Building and shaping the culture of an organization begins with the behavior of the leaders. When leaders are behaviorally smart, and understand their leadership and communication style, they are more likely to set the kind of example they want everyone to follow.
There is no one leadership style fits all. The key, through self-awareness, is to find the balance that works with the teams you lead.
The Fast-Paced Leader
A leader who is fast paced, logical, challenging and tends to be critical may well deliver results, but can damage the talent they are responsible for leading. This style of leadership births a culture of stress, staff turnover and unwillingness to want to work under their leadership.
The Analytical Leader
The analytical, systematic, rigid, work by the rules, style of leadership may be a gatekeeper in terms of the processes of the organization, but can shut down innovation, spontaneity and the kind of creative approach to decision making required when things go wrong. This inflexible and rigid style of leadership does not inspire a culture of shared goals, thoughts and ideas.
The Skeptical Leader
In today’s rapidly changing market, businesses need innovation to survive. A skeptical leader who is not open to ideas, continually questions, is guarded and fails to build trust with their teams, will not create the kind of innovative culture that breeds success. Finding a successful balance between trust and a healthy skepticism that protects the business is tough.
The Competitive Leader
Similarly, leaders whose focus is solely on results, who is very competitive and wants always to be the one who sets the agenda, can push teams too hard to achieve goals. If these leaders see targets slipping away they can become manipulative and assume a driven style of leading that causes teams to crash and burn. This approach leads to a toxic culture – very difficult to recover from.
The Peoples Leader
Leaders who are highly people focused and expressive, can inspire passion and purpose, but if this style of leadership is not based on a foundation of a clearly articulated vision and mission, the culture they create is one of chaos and confusion – but fun. Leaders such as this need strong boundaries and need to learn to focus on one goal at a time.
The Risk-Taking Leader
Some leaders are comfortable with taking risks. They know their limitations and are comfortable with managing failure. However, when risk taking leads to over confidence, leaders will cut corners placing the business in jeopardy. Further, team members assume the culture of risk extends to them. This can lead to outlier behavior as they take inappropriate risk that undermines the organization.
The Creative Leader
The highly creative leader embraces new ideas, can be quite abstract in their thinking and open to imaginative approaches to decision making. However, such creative ideas need to have value, they can’t be random as this leads to a culture of anything goes. Creativity in leadership works when it’s part of a culture that is sensitive to teams, colleagues and the overall needs of the business.
The Cooperative Leader
Not many organizations survive on a cooperative style of decision making. When a leader is seen to be compliant others very quickly take advantage of them. They may well be able to communicate the vision and encourage input from teams, but without their own understanding of how to be behaviourally smart, this style of leaderships leads to the loudest voice getting their way. Further, it can lead to a culture of frustration as the leader seeks everyone’s opinion before making a call.
The Reserved Leader
Generally, the reserved, reflective leader tends to be a loner. They do not have an open-door policy and can be withdrawn. This style of leadership breeds a culture of suspicion and can lead to more outgoing team members driving the culture and making decisions that are inappropriate. However, when the leader understands the importance of building relationships, this style of leader is likely to be much more accurate in their instructions. They prefer to get things right first time and will reflect and focus on this.
The Patient Leader
When a leader is overly understanding and tolerant there will always be others who will take advantage of this. A culture of leniency will prevail and mistakes will be repeated leading to frustration and discontent from team members. Generally, this leader tries to create a culture of stability, believing that everyone will function more effectively within the environment. This approach only works when everyone has knowledge of each other’s preferred environment for working, otherwise the culture will be too relaxed.
The Spontaneous Leader
Spontaneity challenges many people who prefer leadership to be structured and predictable. A spontaneous leader creates a culture of impulsiveness and lack of planning and forethought. Spontaneity panics some people and can lead to disruption and stress in the workplace.
A Leader who can create a successful organization culture will not only understand their own natural behavior and how to manage it, they will invest time gaining insight into the behaviors of their teams. When they achieve this balance, the culture they create looks like this:
- There is a shared vision – communicated in a way that everyone feels valued in role for delivering it
- There are high levels of personal confidence
- Everyone has a can-do attitude
- Teams collectively look for solutions
- The leaders listen to other ideas and suggestions
- The individuals feel motivated
- Attrition is low
- There are clear goals and everyone knows where they fit in delivering them
- Success is shared
- Trust goes both ways
- There are quantifiable measurable outcomes that demonstrate the culture of the organization