November 2015 Newsletter

Want Awesome Leadership?

   What Styles to Look for and When

Leaders don’t create followers; they create more leaders.”

This quotation from Tom Peters, American writer on business management practices and author of “In Search of Excellence,” came to mind the day Coach Jerry Kill resigned his position as head University of Minnesota football coach due to health reasons.

Kill’s sudden resignation left his defensive coordinator Tracey Claeys as interim coach. About two weeks  later, the University gave Clays the head coach position.

Claeys credits his readiness to become “man in charge” to Kill. Over the past 20 plus years, Claeys has worked alongside Kill, developing a joint vision of how a college football program should operate.

In 2013, while Kill recovered from epileptic seizures, Claeys stepped in as acting head coach to lead the Gophers going 4-3 at the end of the season.

Kill, it seems, didn’t create a follower in Claeys, he created another leader.

The winner, of course, is the University of Minnesota football program. (And me; I’m a fan.)

Creating another leader in itself is powerful, but there’s more we can learn from this Kill-Claeys story.

Primarily, it should demonstrate that we can’t always do everything ourselves and therefore we should look for additional leaders within our teams.

These leaders don’t have to wear a head coach title. Although we expect our head coaches, presidents and CEOs to lead, the fact is this: True leaders lead based on strengths, not titles.

That means anyone on a team who has a particular talent can lead. Perhaps someone who thinks outside the box. Someone with a great idea. Someone — like Claeys — with experience pertinent to the current challenges of a team or organization.

Strong leaders will allow different and additional leaders to emerge based on strengths. They also know who best to tap to lead in a given situation.

“Hold on there just a minute,” you’re probably thinking. “That means I need to know what type of person or leader best fits the bill at a given time. You’d better help me with what I should look for when seeking leaders!”

Here are my thoughts based on Daniel Goleman’s “Six Leadership Styles.” Goleman, best known for his work on Emotional Intelligence, studied leadership, publishing his results in the Harvard Business Review in 2000 as “Leadership that Gets Results.”

  1. If you are looking for immediate compliance — if, for example, you need a leader during a takeover attempt or during an emergency like a tornado or fire — you would choose a coercive leader: someone who leads with a “do-what-I-say” style
  2. If you need to mobilize employees toward a vision, you would choose an authoritative leader: a person, focussing on an end goal, who says, “Come with me,” and leaves the means up to individual team members.
  3. If you wish to create a sense of belonging, you would choose an affiliative leader: someone who clearly believes “people come first” and works to create emotional bonds. You would seek an affiliative leader after trauma or when a team needs to rebuild trust.
  4. If you need employees to buy into or own a decision, plan or goal, you would choose a democratic leader: someone who has a collegial, “what-do-you-think?” leadership style and facilitates an open and free-flowing discussion.
  5. If you have a motivated, experienced, highly functional team, you need a pacesetter who models excellence and direction, and expects her team to follow: a “hands-off, do-as-I-do” person.
  6. If you need to develop people for the future or make them comfortable in their roles, you need a coach who takes an indirect, “try-this” approach: someone who motivates and encourages a team toward success. Someone with a magnetic personality and a boatload of charisma.

A strong leader often uses all these leadership styles at one time or another. A dash of this and a smidgeon of that allows them to lead in a way that inspires a team. If you’re able to do this, you will probably have long-term leadership success with every team you lead.

What many of us don’t realize, however, is that we likely lean toward one or two leadership styles to the exclusion of other options that might better fit a situation. This doesn’t mean you can’t learn and employ a different style, but doing so takes time, motivation and diligence, and sometimes we just don’t have that time.

Wouldn’t it be better to define the end result you want to achieve and employ the best “tool” for the job even if that “tool” is someone else?

Besides, when we share leadership (like Coach Kill did with Claeys, by the way) we’re all a lot smarter. Nimbler. More resourceful.

Here’s the bottom line: As a leader, you have options. Either you do it all or you seek help. And while you likely are capable of much more than you think, if your leadership style just doesn’t feel appropriate or isn’t doing the job, you will do well to create additional leaders on your team.

Your Solution Toolbox: How to Get Feedback to Become a Strong Leader

Want to become a strong leader?

You should start by identifying and acknowledging the tendencies or attitudes that get in your way and then work to overcome them.

For this, you need reliable feedback. Quite frankly, you need Profiles CheckPoint 360º™ Feedback System.

Profiles CheckPoint 360º™ Feedback System provides you with feedback from your supervisor, employees and peers — people who observe your performance. With this specific, job-related information, you can clarify issues and misunderstandings, and make positive changes.

You can use the self-knowledge you gain from this instrument to:

If you are in a management or ownership position, you can also use this assessment to grow effective leaders and develop top talent, build your talent bench, guide leaders through career transitions, use leadership development to enact key changes in your business, and increase leadership accountability. 
Of course, you and your leaders, must be open to feedback and willing to respond positively. Given this willingness, however, CheckPoint 360º™ will positively impact not only individual growth but your organization’s success.

If you would like more information about Profiles CheckPoint 360º™ Feedback System or any of Profiles International’s assessments, call me today at 952-322-3330 or send an email to

HR Consulting
Call me, too, if you are looking for professional assistance with your personnel questions. We’ll help you learn how to:

Let's Talk! We offer a no-obligation consultation to informally assess your current policies, procedures and practices. This may help determine what's missing in your current programs. Again, call 952-322-3330 or send an email to

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