Is There a 'Right' Way to Lead?

In Vietnam in 1926, a new religion began. The Cao Dai faith mixes ideas from several other religions including  Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism, Confucianism, and Islam. 

I recently had an opportunity to visit the Cao Dai temple in Tay Ninh. I saw the faithful worshipping, and heard them chanting their prayers. What struck me about this religion was the blending of ideas from so many other faiths. The holy people they revere; the teachings; the holy books; and the principles they follow.

All a combination of other ideas, seeking balance, and harmony.

So many of my clients, when they first work with me, are seeking 'the answer'. They want to know if they are doing things 'right'. 

One of my new clients asked me these questions in her first coaching session.

"Is there a best way to manage other people? Am I being the right type of leader? What leadership style do I have, and which one is the best for me to adopt?"

And her most urgent question - "How will I know when I'm doing this right?"

As she relaxed more, and talked about her thoughts, she began to find clarity. While she hasn't answered all her own questions yet, she is closer to knowing there isn't a right way.

Google takes 0.41 seconds to find 319 million results for a search on leadership styles. There's no scarcity of information circulating around the globe about this topic. Whether it be a profiling tool, an on-line survey, or a book about leadership styles. 

Yet, the answer is I suspect, a bit like Cao Dai. 

We can take what we see from several theories that seem to work. We can learn from many eminent theorists, who have done their research, and tested ideas. We can blend concepts and principles. We can test things we would like to try.

There isn't a 'right' way to lead. 

So, my invitation to you this fortnight, is to consider the many ways in which you lead and create influence.

  • What are the styles you have always admired?

  • How might you adopt some of those traits to test in your own leadership development?

  • What blends do you think you might already be using, perhaps without realising?

  • Which are your favourite leadership books or tools? Could you revisit those to refresh?

  • Have you adapted your style to be fit for purpose, in different jobs? What did you learn from that?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on these questions.