Money For Lunch – Be a Leader — Be a Chameleon

Be a Leader — Be a Chameleon

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ChameleonWEBAs you no doubt know, a chameleon is a member of the lizard family with the unusual ability to change the color of their skin. In the human population, being a chameleon is typically associated with someone who changes opinions, positions or ideas on a whim. No one would consider this a good trait for a leader. On the other hand, one leadership style does not fit every situation. Consider the following scenarios.

Scenario One: Your competitor and worst nemeses is attempting a hostile takeover of your company. Scenario Two: Picture your business like a ship adrift on the ocean, with you and your team are on the ship, what should you do? Companies can lose their way too, becoming adrift with a loss of direction. Scenario Three: You have come to an impasse on a decision or a direction and are at a loss as to next steps. Leaders do not have all the answers all the time. The direction to pursue is not always a clear path. Scenario Four: Your team has become entangled in a dispute with another division over something they did that your team had previously cautioned them not to do. It blew up in their face and now your team is facing the aftermath and trying to pick up the pieces and move forward.

Clearly, no one leadership style would fit every scenario above. This is where many leaders get themselves in trouble by adapting a style they feel comfortable with and then attempting to use it to drive solutions to every challenge. News flash, it’s not going to happen – at least not without trauma, turbulence, and trouble. The leader may very well wind up being the one in trouble and the Board may ask the leader to take his or her leadership style and practice it elsewhere.

No doubt, you, as a leader, have studied many leadership models and are aware of the various names of leadership styles. Your favorite is not important for this article. What is important is for you as the leader to understand that you need a toolbox of styles.

In his article, “Leadership that Gets Results,” Daniel Coleman, a leadership guru, asserts, “…research suggests that the most effective executives use a collection of distinct leadership styles — each in the right measure, at just the right time. Such flexibility is tough to put into action, but it pays off in performance. Better yet, it can be learned.”

Many processes, such as parenting, consulting and negotiating are not an exact science; nor is leadership an exact science. We all put forth our best efforts as parents, as consultants and as leaders. Not one of us in any of these endeavors is perfect. Yet, given a foundation of high moral values, a sense of fairness and what is right, we can and do prevail. Therefore, we do not change our colors just to suit a whim or to cover our own backsides. On the other hand, we, often instinctively, know which color to show at what time in order to lead our children, our communities, our teams and our organizations to success.  What colors are-   best for your leadership style today?


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