Understanding personal leadership style is important. However, regardless of preferred leadership style and dominant personality traits, an effective leader knows that they must adapt their leadership style and strategies to meet the needs of their team. A team’s capacity, drive, and culture can determine what type of leadership style is needed from their leader to produce the results needed for success.
Two leadership strategies that a leader may employ are push and pull strategies. These strategies are polar opposites of one another, but each can be very useful if applied in the right context. However, using either of these at the wrong time can frustrate employees or stymie growth and productivity.
Envision a push leadership strategy as a leader positioned behind their team, serving as a springboard that pushes them toward their goal. In this situation, team members have the knowledge and tools to be successful. These team members need motivation and support from their leader and a strong vision. Essentially, the leader acts as a mother bird that pushes the baby birds from the nest, knowing that they can fly. When a leader utilizes the push strategy, they give their team members latitude to express creativity, develop solutions, and find strategic ways to accomplish the vision. This strategy relies on a strong, effectively communicated vision, trust, support, and motivation.
A pull leadership strategy occurs when a leader positions themselves in front of their team and pulls them along. The leader has to pave the way and establish the path for the team to follow. A pull leadership strategy is usually necessary if the vision and goals are unclear, the team or organization is implementing an entirely new process, or the team members do not have the knowledge and skills to be successful independently. A pull leadership strategy should only be temporary! As the leader pulls the team, they should refine the vision, establish processes and systems, equip their team, and cultivate a culture that will promote autonomy in the future. The goal of implementing the pull leadership strategy is to create an environment that will allow transitioning to the push strategy.
If a leader finds themselves constantly feeling the need to implement pull leadership, they should ask themselves the following questions:
An effective leader analyzes situations and can adapt their leadership style and strategies to those situations. If you would like support with situational leadership strategies, schedule a coaching call today!