October 16, 2011

Leadership - "What Style at What Time?"

Last week's blog we discussed certain qualities needed to be a good leader. While these qualities are important your style of leadership will dictate whether you go from a good leader to an effective leader. 1.Choosing a style of leadership will be determined by the nature of the initiative and it's overall priority within the HBA. For this article, I will refer to committees, task forces and working groups as initiatives.

What Style at What Time?

There are many styles of leadership but when you break them down, and categorize, you find that each fall into one of three groups. For this blog we will refer to these groups as styles:

  • Autocratic: This leader is take charge, always in control. He or she will have a strong tendency to micro-manage or completely "run the show." 
  • Participative: This leader delegates, keeping the whole group engaged. Will set a plan, with a matrix, and let's those chosen with certain roles free to carry out their portion of the overall plan. The participative leader will clear roadblocks so others can remain focused and will give guidance if asked and will support a decision if it is consistent with the goals and desired outcome of the initiative.
  • Free-reign: This leader is hands off and let's the group dictate what the needs and actions should be for the entire initiative. 

Free-reign has a time and a place but some leaders to choose to go this path. Some may say it's a good way to lead, to have others set the plan for the group, have others craft the matrix and let others decide the rest. Here is my opinion; others were not asked by the HBA president to lead the initiative. You were. You will be the person others will see when the initiative is not as successful as it could have been. There is a time and a place for "once in awhile" free-reign leadership; things are moving smoothly, goals are being met, volunteers have that feeling of accomplishment. You can not be a successful leader if you start off as free-reign. 

There will be times where you will need to be autocratic, depending on the timeline of the set plan and whether or not the short term or long term matrix is falling behind. Sometimes the volunteers are not performing as they agree to when given the opportunity they chose to take. The leader of this initiative will have to step in and pick up the slack or dropped item.

The particpative leader blends a little free-reign and more than a little autocratic into this style. This leader has a plan set and works with the group. This leader will take full responsibility for lack of results but will give full credit to the members working the initiative and will highlight to HBA leadership those who deserve the accolades. This style of leader will also help to identify future leaders of the initiative and work for an energized transition. 

Note: Two other quasi styles/qualities that need mentioning:

Charismatic: This leader is needed when morale is low and motivation has stagnated. Being creative, with passion, is required to achieve the goal(s) of this initiative.

Visionary: This leader will identify tomorrow and all that it has to offer and what changes, slight to radical, may be needed for the future.

Next week's blog will explain the role of chairman.

Submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP
2011 NAHB Associate Members Committee Chairman

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, do more and become more, you are a leader" ~ John Adams

Note: This series of upcoming blog posts are based on The NAHB Associates power point presentation titled "Unlocking the Mystery of Associate Leadership. Thank you to the New Jersey Builders Association for donating the presentation to NAHB so that our associate members across the Federation could help those who want to contribute their skills and talents in helping the HBAs. 

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