The following blog is a guest post by Rachelle Lee. Rachelle is President of Einblau & Associates, a full-service management consulting firm serving clients across North America. She specializes in leadership coaching and training, strengths-based assessments, and succession planning.
The true measure of a leader’s success is in the performance and accomplishments of their team. In other words, your team members have to be performing at their peak for you to succeed. Where this is not the case, you can’t succeed as a leader. An individual employee’s performance is rarely enough to achieve the needed success and as a leader, you need to focus on what you are contributing when it comes to creating an environment that allows your team members to reach their full potential.
The question is – what leadership styles will you adopt to help inspire peak performance among your team members? Different contexts and situations call for different leadership styles.
Bearing this in mind, I want to share five leadership styles you may consider adopting. From here, you might be able to spot the exact leadership styles suitable for your current needs as well as personality and strengths style. Before we get into that, let’s do a brief overview of the essence of peak performance.
What Is Performance?
The word ‘peak’ simply points to the top or highest level of activity, status, value, or outcome. Peak performance in this case is about reaching the highest level of ability to perform certain tasks or duties. In most cases, peak performance is characterized by initiative to deepen mastery and continuous learning.
Looking at leadership context specifically, most people can only unleash their potential for the greatest achievement when they are performing at their peak.
Best Leadership Styles For Inspiring Peak Performance
#1: Coaching Style Leadership
A coaching style of leadership is about helping people gain awareness, problem solve, and increase their ability to accomplish certain tasks and goals. This type of leadership style is based on the belief that human ability is rarely a static thing. While the goals can be fixed, the ability to accomplish them can be increased gradually over time.
As a coaching style leader, you can help people reach peak performance through helping them gain:
- Awareness of performance barriers
- New perspectives that motivate them into action
- Training and new skill acquisition
- Understanding of their performance level through consistent feedback
- Knowledge of specific areas of strength and how to take advantage of these
When you lead through coaching, your team will understand that you care about their success and are willing to support them. That understanding increases the confidence they need for peak performance.
#2: Transformational Leadership
In the true sense of it, leadership is not about a position or title. Instead, it is a responsibility to take action towards leading people from where they are to a place, position, or outcome that is significantly better and makes them proud. Based on this perspective, transformation can be seen as one of the core responsibilities of a leader.
You are not there to preserve or manage things. The key responsibility is to inspire and transform.
Leadership success can be measured through the transformation of people, processes, and performance culture. In addition, pay attention to cultural barriers that limit peak performance within your team or company
#3: Democratic Leadership
Democracy is the core value on which this style of leadership is based. When you adopt this style, the consideration of diverse opinions is paramount, especially during decision-making. This is contrary to autocratic leadership which is known to stifle ideas that might lead to peak performance.
Through democratic leadership, you might be able to achieve things like –
- Creative collaboration
- Openness to timely and relevant feedback
- Adaptability and responsiveness to change
In a democratic leadership context, these are some of the things that inspire peak performance. One benefit of democratic leadership is this: when you involve people in making the decisions that affect them, they are more motivated to achieve peak performance and it’s also a great way to retain high-value talent because they feel they have influence and their contributions are valued.
#4: Servant Leadership
Contributing to the growth of others is the core value driving servant leadership. In other words, the leader strives to serve the needs of the people on the team they manage. To lead is to serve. Hence, these types of leaders focus on supporting others first, before considering their own needs.
Instead of waiting to be served, a servant leader takes the lead to serve and support the organizational growth interests and performance gaps of their employees. As with any leadership style, it sets the example. This leadership style sets a positive example that inspires people to serve others in the same way so everyone can perform at their peak.
In practical terms, the impact of the leader can be measured through how they see their role, is it to serve and help others be successful, or is it to make people do things that make the leaders successful in the eyes of others?
#5: Visionary Leadership
Visionary leaders are defined by their ability to create a vision with others, and communicating and rallying people around that vision. Through the vision they create, they see great potential everywhere – in people, resources, and processes. They see things, not just the way they are, but what they could become. These leaders are known to make the greatest impact in a team, company, and beyond. In most cases, what makes their vision powerfully-motivating isn’t their interest but their ability to harness the interests of others so they feel inspired to work hard towards achieving the vision. This positive, forward-thinking attitude makes them exceptionally able to see great potential in people.
This understanding, that making the vision a reality requires the involvement of others; is why they are leaders that actually attain the vision with their teams. They believe that when people perform at their peak, towards a common vision, leadership success will be one of the many positive outcomes.
More than anything else, helping others see the vision of what is possible is a driving force for great performance from everyone.
Whether you are leading a team or company, adopting any of these styles will help you to inspire peak performance among your team members. While there may be other leadership styles you have found success with, these styles are very effective for creating high-performing teams. Being able to recognize and apply the right style for the situation and needs of the team is what highly successful leaders strive for. Regardless of your personality type, you have strengths that can be applied to gain success as a leader. If you want to gain awareness of your strengths and how that impacts your leadership goals, there are excellent style assessments to develop that understanding.
At the end of the day, the growth, progress, and resulting success of the people you lead will determine your success as a leader, and how much fulfillment you gain in your career.