One Size Doesn’t Fit All When It Comes To Leadership

If you look at the tag on the back of your shirt it probably doesn’t say “one size fits all.” The one size fits all approach doesn’t work here – and it definitely doesn’t work with leading your team.

We all have a preferred way of leading others. Some like to delegate while others are hesitant to give up control. We also start making false extrapolations like “this person is a rock star” or “they never hit a deadline” and start to lump people into buckets.

The problem with this type of system as a leader is that it leaves a lot of people exposed while others are being smothered. You need to be flexible in how you lead your team so that you can maximize their output but also so help them feel the appropriate level of development, direction, and support.

Here are two quick ways to be more dynamic as a leader:

  1. Focus on the task or skill – too often we overgeneralize with the people we work with. We lump them into one of two categories, the “rockstar” or “poor performer.” But in reality, those categories often only apply to one specific metric. Your top sales manager might be fantastic at closing deals but struggles with entering basic data into your CRM. If you lead them the same way in both of those areas you’re not helping them achieve their maximum output and they’re unlikely to feel supported.
  2. Is it skill or commitment – when someone is struggling with a skill or task try to identify if their lack of results is coming from skill or commitment. If it’s a skill you can provide remedial training or coaching to help them or have them work with someone who is currently highly skilled to increase their experience. If commitment is the issue is it their confidence or their willingness to do the work? Confidence can be boosted. Try by setting them up for some easy wins or training can help them to see if they make some small changes they can impact their results. If it’s willingness there’s likely a conflict and realignment conversation that must be had to ensure they’re clear on the importance of these tasks.

By taking the time to think about how you’re leading an individual on a specific task or skill you’re going to ensure you’re not taking a “one-size-fits-all” approach. This will help you to increase the results of the people you work with while also ensuring they feel you’re committed to their success and showing them the appropriate level of direction, development, and support.

Want more tips and tricks on leading your team? Check out our Leadership Systems tool.