No, no. I’m not talking situational ethics.
As Tony Dungy and I discussed in The Mentor Leader, there are times where our leadership approach will vary as a result of external forces. This wasn’t a new concept from us. As I understand it, Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard coined the term in the 1970s, noting that there are times when leaders may need to tell, sell, participate or delegate, based on the situation.
An uncertain audience? We may need to sell our vision. An immature team? We may need to tell (that is, dictate). And so on.
What this doesn’t mean, however, is that we change our core. Ultimately, your best style will be yours. Are you quiet? Don’t try to be Nick Saban. Are you excitable? Don’t try to be Tony Dungy. Are you sarcastic? Don’t try to be Steve Spurrier. No, wait. You can probably be Coach Spurrier.
Ultimately, you need to be yourself. Do what you do. But be aware that as teams change, as external events unfold, that you may need to change your approach and become more (or less) hands on. You may need to walk alongside your group. Or step away and give them the chance to sink or swim. Just keep evaluating as you go – yourself, and your group.