I’ve never needed to be in charge.
I enjoy project management, and I enjoy leading teams. I sometimes do it even when I’m not interested in being bothered (in instances where it becomes evident to me that I’m the best person for the job I’ve even been known to proactively seize leadership roles).
With that said, I’m just as comfortable in the background. I’m perfectly fine following someone else so long as that person is an effective leader that shares my values.
When I want to do my own thing I just do it. I bring in other people as needed. Informal power structures are fine with me (I look to collaborate and build 1. This probably has something to do with me being a gen Yer.consensus even when I’m 95% sure I’m right). 1 If I can build a coalition around something important to me that’s great. If not, if a project is small enough I just do it myself.
I don’t micromanage (although I sometimes remind), and I’m often more interested in the process than the outcome (if I don’t have a deadline on something I tend to spend too much time doing conceptualization and not enough time working on implementation).
I fundamentally believe in myself – and that outlook typically extends to others as well. I treat everyone like a winner until they show me they aren’t – which sometimes leads to me getting burned (I’ve made a conscious choice that this is an acceptable risk).
The thing is, my leadership style is one of many effective ones. Each has its own pros and cons.
Working in a manufacturing environment (as I have been lately), one sees a microcosm of leadership styles. There are supervisors / managers that rule with an iron fist, and others still that treat their direct reports with such affection that they drive high performance with scarcely a word. There are leaders that seek their report’s opinions – and those that don’t care for them at all.
Ultimately? It all works on some level. The facility runs well, people get their work done, and there are more pluses than minuses.
I’ve learned that as an HR professional my job is not to tell managers how to lead, but rather to make sure managers are leading effectively (and offer counsel if they’re not).
…Because at the end of the day, everyone wants to see “the job” (whatever it may be) done on time, on spec, and on budget. The role of HR in this respect is simply to coach around the margins / fill in the gaps where they exist.
With that said, there are many, many ways to skin a cat.
As always, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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