What’s your leadership style? Do you have one? Here are a few common dos and don’ts of entrepreneurs you should either follow or avoid in order to drive success in your line of business.
After years and years of research, management experts have established there are four major leadership prototypes such as the pragmatist, the idealist, the steward and the diplomat. We will discuss them in a bit. Before we do that, let us first clarify what differentiates them.
There are two philosophical differences that set these leadership styles apart, researchers suggest. One of them is the extent to which a leader is directive or open. For instance, do you prefer your employees to complete their task the way you want them to or the way they feel they should do it?
Another fundamental philosophical difference is the extent to which a leader is competitive or collaborative. For instance, is it important for you to like the people you work with, or you don’t care much about that as long as they perform well?
So, what is your leadership style? Before you jump to conclusions, let us quickly go through all leader profiles.
Pragmatic leaders have high standards by definition and expect themselves and their employees with no exception to meet those standards. They are determined, competitive and particularly keen on achieving their goals.
Pragmatists are strict, bold thinkers and have no fear of taking risks, sometimes they even enjoy it. Working for a pragmatist is therefore far from being easy, but rewarding. Although the job may sometimes seem like an apprenticeship under the tutelage of a skilled artist, the opportunities to learn and acquire news skills on a team led by a pragmatist are multifold and never second-best. While it offers great potential for personal development, it may also trigger burnout and vehement criticism. You definitely need to have a thick skin to be able to work for a pragmatist.
Accounting for virtually 8 to 12 percent of American leaders, the pragmatist style is the least common, experts suggest. Interestingly enough, it seems to be quite common among top-level executives (read more at Getabstract).
Idealists are achievers by definition. An idealist leader believes in the positive potential of their team. They want to learn and grow, and therefore want their employees to do the same. Idealists are charismatic, drawing everyone around them with their strong sense of intuition and idealism. They are open-minded, value and praise creativity both their own and others.
Being on an idealist’s team offers the chance to be creative and speak one’s mind. In most cases, employees may find it easier to work for an idealist because they recognize an equal voice in their superior, while they can learn by doing without fearing red balls of fiery criticism will tumble on them at the tiniest mistake discovered.
Although there may not be much structure or process as with other types of leaders, which in turn may be a plus or a minus, depending on the employee, working under the leadership of an idealist is most often enriching experience offering the right people the opportunity to brainstorm, share ideas and learn from each other. Cross-collaboration is at its best with idealists!
Statistics indicate that the idealist leadership style is common for nearly 15 to 20 percent of American leaders.
Stewards are the supporting pillars of any corporation. They are loyal, dependable and helpful. Generally, steward leaders provide a stable and calm working environment for their employees. They value rules, process, and cooperation above all else.
Embracing the view that a chain can only be as strong as its weakest link, stewards take their time to train and explain things to those struggling to keep up.
While working for a steward may not be as challenging and as rewarding in point of individual growth and recognition as working for a pragmatist or an idealist, employees find the long-sought-for security, cohesion, and consistency. Stewards are also the kind of leaders that other department managers or leaders rely on in edgy situations.
Similar to the idealist prototype, steward leadership style accounts for around 15 to 20 percent of American leaders.
Ultimately, diplomat leaders value interpersonal harmony. They are also the binding force within their team. Diplomats are kind, social, and sharing, while developing deep personal connections with their employees. They are conflict solvers by definition, that’s why they’re called ‘diplomats’, right?
Not only do they solve disputes smoothly, but diplomats also avoid them. Working for a diplomat is perhaps more fun and social, without much emphasis on competition. Generally, diplomat leaders put their employees in positions that closely match their skill set to drive success. Their major goal is to avoid having people anxious or feeling uncomfortable at work.
That is why the diplomat is the most common leadership style, embraced by 50 to 60 percent of American leaders.
While trying to figure out which of these prototypes best suits your leadership style, let us review the most common dos and don’ts of entrepreneurs today so that you know exactly what a being a good entrepreneur and leader calls for in order to be successful.
- Know thyself and recognize the impact you have on others. You need to realize that the amount of self-awareness you surface and demonstrate in all your actions, is used by the people around you as a cue. By astutely managing your emotional response to situations and the way you influence others, all your skills will be leveraged.
- Know your strengths and weaknesses. A good leader understands that he is not and cannot be a know-it-all-do-it-all, nor does he pretend to be. Good leaders recognize their strengths and leverage those skills, while delegating those responsibilities that require a different skill set than theirs to their team.
- Be self-confident but not overbearing. There is a big difference between arrogance and confidence. Confidence derives from a strong sense of self-worth and self-awareness, while arrogance comes from a sense of fear and entitlement in others, in most of the cases. Good leaders are confident in what they know and can do without overstating their abilities.
- Be optimistic. People tend to see either the glass half full or half empty depending on the kind of situations they’ve been confronted with in their lives. After all, entrepreneurs and leaders are human too and go through all sorts of experiences that are likely to change the way they view the world. Whatever the case, good leaders always see the glass half full and try to inspire their team and lift their spirits.
- Find and seize opportunities to contribute to the greater good. Let us now debunk one common myth revolving around the ego-tickling needs of big leaders. Actually, great leaders do not waste time on polishing off their image. Being perfectly aware of their true worth they need no external validation. Instead, they focus on creating a legacy, which is greater than themselves and aimed to serve generations to come. They are achievement-oriented.
- Disregard other people’s emotions and perspective. Failing leaders overlook or undermine the views of other people and don’t pick up on their signals. If they do, they just ignore them, demonstrating no empathy. Emotional intelligence is a skill a good leader ought to have and lacking empathy or the ability to walk in somebody else’s shoes, one cannot lead.
- Failing leaders have no organizational awareness. In most of the cases, these ‘leaders’ woke up one morning in the CEO’s chair and forget they landed there either by chance, circumstance (in case they inherited the family business) or favoritism. They have no organizational skills, emotional intelligence and follow no norms. They lead in own name!
- Blame others for their mistakes or bad outcomes. It is essential to hold people accountable for their performance, but blaming them for failures is a no go.
- Avoid conflict resolution. Failing leaders guide themselves by the principle “If I ignore it, it will disappear”, sometimes it does but most of the times it doesn’t. Generally, work conflicts tend to grow exponentially until the atmosphere at the workplace becomes toxic. No team can function like that.
- Divide and conquer. This kind of leaders believes that either they alone or them and their team can do the job better than anyone else in the organization. In their opinion, they are handling everything alone and any other interference will affect their image and ruin their agenda. Isolating themselves from the rest, they will try to create chaos to lead.
With this in mind, a good entrepreneur is and needs to be above all a good leader. Embrace the dos, ditch the don’ts and lead your organization to the top. First of all be true to yourself and your team, accept help when you need it, delegate and value talent giving it a chance to grow within the organization. This is the only way to success in business!