The really fun thing about recording podcasts is, your stream of consciousness is often recorded for everyone to hear. In his very first question to me, Minter Dial asked me, “What kind of leader are you?”

My immediate reaction was, “A servant leader.”

What’s that actually mean? I believe servant leadership is about putting our team’s interests ahead of our own. It’s believing the business will thrive when our people thrive. Which, by the way, will make my job so much fun and incredibly fulfilling!

This kind of leader isn’t a pushover or a doormat. In fact, one way of defining servant leadership is “caringly assertive” (check out my caringly assertive model here). Another, to quote Katz Kiely, is “Human Leadership” (check out the podcast I recorded with her here). Or, as I recently mused, this shift is sort of like the difference between hosting and entertaining. In many ways, I think servant leadership takes a traditional paradigm and turns it on its head.

Not resonating with you?

Lots of other types of leaders are very successful. Here are five common leadership styles:

1. Visionary: “Picture this”

2. Autocractic: “Follow me”

3. Pace-Setting: “Do as I do”

4. Democratic: “Participation builds consensus”

5. Coaching: “Consider this”

6. Affiliative: “People come first” – this is perhaps closest to the concept of servant leadership.

Check out this article for more on Daniel Golman’s model.

Which of these resonate with you? And why does it matter?

Because defining your leadership style allows you to get intentional with how you lead. It enables you to reflect on how your leadership approach progresses your vision and goals. After all, an impactful leader is clear on who they are and how they operate.

Then, having this clarity helps you to lead in a consistent way, and consistency builds trust amongst your people and teams.

By the way, you may not fall into just one camp.

Rather, you might find yourself employing several different leadership styles at any given time.

  • Different people may respond best to different styles, and situational leaders adapt their style with agility to maximize effectiveness.
  • Different company cultures may require or suit one style over the other. So, when joining a new organization, it pays to observe and identify what seems to resonate and have staying power.
  • Different roles and levels demand agility in leadership. This means that, often with a promotion, we need to reflect on what worked for us in the past. We should not assume that what worked for us then, will work for us now or in the future.

Actually, Minter and I talked about more than leadership styles.

Some other fun questions he threw at me were:

  • How do you deal with trite conversation?
  • What’s your secret to insightful, revealing interviews?
  • Does your social legacy or life mission every change?

Listen to the full podcast here.

Related Articles: My Caringly Assertive model, The difference between Hosting and Entertaining,

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