By Suzanne Miklos, President

Leadership styles are like cars, with a variety of makes and models to choose from. There is no one best car, and cars are not created with the same goals in mind. It’s ideal to choose a car – and a leadership style – that leverages your natural values, talents and tendencies. It must also be equipped to handle the terrain, tasks, and passengers that it will encounter.

A pick-up truck is great for accomplishing tasks requiring special equipment or off-road driving and less well suited to carrying passengers in comfort. I had a minivan when I was in my soccer mom days but it did not get good mileage and had a limited fun factor for me. The entertainment system and roomy seats created lots of fun for the miniature athletes. Like choosing a car, considering the landscape and intended goals is key. Research shows that the success of any leadership style depends largely on the organizational culture and employee expectations (Walker & Aritz, 2015).

Developing a signature leadership style that fits both you and your “driving conditions” will help you motivate your team, unlock innovation and creative thinking, and reach your desired destination. Along with advantages in fit and function, a well-defined signature leadership style helps employees know what to expect from you and how to work with you most effectively.

Consider your values as a starting point to defining your own unique style. The following questions are a good start for your reflection.

  • What star qualities have you most admired in other leaders? Is it someone who pushes or someone who calms? Is the person brilliant, a great communicator, or the best people developer you ever met?
  • What is the impact that you want to have on the organization? Is it your role to fuel fast growth or focus on capacity and a sustainable culture?
  • How do you want to be described by others?
  • How would you describe yourself when you are at your best?