What is Ask Leadership?
It is probably easier to give a simple definition by saying what Ask Leadership is not.
It is not telling and giving answers.
What it is, is asking different types and levels of questions until you get the right answers. Either you knew the answer in the first place, but wanted the individual to work it out for themselves, or you thought you knew the answer, but wanted confirmation, or finally, you didn’t know and simply wanted to learn. Ask many leaders about the role of a leader and they will talk about directing, delegating, managing, getting results and so on.
One of the primary roles of a leader is actually to develop leaders and you don’t do that by giving instruction and expecting blind compliance. That is dictatorship not leadership. So the concept that a major role of the leader is to support and develop their team puts them more in the role of a servant. Great leaders develop their teams with a goal of creating leaders of a higher calibre than themselves. That is why one of the greatest attributes of true leadership is humility.
How you get there is simple; you become a coach and supporter for your team members and implement one of the best leader characteristics of becoming the best coach.
Boss or Leader?
The dictionary has some interesting definitions of the classic ‘boss’.
- One who exercises control or authority
- One who directs or supervises workers
- An official having dictatorial authority over an organization
When you see words like control, dictate, direct and authority it sets an interesting scene for the role of the boss. Of course the modern term of ‘leader’ is used these days rather than boss, but is it just a different word for the same thing? Sadly in many organizations the answer is a resounding yes!
The definition of a leader has some commonality with that for the boss and it is true that the leader’s role is also to get results for the organization. The primary difference lies in the methods of getting results. For a modern leader the objective is to influence people to want to achieve the objectives of the organization, not simply to use their authority to push people around. The important word here is ‘influence’. Influencing is best defined as getting people to want to do what you want them to do. The typical ‘boss’ gets people to do things because they want you to do them, and they use their authority to make sure it gets done.
When you get into a position of leading people you have two types of authority. The first is positional; you have moved ‘up’ the organization and have been given the delegated authority. The second source of authority is that which you earn because of your values, skills, beliefs, character, knowledge, ethics, experience and even age. We refer to this as your influencing authority. As a ‘boss’ you are likely to use your delegated authority, as a leader you will mostly use your influencing authority, i.e. that which you have earned. It is ultimately how you use your authority that best determines whether you fit into the boss or leader categories.
ASK Leadership will assist you in identifying where you stand and provide the tools and guidance to help get you into that leadership picture.
Communication & Leadership Styles
History has taught us that there are three primary leadership ‘models’, but with thousands of subtle variations.
Autocratic – Tendency to ‘tell’, control and manipulate for results.
Democratic – Shares decision making and other activities, but may hold back the final decision themselves.
Empowering – Allows freedom for their teams to make decisions and act. Provides guidance, support and direction.
Coupled with this there is your own natural style of communicating which has some influence on your tendency towards one of those leadership styles.
Most people have on primary and one or more secondary communication styles. These are categorised by these descriptors;
Expressive – Bold, direct and talkative. Thinks and talks using images and pictures. Uses emotion and persuasion to get their way.
Amiable – Great questioner, listener and team player. Enjoys group work, consensus and relationships.
Analytical – The well organized ‘thinker’. Is well structured and approaches most activities in a logical manner.
Driver – The results focused go-getter. Short meetings, and tough to get to know well, but great achiever.
There is a clear link between your natural leadership style and your communication style. Expressive and drivers tend towards autocratic behaviour, while Amiable and Analytical tend towards more empowered leadership.
Great leaders are actually able to move freely between styles depending on the situation they are in and the results they want.
Ask Leadership will help you understand both your communication and leadership style as well as guiding you on how to adapt your style to your circumstances and situations.