How to be a better leader

Articles

How to be a better leader

03/03/2014

Everyone has a different style and approach to leadership, dependent on their personality, experience, environment and situation. By understanding the style of leadership of yourself and others, you can adapt and better communicate with, motivate and engage those you are seeking to lead.

People often confuse management with leadership. Management is concerned with day to day activities of the organisation such as budgeting, organising, staffing, controlling and problem-solving. Leadership on the other hand focuses on interpersonal behaviour and drives the business to a new direction. Leadership seeks to establish a vision, establish a direction, align people, motivate and inspire, all with the purpose of driving change and achieving objectives.

When addressing a group of people it is important to remember that each of them is different, with varying backgrounds and personality types. By understanding personality types you can look to over-come differences in understanding and communication. Outlined below is a summary of Myers-Briggs 4 common personality types and suggested strategies for effective communication.

In addition to understanding personality types, a person’s own Leadership behavioural style can influence how they communicate and engage with their workers, these styles include:

  • Task vs People focus: Task-focused people concentrate on achieving goals and tasks, place emphasis on productivity and have a constant drive to meet objectives and targets. People-focused leaders place importance on areas that impact on communication and engagement, such as people’s health and well-being.
  • Directive vs Participative leadership: Another aspect of leadership behaviour is whether you engage in Directive Leadership, where decisions are made by those in a managerial position – or Participative Leadership, where the decision-making process is shared by all stakeholders.

HOW TO BE A BETTER LEADER
No one style works in all situations. Part of being a successful leader is identifying which traits and styles are best suited for the current situation, and adapting your approach to match the best leadership elements.

While a focus on completing the task is important, a leader recognises that it is people who get the job done. They actively engage with workers in order to ensure they feel safe, and secure in their job, they have open dialogue to discuss better ways of performing the task, they never place the value of productivity over the value of their people, and they communicate and demonstrate this philosophy in their actions and decisions.

Successful leaders also aim to engage in a more Participative leadership style, allowing for employees to feel directly involved in the development of the decisions which concern them, generating more willingness to participate and comply with the decided actions and plans. This process requires more time and a willingness of the leader to share authority with others.

If you’d like some tools to identify your personality type and leadership behaviour style, as well as further tips and guidance for identifying, engaging and communicating with different personality types and how to adapt your personal style to be a better leader contact Safety Action.

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