What’s Your Leadership Style: Control or Engagement?


By guest contributors: Bernice Ross and Byron Van Arsdale.

Are you an engaging leader or is control more your style? While a strong leader uses both styles, the engagement approach normally generates the best results.

When it comes to leadership styles, the Control Model is the most common. The Control Model places the focus on the leader’s needs as opposed to focusing on participant needs.

The challenge with the control model is that it mirrors the traditional classroom lecture situation. Adults, and especially Gen Y’s, dislike lectures where they they’re expected to listen and defer to an expert’s superior wisdom. The shift from control to engagement is important because it lays the foundation for creating trust.

To illustrate this point, imagine that you are leading a meeting where you must announce a fee or dues increase. You know that there will be serious resistance.  What would you do to best handle the situation?

The person who uses the control model will take the position: “Just live with it. It’s raise the fees or close the doors.” This often creates resentment because most people want to have a say in this type of decision, even if they can’t change the decision.

In contrast, the engagement model allows the leader to surface concerns and alternative solutions.

“We had to make a difficult decision between making major cuts in our services or raising our fees by 10 percent. We are going with the ten percent fee increase. What are some ways that we could trim expenses or increase revenues so that we can avoid future fee increases?”

When participants engage in the process, they own it. Best of all, this approach may surface new ways to improve your organization’s effectiveness while reducing costs as well.

Need more tips on how to lead effective meetings? Visit www.LeadGreatMeetings.com for more ideas on how to improve your leadership skills.

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