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How to be a Flexible Leader: 8 Styles for Different Situations

How to be a Flexible Leader: 8 Styles for Different Situations

Flexibility is a necessary skill for any effective leader. A strong authority figure may have to employ a variety o leadership styles to succeed in a single mission. Here are eight leadership styles that you should be considering as you head a team effort.

1. The Idol

This is one of the most obvious leadership styles, and also one of the hardest to execute. It’s not easy to shine so bright that people will follow you into the dark. An Icon is someone who has a strong enough presence to lead by example, convincing others to live up to their standards. Not everyone is a Martin Luther King, Jr.-type who can inspire such confidence in others, though, so this leadership style should not be attempted by most.

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2. The Coach

A Coach is similar to an Idol, but has a more authoritative position. A Coach can either encourage their “players” to do their best or switch to a commanding tone, making their players run a proverbial 50 laps. Football coach Eric Taylor, from the television show Friday Night Lights, exhibits this leadership style expertly, learning over the course of the series how to give his young players the support they want and the tough love they need. When you’re in a leadership position that needs that combination of encouragement and fierceness, be a Coach.

3. The Micromanager

Some leaders like to control every part of the process, having not only input but control of everything coming out of their offices. Leadership styles like that are generally referred to as Micromanagement. Dan Harmon, the creator and showrunner of the cult sitcom Community, is notorious for being a Micromanager, making sure that every episode of his show is made as he wants it to be made. It works for him; Community is a very beloved show. If you have a singular vision that needs the assistance of others to execute, Micromanagement is likely the way to go. However, Harmon leaves a lot of his co-workers, employees and employers unhappy with his micromanagement, and leadership styles that make enemies should be used with caution.

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4. The Macromanager

A Macromanager, on the other hand, generally focuses on the big picture. A president, whether they be president of the United States or of a Fortune 500, is often a Macromanager, delegating a lot of important tasks to their staff but ultimately being the one to make the the big decisions. When there is way too much to do for a leader to be more than peripherally involved in all of it, you might want to be a Macromanager.

5. The Beloved

Oprah Winfrey is the premiere example of a Beloved; any novel in her book club becomes a bestseller! A Beloved leader is someone who can push people to greener pastures, introducing them to things they never experienced before and never would have if not for that push. If you can convince people to follow your advice off of your charm and charisma, you may be a Beloved.

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6. The Adapter

An Adapter is a professional chameleon who can transform to fit any environment. The Adapter may not be the very best at any one thing, but they’re at the very least capable in all the roles they have to take on. A good Adapter is like an impressive manager you see at a Target or Walmart who can seamlessly switch from giving sixteen year-olds their first assignments to taking care of the time sheets to running the cash register. They succeed by not limiting themselves to one skill; they wear a lot of different hats and wear them well. If your team is small and you have to take on a wide variety of responsibilities, learn to be an Adapter.

7. The Trailblazer

When your team needs to find a new route to success, this is one of the best leadership styles you can implement. The Trailblazer looks at the world in a slightly different way than everyone else and implements strategies that, though obvious in hindsight, could only have been thought up by that person. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is a perfect example of a Trailblazer, taking the customer-first ideology to a whole new extreme.

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8. The Revolutionary

A Revolutionary is a little more than a Trailblazer. A Revolutionary doesn’t just find a new way to approach an industry; he discovers new industries. Steve Jobs is in this class of rarified leaders because of his creation of new tech categories like personal computing, MP3 players, smartphones and tablets. If your team needs you to come up with ideas as innovative as those of Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’re going to have to take on a Revolutionary role.

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Matt OKeefe

Matt is a marketer and writer who shares about lifestyle and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

What is decision fatigue? Let me explain this with an example:

When determining a court ruling, there are many factors that contribute to their final verdict. You probably assume that the judge’s decision is influenced solely by the nature of the crime committed or the particular laws that were broken. While this is completely valid, there is an even greater influential factor that dictates the judge’s decision: the time of day.

In 2012, a research team from Columbia University[1] examined 1,112 court rulings set in place by a Parole Board Judge over a 10 month period. The judge would have to determine whether the individuals in question would be released from prison on parole, or a change in the parole terms.

While the facts of the case often take precedence in decision making, the judges mental state had an alarming influence on their verdict.

