Leadership isn’t easy. Doing it well requires a combination of knowledge, mindsets, skills, and habits. More than this collection though, it requires the ability to adapt and blend these factors in any given situation, with any given individual or group. Well-rounded leaders possess a diverse set of skills, competencies, and qualities enabling them to effectively lead people and reach valuable results. What are some ways we can think about ensuring this well-roundedness in ourselves?
- Task and people. As a leader, we are responsible for reaching valuable outcomes, but we aren’t doing it alone. A well-rounded leader can lean into the work or the people. And sometimes needs to focus on one more than the other.
- The future and today. We are leading to a future outcome. Effective leaders can set a vision and communicate it clearly. But we can’t live in the future 100% of the time. We must be comfortable looking at the current situation and adjusting in day-to-day activities.
- Taking control and letting go. Chances are you have experienced a leader who led from a position of control. And perhaps others who were more open to letting go. There are times we need to exert a level of control and decisiveness, but not always.
- Asserting and asking. Leaders sometimes talk too much. When we ask more questions, we become better communicators. But there is a time to state a case and not ask for more information or perspectives.
- Patient and driven. There are times and situations where you need to drive urgency and other times when patience will serve you best.
This is just a small sampling of the kinds of approaches, skills, and habits we need to lead effectively. Being well-rounded isn’t about picking one of the two as best. It is about understanding that we must be able to shift between each of the two ideas comfortably in the moment.
People will push back and ask about style. “Kevin, my style is more direct. That’s just how I lead.” Knowing that is useful. Using style or comfort as an excuse or an explanation is poor and lazy thinking.
If you want to be a more well-rounded leader, make it your goal to build your skills – even those that aren’t second nature or comfortable for you. Dedicate yourself to leading by flexing the use of your full skillset as appropriate.
If you want to explore your role as a leader in designing successful teams and building culture, check out our book, The Long-Distance Team: Designing Your Team For Everyone’s Success. Learn more, get a sample chapter, and order a copy for yourself and your team members.