There is something better — being flexible, open, and creative.
Do you often ask yourself:
How should I manage my team?
How can one be a great leader?
The answer can be servant leadership, kind leadership, direct leadership, emotional leadership, strategic leadership, inspirational leadership, or other leadership.
Which one is the right one? It depends.
When you think about your relationships and family. Do you like everyone the same way? Do you talk to your father like you do to your partner? Maybe yes, but maybe not.
It is similar at work. People are different. Embrace their weirdness, insecurity, greatness, kindness, shyness, and anything they are. It will help you to deal with different personalities and skills.
Be a universal leader and stop looking for perfection and one ‘correct’ way. Be there for each team member.
That’s what makes a true leader.
The illusion of perfectionism
I have a friend who is a perfectionist. He suffers every single day as something or someone in his process is not working. It sucks.
Likewise, I work with people who want to be the highest-performing manager they can be for their team. But their desire makes them guilty. They feel inappropriate when they fail or happen to show some weakness.
Perfectionism is holding your leadership genius back.
There is one strategy that can help you. Accept that you will never be flawless. It is ok! Perfectionism is an illusion. You are always aiming for it, but the process of getting closer is what is truly exciting.
“When things are perfect, that’s when you need to worry most.” — Drew Barrymore
You will never become a ‘finished’ leader. Quite the opposite. The more experience you gain, the more you understand how much you have to learn about yourself and others.
You can learn leadership skills. It is really fun and fulfilling work.
Standardization and manuals suck
Look at any job ad on the internet. What do you see?
A description of the job, your desired skills, and your experience. But, they often don't explain what you are going to do. They fail in showing the company values and especially ‘how’ you need to work.
Locking skills into a few bullet points is ridiculous. You can’t check personal qualities and soft skills level by reading resumes. Same as you can’t develop a standardized manager by moving up the corporate ladder.
“There are many paths to excellence, and superb leaders can possess very different personal styles.” — Primal leadership (Goleman, Boyatzis, McKee).
Stop searching for a leadership manual. Provide training and support. Both aspiring and current leaders learn how to read values and know what’s right to do.
Who is the problem? A leader or a team?
What was the first? Chicken or the egg?
Similarly, when you work in a team and wonder why it is not working. Is it because of the leader or because of the team? Who is the one that creates problems?
Could be one side. Or both.
Leaders can have a hard time with a team that is not used to being open, creative, or flexible. Likewise, the team can have the same problem with leaders. They can micromanage and not support them.
Where is the truth?
In between, perhaps.
If I say there hasn’t been the right leadership, there might not be the right team either. Every team is different. You would like to work with friendly, motivated, experienced people. Yet, you often manage a bunch of competitive folks who hunt promotions and more money. That’s nothing wrong if you know how to work with them.
Don’t use a black and white point of view. It’s fluid cooperation within the team. Everyone plays his part. So, use empathy to understand both — the leader and the team.
Cultivate flexibility, openness, and creativity
According to Primal Leadership, great leaders have good emotional intelligence, a big picture mindset, openness, and flexibility.
Leadership is nothing rigid or strict. It’s a conversation and an active decision-making process.
Leaders have a vision, and they can get people to follow them. Every time it might be a little bit different.
You can’t always paint the pink picture, but you need to understand what is appropriate.
That is why it is so imperative to cultivate flexibility and understanding of the business and the people. You need to be brave and open!
There is no one right way to lead. Yet, you can get very close to it if you are flexible.
What can you do now?
Think. Don't copy.
Many managers don’t have enough time to think things through it. If you want to awaken your leadership genius, you need to be present for yourself. Take a moment to reflect and think about whether you are flexible, open, and creative.
Analyze how you communicate. Feelings play a significant role. Don’t suppress them. Understand them and be in control.
Last but not least, trust yourself. Trust that you can be a remarkable leader. Without believing in yourself, others might struggle to follow you.
No need to follow prescribed ideas written by people that never touched reality. Find your leadership style for your teams and keep on learning. You will love your job!
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