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Leadership Styles: What I’ve Learned in 30 Years

In a recent meeting, Kerryn delivered a speech on leadership and shared some insights about what she has learned and some tips for us to find our own leadership style. Here are some words from Kerryn….

When I did a google search of leadership quotes it returned 292 million hits in 0.41 seconds! Our leadership styles are informed by our personal values, beliefs and experiences. It can take many years to develop a style and it will continue to evolve throughout your career.

I have seen many different leadership styles in my 30 years in the workforce. Here are a few examples:

  • My first manager was a coaching leader. They took the time to help me build my skills and develop my thinking.
  • Next came the pacesetter, embracing new projects, setting high standards and demanding deadlines. Not great for work life balance, but it taught me to meet deadlines – even unreasonable ones!
  • Then there was the tech startup with an innovative leader who created a vision for the future and a culture of creativity.
  • My affiliative leader ran an IT company where teamwork and harmony were emphasised creating a positive environment.
  • The bureaucratic leader I worked with strictly enforced the smallest of rules and sent angry emails even if you were a few minutes late to work, it was a compliance at all costs environment.
  • Most recently I worked with a truly altruistic leader. They built trust and focused on developing the needs of the individual developing positive morale.

There is no right or wrong leadership style. A wise leader will know when to flex from one to another depending on your personality and the situation. 

My tips for finding your own leadership style are:

  • Reflect on your values and beliefs.
  • Consider your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Observe different leadership styles.
  • Experiment with different styles.

I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly in leadership and it has helped me become the leader I am today – I like to get consensus and involve everyone in decision-making, but I also like to provide a vision and set high standards. I am enthusiastic and optimistic about the future; I love efficiency and I can honestly say that I know who I am.

The most important thing is to be authentic and to lead from the heart.

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