CbyD & T50

Develop Your Own, Unique Leadership Style

Jan 2, 2021 | Gedanken zu Führung

10 Characteristics of a leader

You cannot buy it; you get it for free!

But it is tough and ongoing work on yourself

Yes, you can develop your leadership style by yourself. To support your reflections, feel free to click through the interactive blocks below. They will hopefully stimulate some thoughts and ideas in you. Possibly they will help you train to yourself in reflecting, listening and accepting feedback of all kind. Hopefully, this prepares you for some of the unknown challenges, you will be confronted with, as a leader.

It is not my purpose to teach you to be a leader, which is anyway impossible. But I want to give you some input and triggers, for you to develop your leadership style and skills.
You can only do it all by yourself. You cannot buy it in expensive courses.

It is your journey

Enjoy the journey through your refelctions on leading. Find your own style and find more of your own ideas. I hope you also disagree with many of my statements.

1. Lead yourself

  • Reflect for yourself and build on you own thoughts
  • Follow your own rules
  • Be disciplined, also wrt. your workload
  • Find your own balance and live it
  • Know your strengths and accept your weaknesses
  • There is no “right or wrong” decision, but you can make decisions become right
  • At the front you are alone; be aware of that
  • Manage your emotions in critical situations
  • You cannot not communicate

2. Lead with Humility

  • Serve the purpose of the firm
  • Leader as a servant
    • Help out, when needed
    • Give feedback
    • Do not take everything for granted
    • Also, a boss can say “Thank you” and mean it
  • Help your people to succeed – they like it
  • Convey humility as example
  • Accept that some of your people are better or brighter than you
  • Mutual respect
    • Pay it
    • Request it
  • Create space for your people and accept that they may make mistakes
  • Do I add value to the firm with this action / decision?

3. Understand your people

  • Care for what they are doing
  • Respectful & passionate listening
  • Don’t dwell on the negative
  • Find ways to strengthen employees
  • Demand and promote
  • Dialogue and interact
  • Communicate your priorities clearly

4. Don't Change -- Re-invent

  • Question the status quo; even if you stand for it
  • Don’t fall into the trap of complacency
  • Is what has been good in the past, also relevant in the future?
  • Shall we retain employees who resist change for their own interest?
  • “If you need to cut, you have to cut deep”
  • You engage for the people who will be there in the future
  • What does the organisation need for the future?
  • Initiate projects with clear focus (but not too many)

5. Pragmatism over ideology

  • Past performance is no guarantee for future success
  • Understand the politics and how to get along
  • Face reality
    • Acknowledge problems
    • Initiate and foster measures
    • Give space for the others to develop
  • Set clear goals and support your people in achieving them

6. Integrate

  • Give and ask for clear feedback
  • Give face to critics
  • Allow controversial discussions before the decision
  • Include people who challenge
  • Bring people from different background together
  • Don’t segregate (no silos) –> opposite of “divide and rule”
  • Search for culprits does not add value; it makes you lose Time, Trust and Money
  • Arrange informal meetings
  • Promote and support open communication

7. Transparency of decision making

  • “Giving all of your people a greater understanding of what their colleagues contribute to the organization, is your best chance of eliminating inward-focused insularity.”
  • Give insight in why you make certain decisions
  • People decision is a leader’s top priority
  • Set clear priorities and respect them yourself
  • Back and protect the people who have acted upon your advice or order

8. Give purpose and set focus

  • Give clear priorities and apply them yourself
  • Service orientation
    Make people spend time with customers
  • You cannot make every critical decision yourself
  • Trust people to make sound decisions
  • Micro-Management hurts performance and shows mistrust in people
  • Trust subordinates with authority over critical matters

9. Expose yourself

  • Confront adversity head-on
    • Turn setbacks into opportunities
    • Delaying action raises suspicion and invites criticism
    • Serious matters require serious and timely action
  • Easy jobs on not need soneone like you
  • Don’t hide from critical issues
  • Go where the fire is and understand the fire
  • Get in touch with reality
    • Listen, look
    • Understand
    • Act thoughtfully
  • Know to make unorthodox decisions
  • Be able to decide in the interest of the organisation
  • “Spend all your time talking and you will do nothing but confirm your own biases and prejudices.”
  • Give Luck a chance: Create opportunities for luck to happen

10. Pay attention to "Non-Customers"

  • Do not collect only insider information
  • Force yourself to get the outside-in vision as well
  • Invite outsiders and customers to express their vision and concerns
  • Learn also from non-customers
  • Raise your profile; be remarked also outside your immediate market

About Leaders and Leadership

Anyone can be or become a leader! Is a good leader also successful? I do not know. Anyway, this depends on your definition of success. In most cases it is not enough to be a good leader, to be successful. Sometimes, on the short run, luck and circumstances are even more important.

It’s about yourself

In my opinion, you cannot really learn leading as a drill. Leading is not applying learned methods. It is to act and interact, based on your experience and personality.

Leading is about YOU. Building and developing leadership skills has a lot to do with reflection about what you see, hear smell and feel – with your perceptions. With your reflected ideas and thoughts, you can better prepare for some of the yet unknown future situations and constellations.

I cannot tell you how to lead your people and your organization or how to interact with your environment. But I can share with you, what seems to be relevant and worthwhile to reflect about; hoping that some of them might trigger in you some streams of reflections and thus better prepare you for the many challenges you surely will be confronted with.

Leaders lead

Leadership is about handling the unknown, about leading into what we do not know yet. Therefore it makes sense to train your thinking in some abstract categories, on which you can build when needed.

Therefore, I don’t try to tell you Do’s and Don’ts. And I have no truth about leadership. I rather invite you to go through the interactive blocks and let your thoughts travel through situations you may have experienced.

Keep engaging, reflecting and learning

Hopefully, some of the statements make sense to you. Others you may totally disagree, and others will make no sense to you. A few will may-be trigger some ideas, which in a future situation will be at hand for you, when time for reflections is scarce. Maybe you then make a sound decision, influenced by your insight you gain now.

I wish you an intensive time of reflection and would appreciate all kind of feedback.

Why do I think, I can share this kind of insights with you?

During my past 30+ years of professional experience I happened to find myself most of the time in leading roles of organizations in transitions or crisis. And it looks like I did in most cases a good job in these phases of discontinuation.

Some 10 years ago, I decided to make this to my speciality as Interim Manager. As such I take over line responsibility of various organisations in critical situations.

At the beginning of most of my mandates, the environment and industry unknown to me. But in all cases I interact with human beings. Therefore, I can rely on much of my reflected insight.

And most people, I have the chance to work with, turn out to be great people who like what they are doing and engage a lot for their company.

Most of the points listed above, originate from insights after interaction with people in critical situations.

And I continue encountering new situations, from which I learn. It’s a never-ending story and I learn so much from the people around me.


Thanks to all of those who have worked and interacted with me in the past years!
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