When I go looking for a new car, I am always amazed at how many choices there are available. I am also surprised why people choose cars that seem so unappealing to me or ones, which would not complement the way I live and work. Since I am a trainer, I am always throwing large flip charts into the back of my car, so I need an automobile with an easy lift back. I also live in a climate that has snow in the winter, so I typically choose an SUV to insure I can get to clients in different weather conditions. Well just like car models, there are many different styles of leading and not one style fits all leadership sizes. Of course that doesn’t mean that certain ways of leading, just like car types, can sometimes be more beneficial in different situations.
Last week I met a leader of a marketing department in one of my workshops who seemed very successful with her team. In fact, several of the team members were in the program too, and validated what a great manager she was. Her leadership style was described as Hands-Off and the opposite of a micro-manager. The members of her team applauded her the way she allowed them to “do their thing” as long as goals were met. Would this style work for all teams and all leaders in all circumstances?
Before you answer, yes, think about it. Is a Hands-On style preferable in any environment? What about these team situations?
New procedures are being implemented
Anytime there is a shift in the flow of work, it may be necessary for leaders to roll up their sleeves and observe how the process is moving. If we want to make sure the new set of steps runs effectively, we may want to be more than a fly on the wall, but rather more like a beaver helping to build a dam. Does the change make sense? Does everybody clearly understand his or her new responsibilities?
Personality conflicts on the team
Although we may want to initially allow team members to sort out their differences, there may be a time when that just doesn’t work. Ask yourself if it may be best to meet with the sparring parties to help ease the tension and to facilitate a discussion to help negotiate a settlement. Stepping in may be necessary to allow a cool down and refocus.
Deadlines are being missed
The buck stops with the team leader and that means we are ultimately responsible for not meeting our goals or working in a timely way. We may need to uncover the reason why we can’t complete deliverables in the timeframe requested by our clients. Here leaders must jump in and help or analyze the reason for the delay.
A new team is forming
Whenever we create a new team or are asked to lead a team that we have not worked with before, it is probably prudent to be involved in learning the daily operations as well as getting to know the members of the team. Recognizing the strengths and blind spots of people we work alongside, can help a new team get up to speed more quickly.
What is your leadership style- Hands-Off or Hands-On? Do you lead with both?