Avionics News October 2016 - 44

series

BUSINESS BASICS
B Y

G R E G

L A S L O

Six degrees of
supervision
Adapt your leadership style to the situation at hand

D

uring a recent training course, the instructor - a
longtime colleague of mine - pulled me aside to
talk out of turn. Given the class objectives and
requirements, she wanted to touch base to make sure my goals
would be met as the class progressed; most importantly, she
wanted to make sure the content she provided matched my
experience.
To be truthful, she did this with all her students; that's just
how she is. She understood all of her students brought unique
qualifications and perspectives to the group, so she talked with
us in order to learn more about our unique needs.
That's the kind of thing we expect in training - particularly
those opportunities that take us away from the work that pays
the bills: Tailored instructions with usable takeaways.
Musing on that interaction and the spirit behind it, I wondered how many of my classmates' immediate supervisors give
them the same consideration. Even when you put a bunch of
people together, they're not all one homogeneous lot. Each has
unique talents, and all require individual guidance. And for all
the challenges that managing a diverse group of people presents, knowing which leadership style to implement is one of the
biggest.
Like an instructor, you should know what every one of your
employees need, and your leadership style represents how you
choose to interact with them. Each has a particular application
that depends on the person, task or conditions you face, and
none works all the time. Still, when it comes to getting the best
out of them, this isn't a test you can afford to fail.
44

avionics news

*

october

2016

People management
In the most basic terms, leadership reflects the relationship
between an individual and a group that all share a common goal,
and the former directs the latter to perform in a particular, organized manner. But for that to work as planned, you should consider how leading works, why you need a variety of tools to do it
well, and how you build the mojo to pivot fast between each tool
as needs arise.
Of course, not every group needs a leader. Many members of
your staff eating lunch in the break room would look at you funny
should you barge in to take charge. That would change if someone
pulled a fire alarm and they needed to evacuate, or they were participants in your business book club, or you needed them to scram
to make room for your wellness committee's lunchtime samba
class. In each case, someone needs to make something happen.
But individual members of the group must want to be led, and
they must consent to follow the prospective leader. Maybe they
don't smell smoke, so they don't want to leave with you. Maybe
they don't care about Going from Good to More Gooder, or whatever you're reading. Or maybe they don't want to miss you shaking your groove in dance class so they're not going anywhere.
Or maybe they decide that the something you suggest is the
fastest way to achieve their goals, so they all accept you're the
right someone, and they fall in line.
That's the start of your leadership journey. Yet in the process of
accepting the challenge of influencing your team, you must also
approach each follower - and each situation - as a new leadership
opportunity. Employees come in various ages, motivations and



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News October 2016

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Avionics News October 2016 - Intro
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