Is there one best leadership style?

By Hilda Asuman

8/19/2009 9:38:10 AM -

One word which has become synonymous with seminars, trainings, and corporate success stories is Leadership. Almost all successful mentors attribute their success to their leadership style and experience. Many heads in corporate organizations have attributed their successful feats to their leadership styles, whiles prospective employees have made leadership history a constant feature of their resumes.

Leadership can be defined as the capacity to guide, influence, and direct people. Before a person can influence another, there is the need for a personal assessment to unearth a unique selling proposition [what would make a leader appeal to others and make him or her stand out]; influencing people is a direct sales approach! It is thus worthwhile to ask questions periodically; as a leader, who am I? From where do I derive my energy to function? As a leader am I aware of my weaknesses and how am I working on these to impact positively on those I mentor?

How can leadership be effective? Is leadership really a one size fit all approach? Most leadership approaches sum up the concept of leadership with a formula. But a single approach to leadership is insufficient. Consequently trying to copy the leadership style of a great leader may not be the best approach. The reason is simple; we are all different, and one's personality type determines the type of leadership style. While because of their personality type some leaders are traditionalists and stabilizers; others also because of their type are naturally visionary and future oriented. What's more, some leaders operate from a purely logical, cause-effect approach, whiles others want to reflect on what really matters to them and others with a pragmatic view of facts and experiences.

On another level, some leaders are naturally sociable, maintain a walk-in office, seek center stage, are people-centered and active and may even be energized by walking from room to room talking to and shaking hands with peers and even subordinates. Other leaders, on the other hand, have greater depth, more intimate and private, focus more, listen more than they talk, and more reflective as they give their actions more thought; as such they tend to be inwardly focused and contained, avoid crowds and shun the limelight. Both approaches can produce great leaders but only if leaders are willing to work on their shortfalls which prevent them from leading efficiently.

Operating in your comfort zone by tapping into what you naturally do with ease is not sufficient to make you a great leader, as you are unable to identify let alone work on your blind spots. In fact, every one of our natural strengths and abilities excessively used becomes a liability - indeed it makes you become a vulnerable leader. That is not to say that leaders should not use their abilities; surely leaders must use their natural strengths – as traditionalist, or as troubleshooters, or energizers, or as visionaries. But this is not enough; those who become great leaders identify their non-preferred areas, and consciously learn, as these do not come naturally.

Any leader who falls into any of the above categories (and many more) has weaknesses which need to be worked at in order to become as impactful as desired. Bearing in mind that the led may also fall into different categories; leaders may need to vary their styles to suit the needs of the people they lead. How can leaders effectively tread the personal discovery journey of knowing who they really are?

Many leadership trainings and seminars have been given a whole different twist with the Myers Briggs Type Indicator [MBTI®] personality assessment tool. MBTI® is the world's most popular and most trusted personality assessment tool. It enables you to identify your type, highlights your leadership strengths as well as weaknesses and charts out action plan to work on your blind spots. In Ghana, many leaders are discovering themselves in a whole new way which has impacted positively on follower loyalty and cooperation.

Credit: Hilda Asuman
Pmi First Consults
Email: [email protected]

Disclaimer: "The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article." © Hilda Asuman.