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What is your leadership style?

What's Your Leadership Style?

Early in my career, I remember being asked in interviews, "what is your leadership style". At the time I thought I needed to have a single style so I would have an answer to this question. But it never seemed quite right to answer the question without asking "who am I leading?" Today, I know that my little voice was right, and as leaders we may have a 'preferred' style of leadership, but the correct answer is that it depends.

Each of us begins by leading in a style that matches our personality. If you are a control person you will start with a more directing style, telling more showing and asking. If you have a more laid back personality, you will begin with coaching, where you spend more time gaining consensus and approval. But there is a variable that comes into play that really forces leaders to adjust their style, and that is PEOPLE.

When you put people into the equation, you have to consider a few things. How much experience do they have? If you use the directive style of leadership, telling every step of the way, on a person that has been in their position for a long period of time you will soon have an opening to fill. This person should be provided with more room to make decisions on their own. A new team member with little experience needs direction. They lack knowledge and skills that you as the leader can provide.

You also need to find out just how your team members prefer to learn. Do they like to receive general information and just go out and do it? Do they like to have someone show them how to do something? Conducting one on ones on a regular basis will help in determining each team member's learning preference.

So the next time you are asked "what is your leadership style", you can respond and say "it depends".

About the author:
Kreg Enderson is a certified coach and successful leader who works with leaders one on one and in small groups to help them become more effective with people. More information can be found at

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