In studying leadership styles it becomes apparent that many great leaders will change their styles to meet a particular business situation or employee need. This change in style could be viewed as drinking from different management cups to increase energy or motivation levels. For a leader to be truly successful, they must be able to determine when it is best to change their behavior to effectively meet the business environment at any given time.
When determining if a style change or blending of styles is necessary, the leader needs to evaluate: different levels of employee relationships and skills, the task that must be done, the amount of collaboration necessary, and how much power is personally possessed to influence the employees and the completion of the task.
The Energy Factor in Leadership (as compared to Caffeine)
If leaders were defined according to the level of energy they possess or instill in others, this could be compared to caffeine as a temporary high in productivity. For example a regular leader might be personally high energy as they would be more task-oriented when it comes to work productivity. This leader feels they get the best results by keeping their people busy producing results and products rather than creatively contributing to the business.
They focus on getting the job done instead of involving their employee teams in planning and organizing work. The leader feels responsible for supervising employees, controlling work flow, and establishing procedures. This seems like a high caffeine level since so much work appears to get done. However, there may be times when it makes more sense to step back and ask for input to become better in the current time or improve and grow in the future.
If the regular leader is task-oriented, the decaffeinated leader would appear to be more relaxed in their approach and definitely highly people-oriented. The decaf leader is more concerned about the needs of employees, building teamwork, and providing the support their teams may need to accomplish their work. This leader feels they get the best results by organizing and developing employees through training and other activities that lead to collaboration and work improvement.
As time permits, they encourage their teams to establish work procedures, plan their work with deadlines and production goals, while developing towards self-management. However, the decaf leader should realize that there may be situations where they must step in and take control in order to lead their employees towards the desired results.
The Motivation Factor in Leadership (as compared to Temperature)
In addition to the energy levels of leaders, which determine if they are people or task oriented, there is the factor of temperature in style which related to rewards and motivation. If leaders can be considered hot or cold in the way they use their style, then a hot leader may be thought of as more positive in their approach to people management. The hot leader most likely uses intrinsic rewards to motivate their employees. They want to motivate in a way that helps their teams to become more effective or efficient at both their job and communication skills in order to accomplish business goals.
The hot leader is charismatic and inspiring because they understand their people can cover the details to let the leader concentrate on the bigger picture. They understand that if they provide the appropriate challenges, their employees will develop the attitudes necessary to meet those challenges with enthusiasm.
The cold leader may seem like a negative approach to people, but this type of leader may be needed to meet and push through certain environmental situations that threaten business success. The cold leader will typically motivate using controlling behaviors or by appealing to an employee’s self-interest where pay for work is concerned. This leader may be seen as bossy and unconcerned for employees because they look for short-term results and cost-cutting measures rather than looking any further than the immediate future.
They see their role as making money rather than finding creative ways to stay in business or expand productivity. Although this style of leadership may accomplish higher efficiency and some profits, it is a management method only for difficult economic times. Therefore use of this style should be re-evaluated on a regular basis so that employee morale and potential creativity is not adversely affected.
A change in style or mixing of styles when viewed as drinking from different cups, can prove to increase energy or motivation levels for a given situation or timeframe to meet organizational needs. When studying leadership styles it is obvious that there is not only one right way to lead. Instead a good leader will adapt a particular style for a situation or blend styles in order to effectively meet business needs.
The leader should always consider employee skills and motivation, what type of work needs to be done collaboratively or individually, what resources need to be provided, and whether there is a need to adapt their personal style of leadership. A really great leader will develop an instinct for what styles are necessary when and then learn to quickly adapt the necessary style.
By John Benson