What’s Your Leadership Style?

What’s Your Leadership Style?

Published: 8th July 2024

Leadership Styles | Escentia Empowering Leaders to Lead with Intention

What’s your leadership style? When to lead from the side or from the top?

In our previous post, we explored the two leadership styles of leading from the back and leading from the front, and how we might leverage these according to the situation.

When working with leaders, we often find that in times of stress, many default to one approach and style – reducing a leader’s adaptability and opportunity to see, hear and feel the world from a different perspective. In turn, this might reduce a leader’s ability to make the best decision, find the best solution, or optimise their impact.

Leading from the Side

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” — Henry Ford

We have already discussed, leading from the front, and taking the front line – this is a very powerful leadership approach, which works well so long as people are willing to follow.
However, it is worth remembering that that this approach doesn’t always work because many people need to feel that something is being ‘done with them’ as opposed to being ‘done to them’. This is where collaborative leadership comes in. This is a more relational leadership style, which requires leaders to slow down, actively listen, connect and engage in a two-way dialogue.

Now let’s consider a very different leadership approach – leading from the top.

Leading from the Top

[A leader that] “is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

This is a much more directive leadership approach, much like leading from the front, but it is an even more directive and controlling leadership style, where the leader tightly holds the reigns. There will be times where this style of leadership is most appropriate.

Usually used in times of absolute crisis, when the situation demands strong direction and leading from the top.  For such occasions it is vital that, as leaders, we are clear that it is necessary to move to this form of leadership.

What is your natural style and how intentional are you in adapting to the situation that you are in?

When dealing with ambiguity, it is important to remember that there is never any one way, or single approach to drive to the best solution.  It requires us to pause, listen and think as a group (with our head, heart and gut) and intentionally select the most appropriate and effective style of leadership.

It can often be easy for leaders to get stuck in a particular leadership style, which feels most natural. However, at Escentia, we help leaders try out other approaches and increase their adaptability. Then, through practice, this will become easier over time.

We also spend a lot of time talking about leadership adaptability in ambiguity and how we can intentionally think about the best approaches to enable optimal decision-making and impact.

Beyond the classroom, we like to build on this further through our work with our partner, Rosie Tomkins, where we go into the arena with the horses and put some of this into practice. The insights are incredible, and this is what some of our clients say:

“Seeing those leadership styles in action in a tangible way with the horses was striking and memorable.”

“Working with horses brought the leadership styles to life and improved my understanding of how to use each and when.”

“Working with the horses really resonated because it helped me understand more about how I show up and enabled me to see different people’s approaches.”

If this is something you would like to explore further with us, get in touch today

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