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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 September 11, 2019

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

How often do you feel overwhelmed and disorganized in life, whether at work or home? We all seem to struggle with time management in some area of our life; one of the most common phrases besides “I love you” is “I don’t have time”. Everyone suggests working from a to-do list to start getting your life more organized, but why do these lists also have a negative connotation to them?

Let’s say you have a strong desire to turn this situation around with all your good intentions—you may then take out a piece of paper and pen to start tackling this intangible mess with a to-do list. What usually happens, is that you either get so overwhelmed seeing everything on your list, which leaves you feeling worse than you did before, or you make the list but are completely stuck on how to execute it effectively.

To-do lists can work for you, but if you are not using them effectively, they can actually leave you feeling more disillusioned and stressed than you did before. Think of a filing system: the concept is good, but if you merely file papers away with no structure or system, the filing system will have an adverse effect. It’s the same with to-do lists—you can put one together, but if you don’t do it right, it is a fruitless exercise.

Why Some People Find That General To-Do Lists Don’t Work?

Most people find that general to-do lists don’t work because:

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  • They get so overwhelmed just by looking at all the things they need to do.
  • They don’t know how to prioritize the items on list.
  • They feel that they are continuously adding to their list but not reducing it.
  • There’s a sense of confusion seeing home tasks mixed with work tasks.

Benefits of Using a To-Do List

However, there are many advantages working from a to-do list:

  • You have clarity on what you need to get done.
  • You will feel less stressed because all your ‘to do’s are on paper and out of your mind.
  • It helps you to prioritize your actions.
  • You don’t overlook so many tasks and forget anything.
  • You feel more organized.
  • It helps you with planning.

4 Golden Rules to Make a To-Do List Work

Here are my golden rules for making a “to-do” list work:

1. Categorize

Studies have shown that your brain gets overwhelmed when it sees a list of 7 or 8 options; it wants to shut down.[1] For this reason, you need to work from different lists. Separate them into different categories and don’t have more than 7 or 8 tasks on each one.

It might work well for you to have a “project” list, a “follow-up” list, and a “don’t forget” list; you will know what will work best for you, as these titles will be different for everybody.

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2. Add Estimations

You don’t merely need to know what has to be done, but how long it will take as well in order to plan effectively.

Imagine on your list you have one task that will take 30 minutes, another that could take 1 hour, and another that could take 4 hours. You need to know the moment you look at the task, otherwise you undermine your planning, so add an extra column to your list and include your estimation of how long you think the task will take, and be realistic!

Tip: If you find it a challenge to estimate accurately, then start by building this skill on a daily basis. Estimate how long it will take to get ready, cook dinner, go for a walk, etc., and then compare this to the actual time it took you. You will start to get more accurate in your estimations.

3. Prioritize

To effectively select what you should work on, you need to take into consideration: priority, sequence and estimated time. Add another column to your list for priority. Divide your tasks into four categories:

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  • Important and urgent
  • Not urgent but important
  • Not important but urgent
  • Not important or urgent

You want to work on tasks that are urgent and important of course, but also, select some tasks that are important and not urgent. Why? Because these tasks are normally related to long-term goals, and when you only work on tasks that are urgent and important, you’ll feel like your day is spent putting out fires. You’ll end up neglecting other important areas which most often end up having negative consequences.

Most of your time should be spent on the first two categories.

4.  Review

To make this list work effectively for you, it needs to become a daily tool that you use to manage your time and you review it regularly. There is no point in only having the list to record everything that you need to do, but you don’t utilize it as part of your bigger time management plan.

For example: At the end of every week, review the list and use it to plan the week ahead. Select what you want to work on taking into consideration priority, time and sequence and then schedule these items into your calendar. Golden rule in planning: don’t schedule more than 75% of your time.

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Bottom Line

So grab a pen and paper and give yourself the gift of a calm and clear mind by unloading everything in there and onto a list as now, you have all the tools you need for it to work. Knowledge is useless unless it is applied—how badly do you want more time?

To your success!

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Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews via unsplash.com

Reference

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