What are your leadership strengths and weaknesses?
No two leaders look exactly alike. Management is too complex a job for one style always to be the perfect fit, so workplaces are filled with a variety of different personalities.
As noted by Marie G. McIntyre, Ph.D. (also known as Your Office Coach), all managers bring both strengths and weaknesses to the table. And the interesting thing is that what you’re good at may even be a hindrance sometimes depending on the situation.
To get an idea of both the pros and cons of your leadership style, take a look at the following generalizations. Seeing which ones sound the most and least like you can offer insight on things you do well and where you might consider taking action to improve.
These managers are filled with a plethora of ideas. They love to peer into the future and think about how things might be bigger and better. As a leader, they try to inspire their charges to work toward farther-reaching goals.
The potential problem for visionaries is they sometimes spend so much time looking ahead that they don’t focus on the present as much as they should. They may overlook details, have difficulty implementing the solid steps necessary to get things done, or divide their attention between too many projects at once.
Nobody can accuse analyzers of making haphazard decisions. For every problem and issue faced, they thoroughly gather facts and data, weigh pros and cons, and logically evaluate options.
Unfortunately, so much information can lead to analysis paralysis – the inability to move forward on actions due to overthinking. Also, analyzers sometimes get so caught up in the factual aspect of decisions that they overlook the “people aspect” and come off as blunt or uncaring.
These managers truly enjoy interacting with people. Collaboration and morale rank high on their list of priorities, and their fondness for teamwork provides plenty of opportunities for group bonding.
The danger of a chatty atmosphere is that actual work may fail to get done. Socializers spending so much time on discussion or trying to reach a consensus limit progress made. Also, managers run the risk of putting too much stock in what others say instead of looking clear-eyed at the data.
Team members will always know a project’s goals and objectives when they have this type of manager. Directors provide clear, specific instructions that outline what needs to be done and when. New employees especially may appreciate this type of guidance.
The flipside of this great attention to orderly progress is coming off as a micromanager. Staff members may feel their boss doesn’t trust them or lacks confidence in their abilities. Insistence on sticking with the plan also leaves little room for creativity.
Folks with this style establish a general direction for where projects need to go but leave implementation decisions to others. As long as the overall results get achieved, a delegator is comfortable giving up authority.
Some workers thrive under such freedom, and delegating can be an effective way to encourage people to step up to the plate. However, a lack of clarity also can produce frustration and poor results. Employees may worry that they don’t know what you want, and what they deliver may look different than what you intended.
Improving your own style
Unsure how to address areas in which you scored low? Awareness starts the ball rolling. Effective leaders choose the best approach for a given situation rather than simply falling back on their natural style.
For example, a manager prone to acting as a director might find that letting a reliable, experienced employee assume greater control of his own projects encourages growth. A visionary might look carefully at what’s going on at the moment and refrain from trying out a new idea until a time when the staff doesn’t have so much on its plate. An analyzer could make a conscious effort to seek input from others instead of naturally siding with the data-backed best choice.
Also, it can help to examine the managerial styles of others at your company and in your network. Identify who is strong in the area(s) in which you’d like to improve, and look to them as role models. Leaders can learn from one another, with the result being a greater arsenal of effective management tools.