When thinking about my colleagues thoughts about “inspirational leadership” I asked myself “What is the right leadership style?” because I have to admit that my own leadership style has gone through many changes. So yes, I had my own ideas, but just to be sure, I consulted my old friend … Google.
Two quotes I found pretty interesting:
“Inspirational leadership is about both relationships and positive organizational and business results.” – David C. Forman and Friso van der Oord – 2/21/13
“What really matters is that leaders are able to create enthusiasm, empower their people, instill confidence and be inspiring to the people around them.” – Peter Handal, chief executive of New York City-based Dale Carnegie Training
These interpretations seem similar to my own. But as I said, in more than 15 years of working as an Auditor, Tax Consultant, Finance Manager, Country Manager and Sales Director, I have to admit that my own leadership style has gone through many changes.
My way or the highway
Early in my career, when I worked with a small team dealing with daily operational matters, I practised a command-and-control style of management, otherwise known as “my way or the highway”. It seemed to work well, at least at that time.
As I moved on to a different role, with more responsibility for mid- to long-term planning, my management style had to evolve too. I can now no longer shout or yell at my team, which might include an entire work force of a division, department or company. The “dictatorship” style just doesn’t work.
The power of influence
I came to realize that it’s far more effective to influence others to do something versus ordering them to do it. Don’t get me wrong: occasionally, I still need to “tell” people what to do but now I’m more fully aware of my options and consider all of them.
To me, inspirational leadership is about how one can guide or lead by connecting, inspiring, motivating and influencing others to carry out a task, to complete a job or make a decision. In the past few years, I have spent more time connecting with my team, encouraging the mindset of entrepreneurship, having open and honest discussion, or simply having fun in what we are doing.
As a leader, I try to be a better friend, colleague and a human being. In the end, I am just another member of a team striving to achieve our common goals. The only difference is the role each of us plays in the team.
What about your own leadership style experiences?