When you are in a leadership position, you are faced with a multitude of different situations every day. You have to deal with different people in different circumstances and handle different problems. Every person in a leadership role has a style that is quite recognizable. It is easy to differentiate between styles because there are basically two types.
The first type could be described as the “push type” because it could be thought of as pushing people to do what is required. The other style could be described as the “pull type” which could be thought of as drawing other people in, pulling rather than pushing.
Using assertive persuasion or reward and punishment can be thought of as pushing. One of the most effective leadership styles can be described as participation and trust. This is a pull style. It depends on involving other people in the decision-making or problem-solving process. As soon as people can be persuaded to be involved and take an active part in making a decision, their commitment to the decision is increased. In addition, the amount of follow-up you need to do as a leader is reduced considerably.
In order to involve other people, it’s absolutely necessary that they should perceive that they have the resources relevant to the task. They must get sufficient feedback so that they can see that their contributions are received and understood by other people. But what is most important is that they can see that other people value their efforts. To achieve this it is necessary to have the right environment to be conducive to participation. This has been described as an environment of mutual trust and co-operation.
People are helped to contribute when they believe that others will not ignore their contribution and when there is an open atmosphere and nobody is defensive. Because participation is encouraged by an environment that can be described as receptive, open, and understanding it can be ruined by the introduction of reward and punishment.
Leaders who adopt the participation and trust style tend to listen actively, drawing out contributions from other people and showing understanding and positive reinforcement when the contributions occur. They tend to amplify strengths of other people and highlight the positive resources that they bring to the situation.
Their style is to give freedom and personal responsibility to the people doing the task. They work to extend the ideas of other people, rather than actively pushing their own. They are also characterized by their willingness to give credit to other people.
Perhaps one of the most recognizable trait is their self-discipline to listen first and talk second. They understand and then they are understood.
By Grace Milton