In the past week I have had three different friends recount bad manager stories. The similarities were striking considering the businesses were drastically different in size, scope and non-profit/for-profit status. Each friend has a boss that is fickle when making decisions, often caused by a selfish need. In one case it is to get ahead, another it is for personal financial gain and third has yet to reveal her reasons.
Most of the MJA community is in a position of leadership – volunteer and/or staff. And I would also guess that most of our readers evolved into their current position of leadership. So, how do you know what kind of leader you are? And whether it is important to know what kind of leader you are.
A bit of research into leadership showed that there are almost as many names for leadership styles as there are leaders:
According to the Wall Street Journal there are six styles: Visionary, Coaching, Affiliative, Democratic, Pacesetting and Commanding (if the names are not telling you can find the full description here – http://guides.wsj.com/management/developing-a-leadership-style/how-to-develop-a-leadership-style/)
About.com offers a quiz that results in a list of three styles and suggests you: “use an authoritative style if a group member lacks knowledge about a certain procedure.” “Use a participative style with group members who understand the objectives and their role in the task.” And, “use a delegative style if the group member knows more than you do about the task.” Click here to see the article.
Harvard Business School posted an article written by Mitch Maidique that offers six levels of leaders including: Sociopath, Opportunist, Chameleon, Achiever, Builder and Transcendent. These levels are based on the theory that the type of leader is based on who you serve – whether it is yourself or someone who can see beyond the goal to build an institution. The article can be read by clicking here.
And the community-driven Wikipedia cut to the core with Leadership –Section 1. Theories: “Leadership is ‘organizing a group of people to achieve a common goal.’ The leader may or may not have any formal authority. Students of leadership have produced theories involving traits, situational interaction, function, behavior, power, vision and values, charisma, and intelligence, among others.”
What I find most interesting is that if you were to read all of these articles from well-known and often well-respected publications they have one thing in common – a leader is someone who can adapt in situations. Someone who understands that she should be a “Builder” as her role as an Executive Director and “Coaching” in her volunteer role. That he can be “Participative” in one meeting and “Commanding” in the next.
And if you decide you would like to improve yourself or a leader in your organization, consider leadership training with a professional. It will help you gain the necessary skills so you can adapt and prove yourself successful.