Choosing The Right Leadership Style

Learn How To Use The Four Key Leadership Styles

At its core, leadership refers to the ability to influence and guide others towards achieving a common goal or vision.

As such, leadership is a complex and multifaceted endeavor that has been studied and debated by scholars and practitioners for decades. Exceptional leadership is essential for the success of organizations, teams, and individuals, and it is a skill that can be developed and improved through practice and experience.

As a management consultant and leadership coach, I am someone that has dedicated their entire career to helping big business in planning and driving change, while assisting in the development of top tier leaders. Because of this experience, I know that there are many different styles and approaches to leadership.

With that, the most effective leaders are those who are able to adapt their style to the specific situation and the individuals they are leading.

The most remarkable leaders, for example, focus on inspiring and motivating followers to achieve their full potential.

What follows are a few examples of what I mean. I chose some that you may be familiar with and some others that you may not know as well. Regardless, each of these leaders possesses characteristics that are worthy of note:

Reed Hastings, co-founder and executive chairman of Netflix, for instance, is a transformational leader that took his understanding of future trends to build a business that many people can’t live without today. He saw that people would much prefer to download or stream their entertainment from home than go to a brick and mortar store and deal with renting and returning hard media. Under his leadership, Netflix is a powerhouse.

The most effective leaders also possess a variety of traits and characteristics that enable them to guide and inspire others.

Some of these include intelligence, integrity, emotional intelligence, and the ability to communicate effectively. Additionally, the best leaders are able to create and maintain a positive and productive work environment, build and lead high-performing teams, and make difficult decisions and solve problems.

PepsiCo CEO Ramon Laguarta exemplifies this kind of leadership. He takes care of his people to their commitment to bring their best effort to the job every day. For example, during the height of the pandemic, he ensured that employees who produce, transport or deliver its products received at least an extra $100 per week. He also adopted a policy of providing full salary for 14 days for any employee who was quarantined, and provided at least two-thirds of regular pay for up to 10 weeks to those who are sick with the virus or caring for a loved one with the virus. It’s that kind of caring that promotes “followership.”

One of the key challenges of leadership is leading change.

Change is a constant in today’s organizations, and leaders must be able to anticipate and respond to it effectively.

This requires the ability to think strategically and creatively, as well as to inspire and guide others through the change process that only regular interaction can provide.

Yoshida Koji, the former CEO of Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group’s U.S. Division (and client of mine), is a master of this kind of interactive leadership. His weekly management huddles, held during the height of the merger of the Mitsui and Sumitomo insurance operations, featured him assisting his newly merged leadership team better understand the key decisions that he made in the past week. He placed particular emphasis on examining the different things that went into his decision-making process as a way to teach while leading. Done in just about 20 minutes per week, the approach helps in develop the next generation of leader within his team while improving transparency and trust among the group.

Another important aspect of leadership these days is leading in a diverse and inclusive environment.

Today’s organizations are more diverse than ever before, and leaders must be able to lead and communicate effectively with individuals from different backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives.

This requires a deep willingness to commit to culture change, as well as the ability to build trust and respect among all of an organization’s stakeholders.

For instance, Yuanqing Yang, CEO of Lenovo, the world’s largest PC vendor, has constructed his firm’s success on a strong foundation of diversity and inclusion. It is one of the only Chinese-based firms to be listed on both the Reputation Institute‘s Global RepTrak 100 (which highlights the world’s most reputable companies in regard to innovation, governance, citizenship) and the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index (which measures gender equality across internal company statistics, employee policies, external community support and engagement, and gender-conscious product offerings).

To sum, leadership is a challenging pursuit and it can take many shapes and forms.

Regardless of style, the world’s most effective leaders possess a variety of traits and characteristics, and they are able to adapt their actions and messaging to deliver results and inspire those whom they lead, just like the exceptional leaders mentioned here.

For help in developing your next generation of top leaders, please be sure to reach-out.


BTW – These ideas are based on those presented in my latest book:

INDISPENSABLE: How to Build and Lead a Company Customers Can’t Live Without (2021).

Order Your Copy Today!