How to develop your leadership style

How to develop your leadership style

If you want to succeed in your career, you will need to have leadership skills to do so. It might sound unnecessary, especially if you are not in a senior position, but leadership abilities can be applied to any role in any company.

If you are looking for City of Cape Town jobs, or other government sector work, having leadership skills is important, no matter how senior your role. Below is some helpful advice on how to develop your leadership style to succeed in the workplace.

Be authentic

The most important first step in developing your leadership style is to be authentic and true to yourself… or rather, the professional version of yourself that you are at work. If you are not naturally authoritative, suddenly giving orders to your team members will be strange and ultimately will not earn you respect among them.

Think about your natural manner, your strengths and how you can use the authority you have in a positive way. City of Cape Town careers and other public sector careers need people who are able to lead without simply shouting orders, but by guiding others and using their personal strengths to motivate their teams. If you are someone who can be objective when it comes to office situations, use this to your advantage for your leadership style.

Identify and develop your strengths

Once you have determined your default style, such as autocratic, participative or transformational leadership, it is time to identify and develop your strengths. You have other leadership skills aside from the default style you follow.

One way to do this is to ask five colleagues who you trust to tell you some of the best things about your leadership style. They might praise your diplomatic outlook on office politics, or be inspired by the fact that you always take part in team activities to ensure that everyone is happy. Use this information to find your strengths and develop them, building on your leadership style and growing your skillset at the same time.

Be flexible

Different situations will require you to subtly adopt different leadership styles, such as dealing with a team that is falling behind in work or encouraging a team that is performing well. Many jobs in the Western Cape require you to be flexible with your work and leadership style, so developing your flexibility is important.

In a crisis situation, you will need to be the authority, delegating tasks with an appropriate sense of urgency. However, it is important not to become an autocratic leader, as this leadership style is not good to use every day. In times of change you will need to take the initiative, inspiring your team and engaging with them on every level. Using only one leadership style can be prohibitive, as it may not suit every situation in your office.

Work on your weaknesses

While building up your strengths is important, you will also need to work on any weaknesses that you feel you have. You might be ‘too nice’ to your employees, meaning that they may not respect your authority or you could be too authoritative, getting fear from your colleagues rather than mutual respect.

Watching and learning from others is an effective way to learn new leadership styles. If there is a colleague who you think has personality traits that you could work on developing, ask them to take the lead in a meeting or conference so you can watch them in action and take note of what they do differently to you. You can also look for online courses that can help you to work on your weaknesses.

Ask your team for their thoughts before making decisions

A good leader has solid communication skills, which are developed by speaking to their colleagues and teammates and actively listening to what they have to say. However, listening is only one part, you have to make good on your promises to your team and deliver on what you said you would.

One way to do this, and an effective way to develop your leadership style, is to ask your team for their thoughts and opinions before you make any decisions. Not only will this give you valuable insight into what your colleagues think of a situation, you will be showing them that as a leader, you are proactive and interested in them. Their opinions of you are also important, so be sure to ask if there are any complaints about how you are dealing with problems in the office.

Leadership is not about a title

Leadership is about impact, influence and inspiration. Your leadership style says a lot about you as a person and can affect how you are perceived at work. You need to be authentic, but also able to be flexible depending on the situation.

Developing your strengths is vital, so be sure to ask your colleagues what they think your strengths are. Remember to work on your weaknesses and ask your team their thoughts before making any big decisions. Success does not come easily, but if you develop your leadership style you have taken the first step of the journey towards it.

Authored by: mjones

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