Four Leadership Styles

When it comes to leading people, it’s helpful to think about two aspects of every leadership conversation…
First, there’s the (horizontal) aspect; who makes the decision at the end of this conversation? Is the final decision way over on your side as the leader, or is it way over on the team member’s side? Or do you want the decision to be somewhere in between?
Second, there’s the (vertical) aspect; how much discussion takes place between you and the team member? You might have heaps of discussion about an idea or option, or you might have very little discussion at all.
The diagram below presents four possible alternatives when leading. We call them the four leadership styles. They follow a particular path where the more you want a mutual decision, the more discussion is required.

Leadership Styles 2015

Reblog – Are you assigning or delegating?

This is one of the helpful distinctions that the Manager-Tools guys make… And it suits volunteer organisations like churches pretty well.

When you talk to someone about taking on a task or a project, work out whether you are assigning it to them, or delegating it to them.

The difference? Bosses assign work to employees; “here, you are responsible for this. This is your ‘job’”. Leaders delegate their responsibilities to volunteers; “Hey, I’d like you to help us by taking on this thing I’m responsible for. Keen?”

A few notable differences:

– assignments can be questioned, but in the end, they can’t be declined.

– the line of responsibility is more vague when delegating. Who’s really responsible for what at which point?

Never appoint two people to lead something, instead…

Always make one person the leader. Always make it clear that, in the case of a disagreement, one of them gets to make the call; one of them bears the responsibility.
If you don’t appoint a clear “leader” the two (or more) leaders will have to come to a consensus on every single issue… And that’s fine for most things, but sometimes you just need to make a call and run with it, rather than spend hours, days, months trying to make the other person happy.
So, appoint two leaders, but always then say, “if you can’t decide on something, I want Person A to make the call, ok?”

Outline the consequenses

Sometimes when we delegate, we can be tempted to only focus on the positives. e.g. How great it could be! These cool things will happen! etc.

But an important part of coming to one mind as you hand over responsibility is outlining the consequences. e.g. If you don’t get this done on time, lets think about what’ going to happen. Or, If you fall into sin and don’t repent, there will be the potential of public rebuke. Or, If you don’t call these 3 people regularly, they could very well feel abandoned and leave church, and/or Christianity.

It’s not a fun conversation to have. But the fact is you already have an idea what the consequences are; positive and negative. You know what’s at stake, and how many other things rely on this project.

If you don’t talk through the consequences, then you’re not being clear with people on the importance of the role, and you’re not helping them take ownership of it – warts and all.

If they can’t handle the warts, don’t give it to them at all.