The type of leader you are can influence your followers for good or for bad. Are you an anchor during storming times, or are you adding to the stress and anxiety of your team? Please take a moment to assess how well you know your team and what they need from you as a leader, especially during times when stress is particularly high. How does your leadership style influence them in the short term? How about the long-term? The following two leadership style examples are frequently seen during times of crisis and sometimes even likely not in times of crisis too. While both might be effective in moving teams together in the same direction in the immediate, one will have more positive and effective long-term results. Which type of leader are you?
The cowboy rides high on his horse to keep a close watch over his cattle. He wants them to know they are the boss, so they posture themselves over everyone else. They command with their voice and drive the herd ahead, blocking their path to the right and left while using their whip to keep them moving in the direction they desire. Their energy motivates the team only for as long as they are visible through the dust and audible over the ruckus of the herd. Their presence exerts fear if teams’ movements are not toward the direction they want them to go.
Cattle are usually controlled and driven toward the direction of the slaughterhouse to be killed. There is no trust; only control and fear exist. They are forced in a direction that will ultimately lead to their downfall. Do your people feel this same way?
His voice is soft and even, calming the sheep and reassuring them they are safe. There is a joy in the procession, and he often leads out with singing. The sheep look to the shepherd to guide the way, and because they trust him, they choose to follow.
Sheep are usually led to pasture, and will eventually allow their precious gift of wool to be given, which they can produce the following year again. This process is about growing and maturing the sheep and doing so in a way, they continue to grow and prosper. This is all about trust!
Leaders don’t need to remind their followers they’re in charge. Their followers are grateful for their direction because they know they care. If your goal is to get from point A to B, either style will do. If you seek, however, to raise a future servant leader, your choice is clear. Be a shepherd!
Often, “D” style leaders can be perceived as the cowboy by “S” and “C” styles on their team because of their need to be in control, fear of being taken advantage of, and ability to pivot and make decisions quickly. Consider slowing down like the shepherd, and be a little softer in your actions and voice. Consider your team is not out to get you but wants to trust you. They depend on you to guide them in the right direction.
If you need more guidance on how to motivate and lead your team by trust, have your team take a PeopleKeys 4D assessment. The results will bring insights to light about your team that you may not have observed on your own, and you’ll have a better understanding of how to guide them in the way they need you.