How to Develop Your Personal Leadership Style
How to Develop Your Personal Leadership Style

How to Develop Your Personal Leadership Style

Leadership Development, Hybrid Workforce, Company Culture, Employee Well-being   — 6 MIN


In today's fast-paced and ever-changing business environment, leaders must be equipped with the skills to navigate complex challenges, build inclusive teams, and drive high performance. Leadership is a critical skill for success in any field. However, there's no one-size-fits-all approach to leadership.

Every leader's unique style comes from their experiences, values, and personality. Developing your personal leadership style is a process that requires self-awareness, reflection, and a willingness to learn and grow. 

Many well-known leaders have developed their own personal leadership style that sets them apart from others in their field. Steve Jobs, the co-founder and former CEO of Apple, was known for his demanding and perfectionist leadership style. He was a visionary who pushed his employees to create products that were not only innovative but also aesthetically pleasing. Jobs' leadership style was not always easy to work with, but it resulted in some of the most successful products in the tech industry.

Another example of a leader with a unique leadership style is Ruth Bader Ginsburg. As the second woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was known for her tenacity and commitment to gender equality and civil rights. Her leadership style was characterized by her sharp intellect, precise legal reasoning, and unwavering dedication to justice.

Developing a personal leadership style using situational leadership techniques

Situational leadership is a leadership approach that involves adapting one's leadership style to the situation at hand. This approach is based on the idea that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to leadership, and leaders need to be flexible and adaptable to the needs of their team members. 

Your personal leadership style can be developed by exploring how situational leadership techniques can be used with the help of resources from Blue Ocean Brain.

Characteristics of an effective personal leadership style

Developing an effective personal leadership style requires a deep understanding of oneself, one's team, and the organization. Blue Ocean Brain has studied the behaviors that define an effective personal leadership style and how they can be developed to create successful leaders.

  • Seek feedback: Feedback is essential for growth and leadership development. Seek feedback from your team members, colleagues, and mentors to better understand your strengths and weaknesses as a leader.
  • Learn from failure: Failure is an inevitable part of leadership. Instead of dwelling on your mistakes, use them as an opportunity to learn and grow. Reflect on what went wrong and how you can improve in the future.
  • Be adaptable: The best leaders are adaptable and able to pivot when circumstances change. Be willing to experiment with new approaches and adjust your leadership style as needed.
  • Build strong relationships: Leadership is about building relationships with your team members and stakeholders. Take the time to get to know your team members and show them you value their contributions.
  • Communicate effectively: Effective communication is critical for successful leadership. Develop your communication skills by practicing active listening, giving and receiving feedback, and delivering clear and concise messages.
  • Lead by example: You set the tone for your team as a leader. Lead by example by modeling the behaviors and values you want to see in your team members.
  • Continuously learn and grow: Leadership is a journey, not a destination. Commit to continuous learning and growth by attending training, reading books and articles on leadership, and seeking out new experiences.
  • Understand your team's needs: Different teams have unique needs and dynamics. Get to know your team members and what motivates them. Understanding their motivations will help you identify the leadership style that will work best for your team.
  • Consider your organizational culture: Your organization's culture can also impact your leadership style. Consider your organization's values, norms, and expectations and how they may align with your leadership style.
  • Be authentic: While it's essential to be flexible and adapt to your team's needs, it's also important to be authentic to your own leadership style. Being true to yourself and your values will help you build trust and credibility with your team.

Understanding the four leadership styles

The first step in developing a personal leadership style is understanding the four leadership styles that are part of the situational leadership model. These styles are directing, coaching, supporting, and delegating. Each style is appropriate for different levels of competence and commitment from team members.

