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November 2, 2011 by Glenn Gutek

By Glenn Gutek.

In leadership, leaders must understand this simple truth: style does matter. The following six styles are the most prominent:

Charismatic: This is leadership by infusion of energy often embodied in the leader. The style may encompass a wide swath of personalities, but the common ingredient is that the energy is closely connected to the leader himself. Once Elvis leaves the building, so does that infectious energy!

Over the years, this style has been both praised and panned, but any study of leadership must recognize that there is value to those who bring energy to a  business by their sheer presence.  The downside of this leadership is that some teams don’t need to speed things up, but rather slow things down. The charismatic leader is an excellent vision-caster and can elicit a loyal and passionate following. Where this style will often fall short is in the attention to details.

 Technician: This is leadership of knowledge and skill. This style is highly valued where competence is high in economic value. Most contractor businesses started by tradespeople have this kind of leadership. It is leading by simply being the best producer of what your organization produces. This leadership style can influence their arena with an impeccable reputation, and sets the bar for the standard of work quality.

However, some leaders who employ this style can in time be a little like the “Wizard of Oz,” hiding behind the curtain, pulling strings, leaving everyone to wonder “how does he/she do it?”  Nobody can argue with the value quality plays in any arena. Keep in mind there is a distinction between leading the best, and being the best.

Strategic: This is leadership by connecting the dots. This style tends to be global and conceptual thinking. They not only are able to see the end destination, but they know the path to get there must be identified and paved. Tragically, this style can be marred by the blues, because not only do strategic leaders see what could be, they see what is not.

Team Builder: Here, leadership is by roles and unity. This style recognizes that you can’t just assemble any group of people and claim you have a team. This leadership style is employed by people who look at people individually and find individual roles for them to fill.  At the same time, they align these individuals into a cohesive whole.

 Managerial: This is leadership by systems. This style focuses on doing things right. Processes and systems are designed and understood so that current operations function consistently. Though some would argue that managers are not leaders, you have to acknowledge that effective managers have a profound influence on those that surround them. In fact, they have the capacity to lead a culture that prizes management, even at the expense of effectiveness.

 Directive: Here we have leadership by control. This style was once enamored with the industrial revolution. In recent years, it has been stated that command and control are no longer cherished. However, any organization in crisis would love to have a directive leader step forward and bring order out of chaos. There is still a need for directive leaders.

 How to employ your understanding of leadership styles

As a leader of your contracting business, your job is to build an environment where your style flourishes.  As a leader, not only should you know your natural style, but you should also know the “shadow side” of that style: How does your winning formula undermine your effectiveness?


Glenn Gutek

Glenn Gutek

Glenn Gutek is a speaker and CEO of Awake Consulting & Coaching, a firm that helps small businesses improve their leadership and business through training, development and coaching.
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