There are several different successful styles of leaders. But the one thing that every successful leadership style has in common is the fact that the leader is true to who he or she really is. The most successful leaders are not those that follow a pre-prescribed formula, but those who lead from the inside out.
The first and most important trait of leadership is knowing yourself and being self aware. You will not be successful trying to lead in a style that is counterintuitive to who you really are on the inside.
So, relax, and if you’re trying to be someone you’re not because you believe it makes you look more like a leader; just stop. Be true to yourself and lead in a style that feels natural to you.
Get Advice, But Use It Wisely
None of this is meant to suggest that you shouldn’t get advice to help you develop as a leader. Books, seminars and mentors can all be valuable in helping you grow as a leader, and all of us can benefit from this growth.
Instead, understand that you should be growing into who you are meant to be, not some fake ideal of leadership out of a book.
If any leadership advice you read or hear advises you to act in a way that is counterintuitive to your authentic self, it simply won’t work. This advice might work for others who are suited to behaving in the described manner, but you will fail at it and feel badly for it.
So, take any and all advice with a grain of salt. Not every leadership book will work for you because not every leadership style will work for you. Read and take notice of what works for others, but incorporate only the proven advice that you can act on in a way that does not compromise your principles, or make you feel like you’re trying to be someone you’re not.
Each of us has a unique leadership style that can be developed to make us the best business person and leader that we can be. To get to this point, however, we should never be willing to sacrifice who we are as a person to fit into a particular leadership mold. It may not be easy at first, but as you work toward developing yourself, you will begin to see the leader that you were meant to be taking shape.