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

Work really really hard at simple clear outcomes

This was one of the great ideas from “7 Habits”; simplify your desired outcome.
The illustration he uses is how he delegated the job of looking after the yard to his son. He thought really hard about it beforehand and came down to two words! Green and Clean. It even rhymed!
He took his son out and explained what he meant by “green”; watered regularly, weeds taken away, grass cut to the same length. He explained what “clean” meant; leaves raked up, balls and toys away.
When his son didn’t do it well, he could simply go back to those two words, green and clean.
As you lead teams at church, can you simplify the goals?
Are your group leaders clear on what they’re trying to do? Are your helpers clear on why they’re doing something… so clear that if something unexpected happens… they can make a good decision to adjust for it?
E.g. We once sat our setup-guy down, and told him we wanted “Welcoming and un-distracting” not perfect, but better than vague “do this” type leadership.

Situational Leadership (Styles 1-4)

Scott Parry-Jones from EV helped us think about this. There are two ways to think about how your leading others; the authority continuum, and the discussion continuum.

The authority continuum ranges from “I have all the authority” right over to “I’m giving you all the authority”. Another way of seeing this is the former being “You will do exactly what I do, no questions, no creativity” and the later being “You can do whatever you want, be as creative as you want”.

The discussion continuum ranges from “We’re not going to discuss this often at all; maybe an email every now and then.” all the way over to “We’re going to discuss this all the time; weekly meetings and whenever we get the chance!”

Where does your “natural” leadership style fit on each continuum? How do you prefer to lead people?

What about being led? How do you prefer to be lead? How much Authority do you like being given? How much discussion do you like being brought in on?