a clear picture and definition of your best candidate. I’m trying to get a clear picture of you. And I can’t tell you how often this one little question seems to stump the hiring manager:
“How would you describe your leadership style?”
If you stammer out a list of sweet little platitudes about yourself like, “I’m fair, I’m approachable, and I keep my team motivated,” I’m guessing you’ve never seriously asked yourself this question. Do it now. And take some time to really understand how you approach your team, your management responsibilities, and your leadership challenges. The way you answer this question will not only help you identify the best candidates for your team. It will help you retain top talent by leveraging your individual leadership strengths and finding ways to mitigate your weaknesses (yes, we do all have them). I’ve put together this little quiz to help you get started.
Quiz: What Kind of Boss Are You?
1. Are You the Ruler of the Rules?
You believe that the path to optimum team performance is maintaining tight control over the efforts and activities of each individual on your team. Once you’ve assigned a task, your employees are expected to carry it out, not waste time questioning the task’s value or your rationale for assigning it. You are decisive and unwavering once you’ve made a decision and this can inspire confidence throughout your team. Operating this way makes it easier to identify high performers and under performers but it can prevent creative problem solving within the team.
2. Are You A Technocrat?
You love your data and rely heavily on reports to understand how things are going within your own team. You take an analytical approach to your work and you expect everyone in your department to be as fluent with technology and information as you are. While you’re likely to maintain high levels of accuracy, precision and timeliness, you may find it difficult to rally your team around big ideas or less data-driven priorities.
3. Are You a Hands Off Leader
You believe in empowering your team to make their own decisions, manage their own time and efforts, and come to you if they need to talk. Nobody wants a micromanager, right? Well, that may be true but if you back too far away from the daily action of your team, you’re likely to be the last one to know that trouble is brewing, either because of an individual underperformer or larger issues threatening the effectiveness of the team.
4. Are You a Consensus Builder?
Your high needs for harmony between coworkers leads you to seek consensus on almost everything. (If you worry about whether anyone will be offended if you serve jelly donuts instead of bagels at the next meeting, this is you.) Your earnest desire to let everyone have a vote and be heard can inspire a sense of joint ownership among your employees. But if you can’t make a move without making sure everyone gives the thumbs up, the truth is, your team is probably feeling unnecessarily burdened.
5. Are You a People Pleaser?
You are uncomfortable with conflict – so much so that you sometimes find yourself saying whatever it takes to avoid disagreements or run the risk of people being made at you. Wanting to be liked by your employees is normal. But if you side step difficult conversations by telling everyone what you think they want to hear, it will only trip you up in the long run.
6. Are You A Transformer?
You love walking into a challenging situation, diagnosing the problem, prescribing the solution, and overseeing the process of achieving that solution. While you may not love conflict, you don’t shy away from it if that’s what it takes to get to your vision. Leaders like you shine like superstars when the transformation is complete. But don’t expect to hang around or continue leading the group when the tough times are over. You thrive on change. And maintaining the status quo just isn’t your thing.
Still not sure which leader you are? Don’t worry about that. You probably have some traits from more than one type. The important thing is to simply spend some time considering these types – and the impact your style will have on your team. Most managers have towering strengths and glaring weaknesses. That’s ok. The trick is knowing yourself and being willing to grow.
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