20 Jun, 2018

Leadership Styles

Joanna Hoffschneider

Thought Leadership  
Blog Types

Read time: 2 minutes, 26 seconds

Leadership. At least in theory, we’re all striving for it. Part of the benefit a professional association like SMPS can bring our members is leadership development programming specific to our roles, job functions, and industry focus.

Sometimes leadership is conveyed in our titles; sometimes we’re officially and overtly identified as a leader in our organization – perhaps for a project, perhaps for all of marketing. For most of us marketers, though, we’re leading from the middle. We lead pursuits, we lead teams, and many of us are the hidden leadership forces in our larger organizations.

Part of my appreciation for being involved in SMPS DC's #LikeABoss Leadership Development Series, which recently graduated its second cohort, is that we focus on the practical development of leadership skills and behaviors, crafting personal action plans to develop ourselves as successful, authentic leaders in ways that are nuanced and situationally appropriate.

For the last two years, I’ve been privileged to teach Leadership Styles to the cohorts.

“Leadership is a series of behaviors rather than a role for heroes.” Margaret Wheatley

Know Yourself

For the #LikeABoss program we use the Predictive Index (PI) assessment to give a shared vocabulary, to provide insight into our motivating needs and behavioral drives, and to understand why we may behave (or want to behave) in certain ways. The PI is a powerful tool for learning, but knowing ourselves is always the starting point for effective leadership, with or without an assessment.

Introspection is key. The first challenge of leadership is to lead yourself – calmly, intentionally, and in ways that are contextually appropriate. If we never reflect on what’s working and what isn’t, how will we learn and improve?

Seek to Understand Others

Oh, that everyone was just like us! Well, maybe not exactly, but we all fall into the trap of treating others as if they thought just like we do. Good leadership takes planning. Not everyone is the same and we must be ready to lead in different ways, shaped to the needs of the people or projects we are leading.

Leadership can be collaborative or directive, fast-paced or iterative, quiet or loud. Great leadership can be all of those things, specifically chosen for the best results in a particular situation. It won’t always look the same, but it will always be effective.

Just as we need to reflect on ourselves and the results we’re getting, we need to consider specific “others” and the leadership styles needed for effective outcomes. Strong leaders need a range of leadership skills on which to draw.

Yourself x Others – The Algebra of Leadership

Truly awesome leadership is algebra, not addition. Because not every situation is a nail, you cannot always be a hammer. The person or project that you’re leading will change - you need to change, too! With practice, learning, and feedback, great leaders can develop a range of practices that are always authentic and congruent, but allow them to be fluid, providing the right leadership at the right time in the right context.

It takes patience, but the satisfaction of great leadership is totally worth it. Effectively leading both people and projects allows us to see the benefits of smart colleagues, thoughtful decisions, and great marketing planning. Without effective leadership those factors can be negated by frustration, wasted effort, and friction within the organization.

So how can you follow up on this?

Sign up for next year’s Leadership Development Series!

In the meantime, three specific suggestions:

  1. Take time to reflect – what worked and what felt “off”?
  2. Take time to plan – what does the situation need for success?
  3. Get feedback – how does your leadership look from the outside?

And, if you would like to learn more about the Predictive Index tool we used in the program, please reach out to me.