Center for Simplified Strategic Planning

What Kind of Leader Are You?

Dana Baldwin
Senior Consultant, CSSP, Inc.

Dana Baldwin

What is your leadership style? It may be very difficult to put such an all-encompassing subject into a few words, but let's have a go at it. What are the factors that determine your leadership style?

One of the first likely will be your vision: Where do you want to take your company? Are you deeply involved in developing your strategic plan? Do you encourage others to not just participate in the development of your strategies, but to be pro-active in suggesting different approaches, different strategies, and different perceived opportunities to expand, modify, change or re-direct the aims of the company? Or do you tend to dominate discussions, forcing others to the same channel you are in, and squashing any different opinions?

Another is: how do you lead your people to accomplish your mission/vision? Are you one who tries to inspire others to excel? Do you challenge people to do something different or better than they have been doing? Do you lead by example rather than by dictate?

Yet another is: how do you treat your people? Do you offer real encouragement and appropriate praise when it is due? Do you give people enough room to make mistakes, learn from them and turn them into successes? Or do you second-guess them, keeping them in their place so they won't challenge you?

How do others perceive your leadership? Do you take credit for others' accomplishments, or do you give credit where credit is due? Will people come to you for advice, or do they fear doing so will leave an impression they are not capable of doing their jobs?

Certainly there are more and different characteristics we could explore, but the questions above do help us focus on some of the keys to interpersonal relationships, which can build up the performance of your team or can tear it down, depending on how you actually are perceived by your people.

A good leader will work hard to set a good example. This could mean you are one who comes in early and leaves late. You clearly inform your staff about your strategic plan and how their work affects the overall success of that plan. You set a good standard when you encourage people to take ownership of their work, to take pride in what they do, and when you give out meaningful praise in a timely manner which is relevant to the job actually done. You give credit where credit is due, fully supporting those who make good contributions to the company and team.

Individual leadership styles vary all over the spectrum. But the styles of successful leaders have certain characteristics in common. They support their people. They make every effort to communicate with and listen to their people. They view their job as being responsible for making their people successful so the company will be successful. They give credit for others’ accomplishments and they encourage others to contribute and to think outside their comfort zone. They know that they do not have all the answers, but, en toto, their people can help them get the answers. In short, a good leader involves everyone in helping to make the company more successful.

Dana Baldwin is a Senior Consultant at the Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc. He can be reached at

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