Crafting Your Own Style of Leadership

You might be a brilliant strategist. You might be hitting and exceeding the performance goals of your business plan – every quarter.

But if you disappeared today, what would you leave behind?

Peter Drucker famously stated that “management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

Honesty and Authenticity

What would the people you’ve worked with do differently because they worked with you? What would they think about differently? Would they emulate your behaviors in any way? Or would they be saying “I’m never going to do that/be that/act that way?”

The way that people think, behave, approach work and life because they worked with you – is your leadership legacy. And it has very little to do with your abilities, your measurable performance, your strategic understanding. It has everything to do with who you are, as a person, at work. It has everything to do with your natural role, (as opposed to your title and responsibilities).

Although our natural tendencies can be influenced and accentuated, your goal should be to align your intended legacy, with your natural style. Staying true to your real character.

Something that Hayley Wickenheiser, Canada’s National Women’s Team longest serving members and one of Canada’s most decorated Olympians is only too aware of, “I think ultimately . . . people really appreciate you when you are authentic, when you’re honest, upfront and when you do what you say and mean what you say.”

Managing Men and Women

Hayley also believes that recognizing the difference between managing men and women is important for your style as a leader. “Playing hockey with men is easier, actually, in some ways . . . They’re very task oriented and just get the job done,” she explains.

“When you play with women . . . they tend to want to know why. They ask a lot of questions . . . they’re very attentive, good listeners, really keen, to do it right.” Hayley describes that managing the two sexes, has a totally different feel, “you cannot lead women as abruptly as you can with men.” Which means that you have to learn two very different leadership styles.

She describes that the business world is really no different to the ice rink, you simply don’t have the element of physical competitiveness that changes the dynamic. Leadership is still a case of understanding individual personalities and egos, and blending them together to make a team.

The Art of Leadership

Hayley is one of the speakers at this year’s Art of Leadership. She thinks the title is quite apt, as leadership really is an art. “I don’t think there’s one single way to lead,” Hayley explains. “I think every person has their own strengths and weaknesses, and within that you have to figure out what works for you and what helps you connect with other people.” And that’s where the ‘art’ comes into it. She believes that to be an effective leader you need to find a niche for yourself, that finds the right balance of all those traits.

She also believes that leadership is a constantly evolving thing. “Every day I know I learn a little bit more about leadership,” says Hayley. “You meet people with different styles of leadership, and you say ‘oh maybe I’ll take that’ and you use that and as you grow and change as a person.” And who better to learn from than one of Canada’s most successful and well-liked sport leaders.

The Art of Leadership takes place on Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at The Centre for Performing Arts in Vancouver. Save $100 on your ticket price by using promo code SBBC32. Register here.