In any workplace, you’ll find a variety of disparate personalities who possess unique strengths, weaknesses and skill sets. Since colleagues aren’t carbon copies of each other, why should you lead them the same exact way? Situational leadership dictates that the leader alter his style to fit the development level of the people he’s managing.
A common mistake made by leaders of many organizations is the tendency to treat everyone on their team exactly the same. It’s true that a good leader should incorporate consistency in message and actions. But he or she must also adjust managing style to fit each team member’s personalities and constantly changing circumstances. Using a one-size-fits-all management style could wind up stifling your team’s unique abilities and dampening their creative spark.
A recent Gallup survey found that only 13% of employees are engaged at work. As a result, the vast majority of working adults probably don’t have a meaningful connection with company leadership. Nor do they enjoy the work they’re doing.
Situational leadership dictates that it is up to the leader to change his or her style, rather than the job of the followers to adapt to the leader’s style. A good leader should analyze each situation based on a variety of factors. They must be flexible enough to modify their managing style to suit the individual personalities while adhering to the corporate mission. For instance, some employees may excel when working independently, while others may need more one-on-one contact and feedback.
This is where BrandStar’s company-wide values—our T.R.A.I.T.S.—come in. Incorporating these core principles into our leadership methods is an important way to help our respective departments run smoothly.
Teamwork – the “T” in T.R.A.I.T.S. — lays the foundation for everything BrandStar stands for. Teamwork doesn’t just mean working well with those who occupy same level on the organizational chart; it also applies to leaders and the team members who report directly to them. When members of the team feel like the leadership group is taking a personalized approach to managing them, a mutual respect – the “R” in T.R.A.I.T.S. – is fostered.
Tone often doesn’t translate properly in emails or instant messages. There’s nothing like some old-fashioned face time to build a better rapport and enhance clarity. Devoting just a little extra effort getting to know the team is the key to developing trust, the second “T” in T.R.A.I.T.S., when you’re managing a variety of personalities. The more effective a leader is at developing relationships with the entire team, the more he or she can delegate responsibilities, trusting that the job will be done correctly.
Additionally, a University of Warwick study from 2016 found that workplace happiness led to a 12% increase in productivity. The study also showed that companies that invest in employee support tend to produce happier workers.
The bottom line is when people are feeling positive and well-supported by management, they tend to channel their creativity more efficiently and solve problems better. The challenge for leaders is getting the most out of their employees by demonstrating the willingness to adjust their style to suit a broad a range of personalities and skill sets.
Forrest Haag is the EVP, Digital for BrandStar.