A noted business consultant identifies the benefits and pitfalls of three popular leadership styles.
The top five leaders most admired by the world’s business executives are Winston Churchill, Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Jack Welch. That’s according to the 2013 Global CEO Survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.
What are the most-admired leadership qualities? They include having a strong vision, being motivational, caring, innovative, persistent and ethical. These results tell you a lot about what it takes to be a strong business leader in today’s rapidly changing global marketplace.
The survey respondents cited a broad range of qualities to describe the same individual leaders, which shows they recognize today’s leaders need a combination of strengths. Contemporary leaders must have a high CQ—change intelligence quotient.
Today’s marketplace is in a state of constant change. Successful companies are those that can also respond and quickly adapt to the changes around them. That requires leaders who are able to lead with the head, by focusing on the big-picture goal and business objectives; the heart, by knowing how to engage, coach and motivate people; and with the hands, by providing the tactical tools and skills necessary like a project manager.
Not all leaders embody an even blend of all three. People tend to be stronger in one or two of these areas and weaker in the others. You need to identify your weak areas and work on strengthening them.
To do that, you must ask yourself: “Are you a head, heart or hands leader?” What follows are three of the seven CQ leadership styles; an analysis of their strengths and weaknesses; and a coaching suggestion for each.
The coach (heart-dominant)
Coaching advice for this leadership style: Make connections with people, but also connect them with the mission. Don’t allow engagement to take precedence over performance.
The visionary (head-dominant)
Coaching advice for this leadership style: It’s vital that all those working to make something happen share the same vision. Remember to share your vision with others (heart) and lay out a path to that vision that incorporates visible milestones along the way (hands).
The executor (hands-dominant)
Coaching advice for this leadership style: Expand your definition of “execution.” Engage people by making a compelling case for change so you’ll have their support, and take time-outs periodically to evaluate your goals and strategies.
Most leaders are not all head, all hands or all heart. Most are some combination of the three, which is why there are seven change leader styles. Even leaders who have all three in seemingly equal measures have to watch out for some pitfalls.
The point isn’t to fundamentally change who you are, but rather to embrace your strengths, shore up your blind spots, and adapt your styles to be more effective when leading across a variety of different people and situations. By building your CQ, you can simultaneously become more powerful to help your team and organization. You can also help make yourself less stressed and frustrated. And you will more consistently exemplify the pivotal leadership qualities CEOs most admire.