Leadership styles for all seasons

There’s no one size fits all when it comes to leadership. Different situations require different approaches. What worked in one setting might not be as effective in another.

So how are we supposed to know which leadership style to choose for a given business situation?

We found the overview in this article in Fast Company pretty insightful. It breaks out the following 6 leadership styles and describes the situations where they will take you the farthest:

  1. The pacesetting leader. Motto: “Do as I do, now.” Best for already motivated teams when quick results are needed.
  2. The authoritative leader. Motto: “Come with me.” Works best when the team needs to be excited around a new vision.
  3. The affiliative leader. Motto: “People come first.” Best in times of stress or when the team needs to rebuild trust.
  4. The coaching leader. Motto: “Try this.” Works best when the leader wants to help teammates build lasting personal strengths.
  5. The coercive leader. Motto: “Do what I tell you.” Best in times of crisis, such as in a company turnaround or a takeover attempt.
  6. The democratic leader. Motto: “What do you think?” Most effective when the leader needs fresh ideas from qualified teammates.

The article will give you more background. Why don’t you head over and see which leadership styles might work best for your tasks at hand?

Last-minute Presentation Prep

Do you get instant sweaty palms like we do when you have to give impromptu remarks or a last-minute presentation?

Public speaking can be absolutely terrifying—especially when there’s little or no time to prepare. We’ve found some useful tips for making off-the-cuff remarks a little less daunting at Harvard Business Review’s blog. These should also work well for any occasion where you have to say something and are not sure how to say it. The gist?

  • Jot down a quick structure
  • Start with the punchline
  • Acknowledge your audience
  • Memorize what to say–not how to say it
  • Keep it brief

Remember these and we’re sure you’ll kill it.

The Path to Email Excellence

We are so far from reaching Inbox Zero that we’re not even going to bother trying.

But we feel strongly about emails. Isn’t achieving email excellence as noble a pursuit as reaching Inbox Zero?

We think so. And were thrilled to find this article in Fast Company that promises to give Templates and Hints for the Perfect Email for Almost Every Situation.

It shares emails that kindly say “no” in a variety of circumstances, gives you magic phrases (“You’re right.” “I’d love to help with this.”) as well as power replies to customer complaints (“You’re right, we could definitely do this better.”  “I know this is a huge disruption to your day and I’m working to get it fixed.”), it alerts you to empty words you should skip and full words you should use liberally.

Why don’t you try some of the recommendations and see whether it takes you closer to email excellence? We sure will.

Why don’t you record your messages?

Have you ever gotten a cramp in your thumb from excessive chatting on WhatsApp or Threema or whatever your preferred platform is? Those are the moments when we praise their audio note feature and start sending audio clips.

Then this article from Inc. Magazine popped up in our radar and promised to solve all our email inbox problems the same way we solve our cramped thumb problems: By recording your messages.

Mind you, we’re not saying you should record every single email. Far from it. But there are always those emails that require longer, more complex responses. And always those that would benefit from having a personal touch. You can’t call everyone, that would take longer than writing epic emails. You also don’t want to just leave lengthy voicemails that might get ignored amidst the other unheard messages.

But you can record your answer and send it with an email subject that frames the content.

We particularly liked these three advantages:

  • Fewer miscommunications regarding the tone of the message — Everyone who ever either misunderstood the tone of an email and had an email misunderstood, raise your hands. Yes, we thought it was everyone.
  • Much more engaging and personal for the recipient — They will also know you cared enough to try a new and possibly better way to answer their concern
  • You can record responses anywhere — Every iPhone has a Voice Memo function, Androids come with Voice recorder so you can record while you’re sitting in the park or getting your nails done.

Why don’t you pick one email that you’ve been kicking around your inbox for days now and give it a shot? And tell us how it went!

First impressions, lasting relationships

We’re constantly meeting new people, new colleagues, new clients. So how do you make sure to make a great first impression that can lead to lasting relationships?

We loved this article on 7 Ways to Make a Killer First Impression in Inc. Magazine.

Why don’t you try the three tips we liked the most:

  1. Take care of the basics: Make sure you’re put together in a way that suits the occasion and brings out your personal business style.
  2. Let them talk first: It builds trust and warmth toward you and you will learn a lot about your vis-a-vis.
  3. Reveal your flaws: Remember that it’s not about creating an impression of perfection but about making a human connection.

Own the question, win at politics

We love questions. Questions help us learn about things. They are amazing.

After reading this Inc. article about The Secret to Winning at Work we know that questions can help solve all our office politics problems as well.

Imagine something went really wrong at work. A project tanked. A client lost. Raise your hand if you feel the urge to immediately point fingers away from yourself? (We’re not proud of it but we’re holding up all our hands.)

Instead of crafting iron-clad arguments on why you’re without blame, why not ask — and own — a question.

In the case of a tanked project or a lost client the questions could be as simple as:

How do we fix the project?

How do we win back the client?

Suddenly, with help of a simple question, you’ve made clear that you’re part of the solution, not the problem. Questions, they are amazing indeed and clear the road to what really matters.