Directing Leadership Style:

  • Leader provides specific instructions and closely supervises team members
  • Useful for new team members with low competence and commitment

Coaching Leadership Style:

  • Leader provides guidance and feedback to help team members develop skills
  • Useful for team members with some competence but low commitment

Supporting Leadership Style:

  • Leader provides support and encourages team members to take ownership
  • Useful for team members with moderate to high competence but variable commitment

Delegating Leadership Style:

  • Leader provides minimal guidance and trusts team members to make decisions
  • Useful for team members with high competence and commitment

Assessing competence and commitment levels

Once you understand the four leadership styles, the next step is to assess your team members' competence and commitment levels. This will help you determine the most appropriate way to approach each team member. The competence level refers to the team member's ability to perform a task, while the commitment level refers to their motivation and confidence in performing the task. By assessing these levels, you can determine which leadership style is most appropriate for each team member.

For example, if you have a new team member who is not yet proficient in a particular task, you may want to approach them with a Directing leadership style, providing clear instructions and closely supervising their work. On the other hand, if you have a team member who is highly skilled but lacks motivation, you may want to use a Supporting leadership style, providing encouragement and support to help them regain their confidence and commitment.

Virtual leadership training and self-directed learning 

With the rise of remote work and global teams, leaders must also learn how to guide and inspire virtually while maintaining team performance and cohesiveness. This is where self-directed, virtual leadership training comes in.

Virtual leadership training provides modern, accessible, and relevant learning experiences that reflect the challenges facing today's leaders. It helps leaders develop the skills to build inclusive, high-performing, and happy teams. Companies of all sizes and industries rely on virtual leadership training to develop their leaders.

We create custom-curated self-directed learning that is easily integrated into your learning ecosystem and delivers the ultimate in accessibility and engagement. Their training covers a range of topics, from tried-and-true leadership skills to tackling team burnout and building diverse and inclusive teams.

Use what you learn to develop your own personal leadership style

Step 1: Assess Your Strengths and Weaknesses

The first step in developing your leadership style is assessing your strengths and weaknesses. This assessment requires self-awareness and an honest evaluation of your skills, knowledge, and abilities. You can use various tools to determine your strengths and weaknesses, such as personality tests, 360-degree feedback, and self-reflection exercises.

Once you have identified your strengths and weaknesses, you can use this information to develop a leadership style that leverages your strengths and addresses your shortcomings. For example, suppose you're a great communicator but need help with delegation. In that case, you can develop a leadership style that emphasizes communication and collaboration while delegating tasks to others better suited for them.

Step 2: Identify Your Values and Beliefs

Your values and beliefs play a significant role in shaping your leadership style. They inform the decisions you make, how you communicate, and how you interact with others. To develop your personal leadership style, you need to identify your values and beliefs and align them with your leadership goals. 

For example, if you value transparency and collaboration in your personal life, you may want to align those values with your leadership goals by implementing open communication and team-building activities in your work environment. This can help create a culture of trust and cooperation among your team members.

One way to identify your values and beliefs is to reflect on your past experiences and the lessons you have learned. You can also seek feedback from others to better understand how others perceive your values and beliefs. Once you have identified your values and beliefs, you can use them to guide your decision-making and communication as a leader.

Step 3: Learn from Other Leaders

No one becomes an excellent leader in a vacuum. To develop your leadership style, you must learn from other leaders who have come before you. This learning requires a willingness to seek out mentors, read books and articles on leadership, and attend leadership development programs.

When learning from other leaders, keeping an open mind and being willing to try new things is essential. You don't have to adopt every aspect of a leader's style, but you can learn from their successes and failures and apply those lessons to your own leadership style.

Step 4: Practice, Practice, Practice

Developing your personal leadership style is an ongoing process that requires practice and building your skills and abilities over time. Leadership requires a commitment to continuous learning and improvement.

Interested in leadership development?

You can build your leadership skills by looking for chances to lead–for example, volunteering for assignments in your workplace or joining boards of nonprofit organizations near you. You can also lead a project, such as organizing a company picnic or planning an event for your volunteer organization. Try experimenting with different styles while staying attuned to your team's needs; over time, you will develop your own effective and authentic leadership style.

Blue Ocean Brain’s award-winning microlearning solution helps organizations of all sizes and industries upskill their people and arm them with the soft skills needed to break down barriers and build connections across the board. For more information on how we can help, click here to schedule a consultation with one of our learning experts.