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Four leadership styles to get the most out of your team

The topic of leadership has been the focus coming out of our election season. While the emphasis is on national and governmental leadership, we would all agree that the level of leadership connected to all spheres of our lives can be improved. In my last article I shared several of John Maxwell’s Laws of Leadership, as listed in his “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” book. Since then, I led a corporate training seminar on the topic of self-leadership, and it ignited a very spirited discussion on the topic of leadership styles.

The good news is that your leadership style can build a winning team, or transform the one you have. Today, I share four leadership styles outlined by John Maxwell that can make or break your ability to succeed.


Leadership style #1: encourage significance

One is too small a number to achieve greatness. Become a better team leader by thinking about the greatest dream you have for your life. Start by asking yourself: Is my dream bigger than me? Does it benefit others as well as myself? Is it worth dedicating part of my life to? If you answer yes to all of these questions, then think about the kinds of people who should join you to achieve that dream. Make a list of the like-minded people you know who might want to join you in the process, then begin inviting them to take the journey with you. And be on the lookout for others who would benefit from being part of the team.


Leadership style #2: share in the big picture

The goal is more important than the role. A team isn’t supposed to be a bunch of people being used as a tool by one individual for his or her own selfish gain. Members of a team must have mutually beneficial shared goals. They must be motivated to work together, and should not be manipulated by someone for individual glory. To employ this leadership style, think about a team you are currently part of (preferably one with a big goal). What kind of attitude do team members have about the big picture? Are they team players who desire to do whatever it takes for the team to succeed? Or do they desire to benefit only themselves? Begin to foster a team mind set in others by modeling a willingness to serve the big picture, rather than yourself. Motivate people by painting the big picture. Publicly honor team play, and give rewards to people who sacrifice for the good of the team.


Leadership style #3: bench stacking

Every team has three groups of players. First, there are starters, who directly add value to the organization or who directly influence its course. Second, there are bench players, who add value to the organization indirectly or who support the starters who do. The third group is a core group within the starters that I call the inner circle members. These are the people without whom the team would fall apart. Your job is to make sure each group is continually developed so that bench players are able to step up to become starters, and starters are able to step up to become inner circle members.

To employ this leadership style, try this exercise: Write the names of the people on your team who are starters. Now, look at the people supporting your starters. These are your bench players. How can you lead, train or inspire them in order to create a strong, deep bench? What value can they add from their position, and how can you create an environment for them to grow and succeed? Every team member is valuable in their own way. But it’s important to figure out which group they’re in. Moving in from bench to starter to inner circle member, you’ll discover that each group becomes more and more important to the big picture vision for the team. Develop your bench, and you’ll always have a pool of fantastic team players who can help the team win. A great resource on team building is a course I took some time ago entitled “Best Team Ever” by Sally Hogshead.


Leadership style #4: Clear communication and good listening

As the leader of an organization, you set the tone for communication. Your communication must be consistent, clear and courteous. Leaders must also be good listeners. When leaders don’t listen, they stop gaining wisdom. They stop “hearing” what isn’t being said. Team members stop communicating. Their indifference begins to spread to other areas. Ultimately, poor listening leads to hostility, miscommunication and a breakdown of team cohesion. To employ this leadership style, give yourself a 360-degree listening review. Ask for feedback concerning your listening skills from your boss or mentor, your colleagues and your subordinates. If you don’t get good grades from all of them, then quiet down and listen up. This is one of the most effective ways to improve as a communicator.

Want to improve your leadership style and skills? I’m excited to announce The Training Authority’s next brand new course, The Leadership Lab, an innovative and practical training program that will strengthen your confidence and capability to lead so that you can gain greater results from your team.

Details will follow soon, but if you’d like to get on an early notification list, just email [email protected] and mention “leadership workshop”.


Listed in The Nassau Guardian’s Top 40 under 40”, Keshelle Davis is a skills development expert and authority on corporate, business and personal success training in The Bahamas. She is the CEO of The Training Authority, an entrepreneur and internationally recognized speaker and author. Formerly she served as executive director of the Chamber Institute – the education arm of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) and has impacted thousands through her mission is to educate, empower and inspire. Contact Keshelle at [email protected].

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