Everyone starts their business with many hopes and expectations and leads it with a particular style. Every successful startup witnesses natural growth. Read the history of any successful company, and you will find that it was not always a big corporation. As your company grows, it’s only logical to realize that your leadership style will need to adapt to new challenges.
What starts off as a small office gradually takes the shape of a vast business. You embark on the journey with a couple of team members, and before you know it, you have hundreds of employees working for you. And as your team gets bigger and the extent of your business increases, your leadership style must evolve too.
Confused? How about an example?
Let’s say you opened a small design firm. Initially, the team merely comprised 4-5 individuals. You sat around a conference table, brainstorming ideas and pitching proposals. As you start getting more contracts, you bring another designer on board. And then another! You continue to follow the same working pattern.
Initially, everything may appear smooth. But soon enough, you will realize things aren’t working out. Everyone is handling different projects. And being huddled in the same conference room no longer seems ideal.
Not only that, even you aren’t able to handle everything. New issues crop up. New announcements have to be made and new contracts to be signed. You are stretching yourself thin. And this is when you will realize that your company has come a long way from where it started. It has become crucial to change your approach and your leadership style.
The Basic Concept of Leadership Style
Before proceeding, let’s talk a bit about what exactly leadership style entails. To put it in simple terms, leadership is all about the approach taken by the person in charge to influence others to work towards the goal of the team.
Of course, leaders need to exhibit some assertiveness and expressiveness. But everyone has a unique style of handling their team. Here are some common successful leadership styles.
- Direct: Leaders with a direct style take charge. They have low expressiveness and pretty high assertiveness.
- Spirited: Those with spirited style look to inspire others. Hence, they have both high expressiveness and assertiveness.
- Considerate: These leaders work on building team harmony. They have high expressiveness but low assertiveness.
- Systematic: This leadership style involves careful planning. These leaders exhibit low expressiveness and assertiveness.
Why adapt your leadership style with time?
You must be wondering why it’s imperative to adapt your leadership style as your team gets bigger.
Yes, you might still be the same person, but you have to realize that your team has changed. There’s quite a significant difference between handling a small team and a large organization.
Moving from Direct to Indirect Management
When the team is small, it’s easy to develop a personal relationship with everyone. You can keep tabs on how everyone works, their strengths, weaknesses, and so on.
But that’s not possible once your team comprises more than 20 people. You can’t have a direct relationship with all of them. If you try to communicate with everyone on a personal level, it will take up a lot of your time. And following up on orders will become even more troublesome.
After all, there’s so much you have to handle, like maintaining quality, coming up with strategies, and hiring new members. You won’t have enough hours in the day to do everything if you spend too much time with each individual.
Hence, you will have to delegate some responsibilities to someone else. You will have to hire managers. You will have to detach from some details of the company while keeping an eye on everything.
Initially, you might feel you are losing control. But remember, one part of handling a large company is knowing when to take charge and when to step back.
How You Are Perceived
As your team grows, people’s perception of you changes, too. When you start small, your team members treat you as an equal. Of course, you still command respect, but they aren’t intimidated by you to the extent that they can’t put forth their opinion.
But when you are managing a big team, you are viewed as a big shot. People are reluctant to say what they really feel. You might not even realize it, but people don’t consider you approachable merely due to your stature.
When you are in a position of authority, the way, people look at you changes. Hence, they are unlikely to challenge you even when their point of view contradicts yours.
This is when you have to think about adjusting your leadership style. You have to determine whether your team members are comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions with you. Do they feel you aren’t easily approachable? Are you not being told the full story? The answer to this will decide your leadership style.
Handling So Much More
When you lead a small team, you have a lot of time on your hands. You can spend time with your team, exploring ideas and discussing other details.
But as your team grows, you can’t spend so much time on a particular topic. You have more projects to handle, hence have to divide your time accordingly. You have to conduct back-to-back meetings and supervise everything going on.
It can get pretty distracting and overwhelming as your mind jumps from one topic to another. It’s easy to lose focus. Therefore, at this point, you have to look back at your leadership style and decide if it’s time to evolve.
Let Your Leadership Style Reflect Your Success
As a leader, you have to select your battles. You can’t handle everything. If you try to manage it all on your own, you are bound to miss out on things which in turn will make you frustrated and irritable.
Therefore, it’s crucial that your leadership style is in line with the kind of team you handle. Of course, you can’t change the crux of your personality. But you have to adjust your approach. You have to build self-reliant teams and work on creating a clear vision and goal for everyone to follow.
Once you realize how your leadership style affects the company’s growth, you will be inclined to adapt to the changing trends.