What kind of leader are you?

14 February 2020 -

What kind of leader are you?Your personal leadership style could have a big impact on your organisation, as well as helping to develop and retain key team members

Nick Levine

Just as everyone has an individual personality, everyone will have an individual leadership style; and every type of personal leadership style has its own pros and cons.

It’s important your leadership style resonates closely with your core strengths, personality type, and cultural values. Your approach doesn’t have to be set in stone and can change over time, depending on the needs of the organisation and your personality or beliefs. Most of all, your leadership style should be values-based, as this encourages your employees and colleagues to respect your reasoning and actions.

“Exhibiting the qualities of leadership is what makes someone an effective leader,” writes Simon Sinek in The Infinite Game, one of the shortlisted books for CMI’s Management Book of the Year Awards 2020. “Qualities like honesty, integrity, courage, resilience, perseverance, judgement and decisiveness.”

So how should you develop your leadership style in a way that will encourage your colleagues to trust and respect you?

Think about your personality

It is important that your leadership style has a natural affinity with your personality. The PAEI model created by Dr Ichak Adizes in the 1970s, breaks down leaders into four different types: Producer, Administrator, Entrepreneur, and Integrator. 

You can sign into ManagementDirect and see the full breakdown of the PAEI model here.

A well-balanced organisation will incorporate a mix of leaders from each category, but individual managers are more likely to be specifically suited to one of these four roles. Integrator roles are likely to suit extroverts, who are focused on building relationships across the business to ensure the whole company is driven towards the same goals.

Alternatively, managers with less outgoing personalities are more likely to be better suited to producer and administrator roles that are centred on output and process as opposed to communications and relationships.

If you are unsure of your personality type, consider taking the Myers Briggs test, which helps participants assess which tropes they conform to.

Understand your strengths and weaknesses

Reviewing different types of styles will allow you to reflect on and spot your strengths and weaknesses as a leader. Once you have identified the style that fits with your personality, use this as an opportunity to create a personal development plan to fill gaps that may be lacking in the organisation.

Consider your personality type and behaviours in the context of the four different roles defined in the PAEI model, to gauge which gaps can be overcome by self-improvement, and those which may need to be filled by making external hires or promoting more junior team members into managerial roles. It’s important to not make this a box-ticking exercise, but to focus on finding people who are able to lead and inspire respect with exemplary hard skills. If these two areas aren’t covered, you’ll only be hiring leaders who are unable to lead.

“I know many people who sit at the highest levels of organisations who are not leaders,” writes Sinek. “They may hold rank, and we may do as they tell us because they have authority over us, but that does not mean we trust them or that we would follow them. There are others who may hold no formal rank or authority, but they have taken the risk to care for their people. They are able to create a space in which we can be ourselves and feel safe sharing what’s on our mind. We trust those people, we would follow them anywhere and we willingly go the extra mile for them, not because we have to, but because we want to.”

Build out a balanced team

Taking the time to understand and define your leadership style also creates an opportunity for larger companies to build out their managerial teams. It is very unlikely for individuals to possess the traits associated with all of the roles in the PAEI model, and incorporating a management team with a complementary leadership style, as opposed to overlapping skills, will give businesses the best chance of achieving their long-term strategic goals.

“One of the primary jobs of any leader is to make new leaders, to help grow the kind of leaders who know how to build organisations [up],” Sinek says.

Depending on the sector or stage businesses are at in their life cycle, they may need to weight leadership in a specific style. For example, early-stage companies and/or those operating within a disruptive sector will be more likely to require entrepreneurial leader types, who are risk-takers and like to try out new ideas.

It’s never too late to change your style

You may seek to change your leadership style if it is not generating the intended organisational results. Depending on your skill set and personality it may be possible to switch from one leadership role to another.

Alternatively, a new approach may be required if the market you are operating in matures; early-stage businesses may be burdened with more regulation as they develop, and in these instances would require a style more suited to process rather than an unstructured one. This may create a necessity to switch from an entrepreneurial style to an administrator one.

The effectiveness of your own style should be monitored annually alongside company performance.

Are you on top of current leadership thinking? Check out the longlist for CMI’s Management Book of the Year Awards 2020.

Don’t forget to measure your leadership qualities against those outlined in CMI’s Professional Standards.


Image: Unsplash

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