Leadership Styles - What is Most Effective in Leading Change?
What are the leadership styles that are most effective in leading change and especially in the current environment?
The key themes that emerges from a brief review of the research and literature on leadership are:
(1) Good management alone is not enough - key additional factors are:
- The realisation that a focus on people before process is in the long run more productive than a job or task centred focus
- Getting the balance right between a task orientation and a people orientation and knowing when and where to move to the most appropriate position on that spectrum
- Having the flexibility to adopt leadership styles that are appropriate to the level of development or maturity of the people involved
(2) Leadership is required and - in the form of leadership styles:
- That in some way transcends short-term goals and focuses on values and higher order needs and provides meaning for people
- That also addresses their deepest fears.
- Addresses people's anxieties and fears:
- Generally about the uncertainties of the current environment and:
- Specifically about the impacts and consequences of a step-change initiative.
- Realising that this is important because people cannot work effectively if they are experiencing emotional turbulence - and that their ability to get work done depends on their emotions being under control.
- A leader has to address those often unconscious and unexpressed fears along the way in order to help people keep them under control.
- That emotions are essentially contagious, and that the leader's attitude and energy "infects" a workplace either for better or for worse
- The importance of the leader's ability to articulate a message that resonates with their followers' emotional reality and their sense of purpose, and thus motivate them to move in a specific direction
- The leader's style determines about 70% of the emotional climate which in turns drives 20-30% of business performance
The other 4 factors are:
- Determining that you are embarking on a step change that sits outside of business as usual and needs to be handled as a specific initiative
- Using a programme management based approach to your step change initiative
- The thoroughness of your pre programme review and planning process
- The extent to which you identify and address the cultural change in your organisation that is required to deliver the step change and the desired business benefit.