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Adapting Leadership Styles to Manage Your Team More Effectively

Leadership style awareness is important

Your leadership style is unique. But it needs to be adapted for different employees. You can use your specific leadership style to more effectively lead your team. Here's a useful guide to adapting leadership styles to manage your team more effectively.

What is Leadership Style?

“Leadership style” is a person’s unique way of influencing others to work toward goals. Within the specific styles there are also measurements of assertiveness and expressiveness that add to your own unique style. Assertiveness measures the degree to which a person tries to influence other people’s thoughts and actions. Expressiveness measures the degree to which a person displays his or her emotions when interacting with others. These are the four leadership styles and their assertiveness/expressiveness levels:

  1. Direct – Direct leaders have high assertiveness and low expressiveness. They tend to lead by taking charge.
  2. Spirited – Spirited leaders have high assertiveness and high expressiveness. They usually lead others by inspiring them.
  3. Considerate – Considerate leaders have low assertiveness and high expressiveness. They lead by building group harmony.
  4. Systematic – Systematic leaders have low assertiveness and low expressiveness. They usually lead by planning carefully.


click hereIdentify your preferred leadership style: What's My Leadership Style


Leader Skills

A good leader exemplifies certain traits. They need to be open to learning and growing as they advance through their career. If they have buy - in from their staff, they are more likely to be successful. The success of a leader truly depends on their support staff, so they should ensure they are operating with honesty, transparency, respect, and dignity. Great skills to exemplify include:

  • Learning Continually. As a leader, a person must recognize that they need be continual learners. The learning process never stops, and good leaders grow and change as time goes on.
  • Championing Change. As change is constant, leaders must be champions of change — planning it, approaching it, introducing it, working it, and following through on it.
  • Communicating Powerfully. Every part of the leader’s role requires communication skills. Leaders must become powerful communicators to get what they want to express across .
  • Building Relationships. Leaders have to cooperate with people. They must build relationships to gain respect from others and work toward success.  Developing Others. Coaching and giving feedback a re two skills that leaders need to perform continually. To reach goals, there need s to be individual growth of everyone on the team.
  • Solving Problems and Making Decisions. Problems will occur and decisions must be made daily. Leaders must become problem solvers and decision makers.
  • Setting Goals. Leaders are responsible for setting goals for themselves, their team, and the organization. Setting and working to meet goals is an integral part of a company’s evolution to success

How to Manage Better

There are many theories of management and styles of leadership. None are perfect, as different people respond better to different styles of leadership. To be a truly skilled leader, you must become aware of the needs of your staff and adapt your leadership style to nurture the most productivity in your workers. Below are some ways to develop and adapt your leadership styles for your team.


click hereLearn how to effectively combine both leadership and management skills: Leader Manager Profile


Conduct frequent one-on-ones

Make sure you have frequent one-on-ones. They can be informal and spontaneous. Offer more positive than negative feedback during them. Try to be action-oriented, concise, and timely. Include two-way questions and seek feedback on your own feedback during the meeting.

Give positive and negative feedback

For positive feedback, distinguish between praise and flattery, praise with no expectations, and follow with a question. When giving negative feedback, examine your motives first and start with a question.

Focus on problem solving, separate fact from opinion, and focus on one performance issue at a time. End the session with encouragement.

Communicate well with your boss

    Adapt to your boss’s behavior and modify your style to fit your boss. When you and your boss disagree, keep your cool and stand up when it counts. It’s important to maintain a good relationship with your boss while also leading others.

    Influence language and frame messages positively

      Frame your messages positively. Say what can be done, tell the employee what to start doing, and give the message in the best possible light. There are two types of influencing language. Direct language provides a summary, focuses on bottom line, and should be used for good news or routine information. Indirect language builds to a decision and should be used for bad news or complex information.

      Use Valuable Tools to Help

      Adapting Your Leadership Style allows participants to identify the qualities of an effective leader, make the mental shift from individual productivity to influencing others, and recognize style differences in others and cater to their preferences. You will be able to build rapport using verbal and nonverbal messages, facilitate effective meetings, conduct constructive one-on-ones, give positive and negative feedback to different styles, and develop individual motivation approaches for employees.


      click hereHRDQ's Adapting Your Leadership Style Course can assess your personal leadership style and show you how to apply and practice necessary tools.


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      About our author

      Bradford R. Glaser

      Brad is President and CEO of HRDQ, a publisher of soft-skills learning solutions, and HRDQ-U, an online community for learning professionals hosting webinars, workshops, and podcasts. His 35+ years of experience in adult learning and development have fostered his passion for improving the performance of organizations, teams, and individuals.