Combining Styles of Leadership
Director of Engineering at PicsArt
I do not believe in being an autocratic type of leader. This is the person who makes all of the decisions for everybody else and tries to control everything. I am always asked about my leadership styles — you really can’t only use one for every situation. How do you make people trust and love you? If your employees want to change who they are reporting to, that’s a big problem for us.
We’re in the middle of some organizational changes. This has been very challenging for every one of us and has made me think about my leadership style. After asking for some feedback, I realized that, sometimes, we think about our own styles in one way, and others may perceive it differently. My style is not unique, because when your position changes, your leadership style changes, as well. You cannot lead different people with the same style.
The styles that describe me best are democratic and transformational. I am an avid coach, as well as a servant leader. I try to utilize strategies from all of these styles in my own approach. Choosing which one is appropriate at the time will always depend on the situation. Sometimes, I don’t even realize consciously which one I choose.
With my engineering managers, I tend to use the coaching style. With them, I’m focusing on identifying and nurturing the individual strengths of each of them in order to help them improve. I do this by giving them new challenges and offering them guidance, asking them questions and helping them to go through these challenges, without doing their work for them.
With my individual contributors, I mostly use the servant leadership style of management. I serve them. I always have their backs. I try to convey a sense of loyalty and compassion.
At higher levels in the company, when discussing strategy and other big-picture issues, I use a democratic style of leadership. When we talk about something, I am vetting that process, listening to every opinion. The decision and control must be taken as your own sometimes, however. There are some scenarios that require me to behave in this way.
- No leader can only choose one leadership style. New managers and leaders may pick one that they identify with at the beginning, trying to go with that one exclusively, but when they start to deal with more people, they will notice that their way of leading changes. You can’t always be a servant leader. You can’t always be democratic. It depends on your position at the time. If you take more responsibility or if you are in a higher-level position, you will need to forgo these inclinations at times in favor of a more relevant approach.
- Leadership style is simply a type of behavior, but it’s very good to know how different types of behavior describe the way that you work with the people that you oversee. Emotional intelligence will help you to be the person that you need to be.
- I have all of my personal values that I want to uphold written down. I gained these values as I have grown in my career and received feedback from others. In a challenging situation, I am always able to refer to these values in order to make sure that I am acting in accordance with them. If I’m not, that’s not the right solution.
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Director of Engineering at PicsArt
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