What kind of leader are you?


Successful leaders know that leadership isn’t something you wake up with - it’s a collection of consistently developed abilities.

There’s no exact formula for effective leadership, although many of the elements remain similar: achieving results and leading others to success.

Improving as a leader starts with nurturing a core leadership competency: self-awareness. It’s the most powerful skill a leader can develop and is essential in defining who you are as a leader.

In a study* by Green Peak Partners and Cornell University on what determines executive success, it was noted that high self-awareness was the “strongest predictor of overall success.” Leaders who are aware of their weaknesses are able to hire people who perform well in categories in which the leader lacks acumen, and “are also more able to entertain the idea that someone on their team may have an idea that is even better than their own.” Self-awareness is not a style in itself, but is the crucial factor that leads you to an understanding of how and why you lead.

One popular way to develop this selfawareness is through an examination of the leadership styles proposed by Daniel Goleman, in his publication: Leadership That Gets Results.

In this model, Goleman proposes 6 styles of leadership and maintains that sticking to only one is not the answer. “The best leaders don’t know just one style of leadership— they’re skilled at several, and have the flexibility to switch between styles as the circumstances dictate.” Although consistency is also key to avoiding confusion in your team, picking and choosing from these styles allows you to adapt specific skills relevant to certain situations.

The model, although not an exact science, is also useful in determining under which leadership style you sit most comfortably, and helps to create a well-informed picture of your strengths and weakness - taking you one step closer to being a self-aware leader.

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What are the different leadership styles?​

Goleman’s model is a good start, but developing true self-awareness requires feedback on real-life performance. Like a good ex colleague use to say "Feedback is your friend!" ​

There’s less value in achievement if you don’t look back at why you succeeded - and where you didn’t. Reflecting on your progress allows you to identify where you could do better next time, both from your own perspective and that of your team.

Upon completion of a task or project, take some time to sit by yourself, and then with your team, to have an honest and straightforward conversation.

Ask yourself:

- What worked for me?

- What didn’t work?

- What would I have done differently?

- How will I apply this to my next task/project?

Ask your team:

- What worked for you?

- What didn’t work?

- What would you have done differently?

- How will you apply this to your next task/project?

- What can I, as a leader, do to help?