You have your business. It is going well, especially for a start-up of less than X number of years or months. You are feeling pretty good and downright proud of yourself for pulling off such a successful endeavor. And, well you should be proud of yourself!
So, what is next?
We don’t ever really stand still. We are either moving forward or moving backward. This is your opportunity to get ahead of the game.
Sometimes the seemingly smallest things can make or break a company. The type of leadership is no small thing, but it can make or break the company, depending on the size and dynamics of the company.
There is no expectation that anyone is perfect, and certainly the leaders are not perfect. However, it is also a good idea to put some effort into improving oneself as a leader so that the company itself may be improved. In this article, we will discuss some of what this means and that it is not just a case of a leader being a “good leader” for that purpose only, but that it has an impact on the followers (whether a specific department or the entire company) and that impact does have a direct impact on the company overall, as well as the perception of those outside the company.
PCL versus SCL
There are many different methods of defining and discussing leadership types. Instead of listing every possible method or approach, we are going to talk about two related types. They are related in the sense that a discussion of one often involves the discussion of the other. They are not related in a way that they are similar. Rather, they are dissimilar.
PCL stands for “Personalized Charismatic Leader” and SCL stands for “Socialized Charismatic Leader.” There is a discussion on the comparison of the two here.
Let’s step back and talk about the word “Charismatic.” The basis for the word is “charisma” which has to do with how engaging, appealing, charming a person is. That is a very simplified definition but think of the charisma as what draws you to another person. When it comes to a person being a charismatic leader that is the type of person that has enough charisma to naturally draw people to him or herself. So, we can rule out those people who rule their followers exclusively out of fear and only fear, as that would not be charisma. However, from my experience, I have seen leaders who are charismatic leaders but who also use fear tactics and it is the fear that motivates the followers. Those types of leaders do not last. But, it does exist, with a combination of fear and charisma.
Back to the charisma part. Now, let’s break it down into “personalized” (PCL) and “socialized” (SCL). The personalized version is all about the leader. Simply put, it is an egotistical or narcissistic approach to leadership. That is the type of person who may have a bit of fear methodology in their leadership style (described above). The other type, SCL is a socialized or group-aware, social-aware leadership style where the leader is more interested in the team and team-building aspects than him or herself exclusively. Because of the focus on the team, the SCL is not likely to have a fear methodology in his or her leadership style.
Do you see where this is going?
No Right or Wrong Leadership Type
Technically, there is no right or wrong type of leadership type. If that were the case, we would be judging people as they come into this world as right people and wrong people, and that simply isn’t very kind. However, there are methods that are more effective. The SCL approach tends to be more effective because the leader is focused on his or her team and mobilizing them forward as a group, for the benefit of the company. Naturally, many of us, as followers, would desire that type of leader. Not all of us, as leaders, are the SCL type. In fact, not all people are leaders and not all leaders are charismatic, let alone an SCL type.
The first step is to identify what type of leader you are. If you tend to look at the group first, and how you can encourage them, as your team, then you are more likely an SCL type. If you tend to look at yourself first, and everything points to you, as the CEO, then you are more likely a PCL type. I would say, “Don’t beat yourself up,” if you determine that you are PCL, but most leaders who are PCL are also less likely to beat themselves up over it. They are more likely to think of the SCL type as weaker than they are and that the discussion is a waste of time. That is where the PCL may be slipping down the dangerous side of the slope company-wise. If you are a PCL and you are wanting to deny it, that is the time to pay attention. I cannot tell you how many companies have fallen apart because a PCL type has not acknowledged it and taken notice. In those cases, the PCL leader has been so egotistical that they do not see that their company is failing and slipping away into oblivion.
Improving On Your Leadership
If you are an SCL, then you are on the right track for caring for your team. However, we can all improve our game. Look for team-building exercises and continue to solicit feedback from your team on ideas that they may have. The thing that you need to watch is that you are not so cognizant of your team that you almost hand the reigns over to them to run the company instead of you. Your desire to engage and include your team could go too far if you are overextending and forget that you are the leader. You can be a kind leader and still be authoritative enough that the team does not think that they should topple you as leader of the pack.
If you are a PCL, then you have the authoritative edge, and you know it. Like the SCL, you should look for team-building exercises, and you should start to solicit feedback from your team members, especially your managers. One idea is to have a weekly meeting with your managers and ask them what they think. Try to restrain from monopolizing the meeting and give the managers a chance to speak their mind. This will help to build trust and encourage the managers to support you, as their leader. Even if you have no intention of listening to what your managers say (don’t tell them that!), at least practice pretending to care. Eventually, you are likely to move in the direction of caring, with more and more practice.
Regardless of the type of leader you are, there is hope for your company and your team. In fact, there is more than hope if you implement steps to improve your team and your company. By understanding yourself, first, and moving toward understanding the people who comprise your team, you have moved a long way into that process improvement. BY continuing to practice this process of understanding, the only direction you will go is up.. onward to more success.