Even in a world of more than 7 billion people, each one of us is unique. As individual or different as we are, however, we typically fall into one of only a handful of personality types. Our personalities, character and other factors determine the type of leaders or followers we make. Understanding how certain characteristics and circumstances influence leadership style helps you select a suitable management team to complement your business's mission, culture and goals, and improves your relationship with your employees.
The factors that influence personality are upbringing, gender, introversion, extroversion, education, religious views, heritage, self-worth and life circumstances. The positive or negative ways in which we handle whatever life hands us often carry over to the way we conduct managerial or supervisory roles.
For example, imagine a woman who was brought up (or self-taught) to assert herself in a healthy, non-aggressive way, with a sense of strength and empowerment, and to practice fairness for all, not just for herself. There's a good chance she'll display a democratic leadership style, encouraging good communication on all levels and making an approachable and influential leader.
On the other hand, someone who needs to feel powerful, and who is demanding and unapproachable, may display a directing or telling style of leadership. Alternatively, a person who desires to feel liked by everyone or lets workers ultimately lead themselves, can display a delegative or laissez-faire style of leadership. This could result in low productivity and disrespect from employees who prefer and require clear directions.
Influences of Company Culture
Company culture is driving much of today's workforce including managerial staff. Your business's mission and how well you articulate it plays a crucial role in attracting effective leaders and retaining them.
For example, suppose you own a whole-foods company and have a genuine concern for the hungry and homeless in your community, so you donate to shelters and organize food drives. Your business's efforts will be admired by job seekers with the same mindset and principles, and attract them to you. If you can spot an applicant who supports your altruistic goals, there's a good chance he'll make an excellent mentor to the team. Thoughtful, insightful leaders who can motivate the workforce are role models who ignite team spirit and nurture employee morale. Team spirit is vital for any venture and healthy for the bottom line.
How Diversity Affects Leadership Style
Rather than following inclusion regulations because the law demands it, smart businesses strive to create a company rich in a diversity of cultures, genders and age groups. Such a team dynamic can result in a valuable mix of viewpoints helpful for solving problems, developing new sales initiatives and propelling the business forward.
A manager or supervisor who wavers on inclusion and diversity issues could throw the business into legal hot water by being unfair to some workers based on his personal prejudices. A similar situation could arise if the top-level executives waver on inclusion issues and the managerial team follows suit or simply doesn't advocate for positive change out of fear of upsetting the employer.
On the other hand, if an emotionally mature, passionate manager works for a forward-thinking, inclusive company, he may develop a transformational leadership style which can set in motion company-wide transformation as his energy motivates the entire team.