Guideposts to Help Define Your Leadership Style

February 10, 2016

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Norbella Values

Employee engagement and development is an important part of the Norbella Culture.  We’re continually looking for ways to challenge one another and for opportunities to learn and grow both as individuals and as a team. We have been fortunate to partner with Anne Sugar, an executive career coach and training leader in the advertising and leadership arena. Anne brings over twenty-five years of experience working with executives making the move into leadership positions as well as executives focusing on opportunities and development. Anne has played an instrumental role in helping to train and grow our team on important topics such as presentation training, goal setting, team building and leadership training.  Anne guest blogs today, giving us some guidance on Defining Your Leadership Style.


Many times we ponder and think about how should I be acting or how do I lead.  What can I do to be continuing my learning as a leader?  There isn’t a specific set of guideposts that you tick off to say now I am a good manager.  Think about all of the different leaders currently or past.  Each has a different profile, business issues/needs and background.  You are unique and authentic in your leadership.  Now focus on defining that style.

So thinking about these leaders, what makes them successful?  How can you be the leader that you want to be now and in the future?  As I said, there isn’t a specific roadmap or platform but looking back in the years that I have been an executive coach and also a leader managing media folks in advertising agencies—here is what I have learned and coached on with executives.  I am going to give you some guideposts to think about and of course some homework for your leadership journey.

The important word is leadership journey.  There isn’t one day that you will wake up and say well now I am that leader. Be uncomfortable, try something new—make it a goal—can you do this every day?

Guidepost #1: What has been your leadership journey?  

As leaders we are composed of activities, events, interactions, successes, failures, health, children etc.  What are the key events that got you to where you are as a leader?  This shapes and defines you as a leader.  As a leader it is important to have that self-awareness—what got you here—how did these events shape who you are as a leader.

Take a look at this article from Bill George. This will help you to define your leadership journey and then what do you do with this knowledge.

Discovering Your Authentic Leadership

Guidepost #2: Keep learning.  

Do not skip that training session at work. I train many leaders in companies and I know that it takes a lot of time out of your day.  What are the couple of ideas that you can take from the training session—test them.   Keep reading, networking and asking questions.  Be a journalist—figure out new ideas to test and try as a leader.  You must test and try on this leadership journey.

Read about my leadership lessons when I finished a sprint triathalon

I highly recommend this book … take a look to keep learning ...What got you here won’t get you there 

Anne Sugar Blog

Guidepost #3: The Leadership List

So, while not an exhaustive list, I am providing you leadership buckets for you to consider and think about.  Which area will you focus on now?  Which is the area for long term thinking about? Look at your review-what is the area that you should focus on?  This is not an exhaustive list by any means—are there ones to add or delete for you and where you are right now.

Trust:  The cornerstone of leadership in my estimation.  Say what you are going to do and do it.

Influence:  How do you flex your leadership style in key situations to gain traction?  What style has worked for you?  Here is an article to consider.

Listen:  Are you really listening or formulating your answer as that person is talking to you?  Slow down and really listen—Look at body language.  What does that say?

Ask a good question:  Ask a good question before you react.

Trust your gut:  We always look at the numbers—what does your gut say?

Empathy:  Have self-awareness; what is your team thinking and reacting to? Put yourself in their shoes. 

Guidepost #4: Your homework—2 Actions.  

What are the expectations that you have as a leader?  Have three pillars or guideposts.  As a leader, what do you expect of your team?  Look at Guidepost #3.  What bucket do you want to focus on?

Keep learning, be uncomfortable, try something new.


What are your leadership goals? Tweet us @Norbella!