I had a very interesting conversation with my Manager recently about leadership styles. I'd always pegged him as a straight "Authoritarian" type of leader, one who tells you what to do, how to do it, when to get there, and if and where you are messing up. But my interactions with him haven't really been like that at all. It's been much more hands off. Not as much as I'd like, but still much more than I had expected.
During our conversation, he explained (I didn't ask) that he has a variety of leadership styles and he uses the one he has to based on what needs to be accomplished. If the person being led isn't really getting things done then you have to utilize the Dictator style. He also said that he tries to be more hands-off to begin with and then moves tighter or looser as needed. In my experience with him, that seems to be true. But that's not my main point of this blog.
See ... I'd always thought you were ONE KIND OF LEADER, but it makes complete sense that you should have a variety of different styles and that the person being led would dictate which type of style you need to use in any given situation. Certainly he is not the first person to have thought this, and my personal epiphany wasn't anything spectacular ... but it confirmed my long-held belief of the following principle:
- You really CAN learn something "new" from ANYONE!
No disrespect intended to my current Manager, but I honestly didn't think that he would teach me much more than how to drive performance (metrics). That is something I've wanted to improve on and was eager to learn from him, as it is one of the strengths I perceived about him. But (and this is partially because I am open to learning from anyone, anywhere, and at any time) I have picked up much more than that in just over half a year.
I hope I never stop being willing to learn.