As the day goes on, the chance of a favorable ruling drops:

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    Image source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

    Does the time of day, or the judges level of hunger really contribute that greatly to their decision making? Yes, it does.

    The research went on to show that at the start of the day the likelihood of the judging giving out a favorable ruling was somewhere around 65%.

    But as the morning dragged on, the judge became fatigued and drained from making decision after decision. As more time went on, the odds of receiving a favorable ruling decreased steadily until it was whittled down to zero.

    However, right after their lunch break, the judge would return to the courtroom feeling refreshed and recharged. Energized by their second wind, their leniency skyrockets back up to a whopping 65%. And again, as the day drags on to its finish, the favorable rulings slowly diminish along with the judge’s spirits.

    This is no coincidence. According to the carefully recorded research, this was true for all 1,112 cases. The severity of the crime didn’t matter. Whether it was rape, murder, theft, or embezzlement, the criminal was more likely to get a favorable ruling either early in the morning, or after the judges lunch break.

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    Are You Suffering from Decision Fatigue Too?

    We all suffer from decision fatigue without even realizing it.

    Perhaps you aren’t a judge with the fate of an individual’s life at your disposal, but the daily decisions you make for yourself could hinder you if you’re not in the right head-space.

    Regardless of how energetic you feel (as I imagine it is somehow caffeine induced anyway), you will still experience decision fatigue. Just like every other muscle, your brain gets tired after periods of overuse, pumping out one decision after the next. It needs a chance to rest in order to function at a productive rate.

    The Detrimental Consequences of Decision Fatigue

    When you are in a position such as a Judge, you can’t afford to let your mental state dictate your decision making; but it still does. According to George Lowenstein, an American educator and economy expert, decision fatigue is to blame for poor decision making among members of high office. The disastrous level of failure among these individuals to control their impulses could be directly related to their day to day stresses at work and their private life.

    When you’re just too tired to think, you stop caring. And once you get careless, that’s when you need to worry. Decision fatigue can contribute to a number of issues such as impulse shopping (guilty), poor decision making at work, and poor decision making with after work relationships. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.

    How to Make Decision Effectively

    Either alter the time of decision making to when your mind is the most fresh, or limit the number of decisions to be made. Try utilizing the following hacks for more effective decision making.

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    1. Make Your Most Important Decisions within the First 3 Hours

    You want to make decisions at your peak performance, so either first thing in the morning, or right after a break.

    Research has actually shown that you are the most productive for the first 3 hours[2] of your day. Utilize this time! Don’t waste it on trivial decisions such as what to wear, or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

    Instead, use this time to tweak your game plan. What do you want to accomplish? What can you improve? What steps do you need to take to reach these goals?

    2. Form Habits to Reduce Decision Making

    You don’t have to choose all the time.

    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t have to be an extravagant spread every morning. Make a habit out of eating a similar or quick breakfast, and cut that step of your morning out of the way. Can’t decide what to wear? Pick the first thing that catches your eye. We both know that after 20 minutes of changing outfits you’ll just go with the first thing anyway.

    Powerful individuals such as Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg don’t waste their precious time deciding what to wear. In fact, they have been known to limiting their outfits down to two options in order to reduce their daily decision making.

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    3. Take Frequent Breaks for a Clearer Mind

    You are at your peak of productivity after a break, so to reap the benefits, you need to take lots of breaks! I know, what a sacrifice. If judges make better decisions in the morning and after their lunch break, then so will you.

    The reason for this is because the belly is now full, and the hunger is gone. Roy Baumeister, Florida State University social psychologist[3] had found that low-glucose levels take a negative toll on decision making. By taking a break to replenish your glucose levels, you will be able to focus better and improve your decision making abilities.

    Even if you aren’t hungry, little breaks are still necessary to let your mind refresh, and come back being able to think more clearly.

    Structure your break times. Decide beforehand when you will take breaks, and eat energy sustaining snacks so that your energy level doesn’t drop too low. The time you “lose” during your breaks will be made up in the end, as your productivity will increase after each break.

    So instead of slogging through your day, letting your mind deteriorate and fall victim to the daily abuses of decision making, take a break, eat a snack. Let your mind refresh and reset, and jump-start your productivity throughout the day.

    More Tips About Decision Making

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

    Reference

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