Do This and Become a Better Leader Instantly

Do This and Become a Better Leader Instantly

Let’s say that you are committed to becoming a better leader. How would you do that?

You might be lucky enough to have a Leadership Development training program in your organization that gives you some of the fundamentals of leadership. If not, then you’ve tried to piece it together on your own – books, podcasts, articles. And after all of that, you probably still aren’t quite sure what are the qualities or behaviors or an exceptional leader.

Leadership is slippery that way. It’s a lot like saying that you want to get in better shape. It’s hard to define and then it’s even harder to know where to start.

The reason I go to a personal trainer is the same reason why executives decide to work with me. They want a personalized approach that gets results more efficiently without wasting time on researching, experimenting and falling off the wagon.

My work with each client will be completely individual, but there are certain frameworks that I have found to be universally useful. One of those is Situational Leadership. It posits that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to leading others. Instead you must adapt your leadership style to the situation and to the person (s) you are leading. While it sounds straightforward, my experience in working with executives is that they rely too heavily on a single style of leading.

What do I mean?

Let’s start with a quick self-assessment. Look at the brief descriptors below and choose which 1-2 styles you most often employ in leading your current team. In case this helps, you’ll notice that some of the descriptors rely more on telling, and others rely on asking.

  • Directive – you know how to get things done and you tell others what to do. You work fast and are decisive.

  • Visionary – you inspire others with a vision of where the team/company is going. You create excitement for what’s possible.

  • Team builder – you see each person on the team, taking time to listen and show concern about how they are doing. People feel safe.

  • Consensus builder – you solicit ideas, thoughts and opinions to create the best decision. You value the opinions of others.

  • Pace setter – you lead by example. Rather than tell people what’s expected of them, you show them by setting a high bar for yourself.

  • Coach – you elicit your team’s best thinking by using coaching skills (e.g. listening and inquiry) to help them own their own development.

Some of you might be wondering, “Did I pick the good ones?” or “Is there a right answer?”

All of these styles are good. And they all work. In the right context.

You know the saying, “If you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail”? That’s what this is about. If your go-to is Consensus Builder and Coach, but there is a massive bug in the product that you are about to ship, you don’t have the time to rely on your go-to styles. Instead you would be more effective flexing to Directive and Pace Setter styles.

Conversely, let’s say that you are leading a project with other seasoned executives. It’s unlikely that they will respond well to being told what to do (Directive or Visionary). You may be better served by leveraging Consensus Builder.

leadership styles exercise
leadership styles

Adapted from “Leadership that Gets Results” by Daniel Goleman (


To understand and develop your own leadership style, as well as your ability to move more fluidly and masterfully from one to another, email me at to learn more about executive coaching for yourself or for someone in your organization.

Starla Sireno specializes in Executive Communication Skills Training in NYC. Whether it is an individual conversation or a group facilitation, Starla has an unparalleled ability to create deeply meaningful, useful and practical learning experiences for her clients. Inquire how you can work with Starla or her team.

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