Engaging Ideas: A leader’s guide to creating employee & customer commitment

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When we interact with someone whose leadership style is similar to our own, communication is relatively easy. However, when we work with people whose leadership style is different from our own, communication and cooperation can be challenging. Dale Carnegie said the most important element of working with different leadership styles is flexibility -- our willingness and ability to see things from another person's point of view. So how do we determine our own leadership style, and more important, how do we work effectively with others who have a different style?

No single leadership style is superior to the others. Effective leaders must find ways to work with all styles and accentuate the positive traits in others, while minimizing the challenges associated with the different styles.

The four main leadership styles are:

Visionary. Individuals with Visionary leadership style are comfortable with creative thinking, brainstorming, and asking open-ended questions. They are intuitive in their decision-making, preferring to base action plans on people, creative ideas, and opinions rather than on facts and analysis. They enjoy fast-paced environments, emotional discussions, and energetic people. They do not respond well to being bogged down with details, statistics, and minutiae.

Achiever. Individuals with the Achiever leadership style are results-driven and most comfortable taking a direct, no-nonsense approach to decision-making and interpersonal relationships. They view situations as challenges to be resolved and want to get things done as quickly and directly as possible. They are demanding of themselves and have high expectations of others. They do not respond well to speculation, wasting time, or getting "too personal."

Facilitator. Individuals with the Facilitator leadership style value relationships, dedication, and loyalty. They are motivated by a cooperative and supportive work environment that values teamwork. They thrive on encouragement and assistance, preferring a person-centered style over a strictly fact-based, "get down to business" approach. They do not respond well to being rushed or threatened.