The Professional’s Job Search Creed – 6 of 10

This is part of a series where I’ll introduce 10 points of a creed, and comment on them. The series is summarized as we go (see bottom of post) and you can link back to the commentary on any of the 10 in that summary.

I’ve been dreading number six for a while just because I knew I’d have to do some research on it :):

6. I will understand and will be able to discuss my leadership style.

Ah, leadership styles! This reminds me of those organizational behavior classes that were so theory based and tried to describe all kinds of personalities, organizational structures, etc. I just figured that either management had a great organization or not, and that it was kind of the luck of the draw on how good your boss was. Of course, for me personally, I was a great boss 😉

My style is pretty hands-off – I love what J.R. Simplot had hanging on the foyer of one of his offices: “.” I love that theory and had felt that that is how my supervisor managed. So back to me – I like to hire great people and then let them do their jobs. I like to have continual communication and foster an environment of brainstorming and knowledge transfer. I dislike contention in the workplace, although competition and ego can push others to try a little harder. I love “smart” thinking and appreciate any effort to systematize, or develop processes. Running a company with very limited resources forces systems and processes to be efficient, and that’s what we were good at.

Now if I was interviewing someone that said the stuff above I would not be very impressed – especially if I worked in a large organization. Why? Because it is kind of fluffy stuff with no jargon! I know you are supposed to stay away from most jargon, unless it is appropriate – but I feel that speaking jargon about management and leadership – especially if that is relevent to the job you are applying to, is critical. So here’s the research part, with jargon:

Organizational Structures – I can’t talk about leadership styles without at least touching on org structures, can I?

  • Why Organizational Structures – read the third paragraph of this post from the Agile Executive blog – it is a great reason why there are structures in just a few sentences. It is critical to understand this, to help understand why there are so many structures (and why companies will change the structures (hint: to solve problems – but don’t take it at that, go read the link))
  • hierarchical organizational structure – Jeffrey Phillips has a great write-up on this (and its problems) on his “Thinking Faster blog – click on the link
  • Here are is a really cool post about other structures including matrix, anarchy, rhyzome (and hierarchy). Definitely a good read to learn about all of this *stuff*.

Leadership Styles – I couldn’t do it justice to comment on these, so I recommend drilling down on the following links to see what these authors have to say (many are short posts) and then try and figure out where you stand:

  • Command and Control vs. Motivated – from the Engaging Brand blog, Anna Farmery, from the UK (I find it intriguing to compare how these types of topics are defined/debated across national borders)
  • Authoritarian or autocratic, Participative or democratic, Delegative or Free Reign – very nice summary with some diagrams (thanks to the HM for this link and pulling out this quote: “Although good leaders use all three styles, with one of them normally dominant, bad leaders tend to stick with one style.”) – I hope this page doesn’t go down because it is good stuff.
  • Here are 10 leadership characteristics that you should be able to use in your interview responses. This is from Mary Eule and while she calls this post “10 Leadership Styles” I don’t think these would qualify as styles (rather, characteristics). Nonetheless I find this a great read because (a) it gives you an idea of characteristics to identify yourself with and (b) it is from a marketing person, and I find it good to get ideas from those that don’t think like myself (ok, apply this last concept to yourself ;))
  • Coercive, Authoritative, Affiliative , Democratic, Pacesetting, Coaching – this is from Marios Alexandrou, SEO specialist and Web Project Manager. Don’t you *love* how there is crossover on the lists as well as distinct differences??
  • Authoritative, Facilitative, Consultative, Delegative, Flexibility – this is from Another list that is different than the others.

What’s your style? Can you communicate it better than I did, not just with the title, but with evidence to back it up? Also, can you get letters of recommendation from your bosses, peers and subordinates that helps substantiate your style, and its effectiveness?

Running List:

  1. I will get a job coach (not my spouse) to hold me accountable for my job search efforts. I will encourange him or her to be honest and indicate that feedback is the greatest gift that I could receive. I will ask for at least weekly contact. (read the post here)
  2. I will network for contacts, opportunities and more market knowledge; making at least 10 networking contacts each day and working towards at least 10 interviews each week; with at least five of those with decision makers. (read the post here)
  3. I will attend the Professional Career Workshop and attend at least one Professional Networking Group each week. (read the post here)
  4. I will define and continually refine my professional brand and unique value-added proposition. (read the post here)
  5. I will identify and understand the needs of my target market – looking for industry gaps, problems and trends – and will target my best prospects within that market. I will do the same for each target company I am pursuing. (read the post here)
  6. I will understand and will be able to discuss my leadership style.
  7. (haven’t done yet)
  8. (haven’t done yet)
  9. (haven’t done yet)
  10. (haven’t done yet)