A leader’s ability to motivate and “get things done” comes from leveraging power from a positional or social/personal perspective.  Positional influence is leveraging power or authority through a superior role, such as a department manager or boss.  This type of leadership gains compliance but often in a malicious manner.  Social/personal influence is through developing relationships, valuing contributions, and fostering mutual respect amongst team members.  This type of leadership tends to create buy-in to the team’s purpose.

Positional leadership creates some “order” within teams and organizations.  For example, delegation and ultimate decision depend upon an organizational structure and defined roles and responsibilities.  However, effective leadership focuses on influencing others in such a way that they develop a commitment to your organization’s vision, mission, and goals, rather than forcing people to fall in line.  It means not just being the leader but also part of the team; when needed, you will “get your hands dirty” as well.  By being a role model for teamwork, you can motivate individuals around a common goal.  With this approach in mind, effective leadership focuses on developing teams committed to pursuing and accomplishing a goal versus individuals or the group dedicated to compliantly following the rules of their boss.

Analyzing your approach to leadership can be difficult.  It requires vulnerability and exposing yourself to the “mirror-test.” Here are questions to ask yourself (or have your key leaders ask of themselves) and rank answers from 1-5 (1 = Poor – 5 = High):

  1. Am I consistently a good role model for collaboration and teamwork?
  2. Am I respected as a team member, not just a team leader?
  3. Do I operate by my own set of rules?
  4. Do I have high performers that operate by their own set of rules?
  5. Do my affirmations, motivation incentives, and recognition programs address and reward team versus individual achievements?
  6. Do I make an effort to convey to my team members that I value and respect them as persons, not just production units?
  7. Is my team operating at maximum efficiency to enhance performance, or are my managers operating on a “turf management” basis?
  8. Do I encourage my key managers to meet periodically to discuss how departments can support each other in a team fashion?
  9. Am I known not to accept mediocrity, first in myself and second in my team members?
  10. Am I known as a servant to other team members of the team?
  11. Do I give my team member the benefit of the doubt?

As the business owner and the leader, you set the standard for being an effective leader and team member, which sets the tone for your organizational culture.  Suppose you enhance your awareness of the diversity of ways in which you influence the motivations, behavior, and productivity of team members.  In that case, you can then lead by example for your team.

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The article was originally published on the website: What Kind of Leader Do You Want to Be? Positional or Influential?

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