The Handsaw Approach to Leadership
Finding the Right Leadership Style for the Situation
When you’re building a house, you have a variety of different tools. Different saws for cutting different boards, drills, nail guns, metal working tools, drywalling tools, and the list goes on. Nobody would dream of building a house with just a handsaw and a hammer. Too often, however, leadership is approached with just one tool.
This handsaw approach to leadership works great… for a while. But when challenges come that require a different leadership style, those in a leadership position wonder why their usual approach isn’t working. You could hammer a nail with a handsaw, but it’s not going to go well for the nail or the saw.
A flexible leadership structure is needed to get through the trials that come along. Here are the 4 archetypes of leadership that can be tuned to fit any occasion.
The Delegating Leader – Many people see leadership as a position of delegation. A big part of it is delegating. In this position you have your vision set, you know what needs to get done to achieve it, and you know how it should happen… but you don’t have the time or energy to do it all yourself. You have to delegate tasks to your team and tell them, “This is what you need to do.”
The delegating leader is seen as an authority that gives commands. In some situations it will work wonderfully well; in others it will be seen as divisive.
The Influencing Leader – Maxwell defines leadership as influence. But the influencing leader has taken the delegation to another level and gives subtle commands but uses influence to get the tasks done. Instead of, “This is what you need to do.” The influencing leader says, “Your talents would be best used doing this.” It changes from what you need to do, to what you can do.
Influence and delegation often have the same result, but different people and situations warrant different approaches.
The Inspiring Leader – As a leader, you have the overall vision in mind. You also know what needs to be done to get there and how great life will be when the vision is achieved. The difficult task is getting everyone else to take your vision and make it their own. The inspiring leader can stir up emotions so that it’s no longer my vision, but rather our vision. When this is done, influence and delegation to complete tasks are no longer needed; everyone will already want to get them done.
Inspiration can only go so far. When everyone wants to get it done, but they don’t know what to get done, they need guidance. Some may need to be told what to do; others will simply need pointed in the right direction.
The Perspiring Leader – They say that the difference between a manager and a leader is the difference between “Go!” and “Let’s go!” But as a leader if you are right there doing the grunt work, who will work on the mission and vision and rally the troops? But if you’re just shouting “Go!” who will keep morale high? When it is crunch time, get out there and perspire with everyone to ensure the job gets done. Then, when things are moving on their own, you can step back.
The perspiring leader knows when to get his or her hands dirty, and when to put on a tie for a presentation. A careful mix of the two can eliminate resentment for “those at the top.”
Big Sky Collision Center Trains Leaders
We may be known as the best auto body repair shop in Montana, but that’s not what we are all about. Our goal is to train leaders, to build people up, and to grow individuals. When those skills are developed, they are displayed through the employees giving their all to their position. The ultimate result is that you get a vehicle that was fixed the way it should be, repaired to factory safety standards, service with uncompromising integrity, and you’re left feeling good about the experience.