How to adjust your leadership style according to the growth stage of your organization.
All of them battled their own strengths and weaknesses to become better. They were not perfect by any stretch – but better at applying the right skills to the right moment in time.
They each had a special understanding of the posture they needed to hold at certain stages of the lifecycle of their organisation or country they were leading.
As organisations grow, they can only grow as far as their leaders have the capacity to lead them.
The primary ceiling of growth in your organisation is your ability to lead.
That’s why the old saying is true, “everybody wins when a leader gets better”.
As the organisation matures up the leadership curve it needs to break through stages of growth. They can only do this by leaders breaking through their own stages of leadership development.
In this article, we introduce you to the growth stages of a scaling business, the 5 Leadership Postures you need to adopt to achieve breakthrough at each stage, and the factors to consider at each.
What are the 5 leadership postures?
The 5 Leadership Postures are a way of understanding the leadership development journey.
You’ll see attributes of the 5 Postures in yourself and others.
What kinds of leadership attributes are required now for your organisation?
What kind of leader are you?
What kind of leader do you need to be to help your organisation grow?
There are different leadership postures required at different stages of the leadership growth curve. It is important to use these leadership styles as a way of sharpening your focus on how to improve yourself.
Only then can you improve others.
Waymaker’s 5 Leadership Postures are:
- The Curious Leader
- The Persistent Leader
- The Empowering Leader
- The Wise Leader
- The Inspirational Leader
Below we will provide an overview of each posture.
They include a summary of the must-do actions, the rewards, the risks, and the learning outcomes. These postures are cumulative. There are no shortcuts to successful leadership.
Master each stage to lead yourself into the next.
The Curious Leader
The Curious Leader is the first of our 5 leadership postures. This type of leader discovers new ideas and finds problems to solve. This leadership posture is most important at the ideation stage of your business. This is the startup phase, where leaders are learning to lead themselves.
The reward for this stage of discovery is the chance to explore new opportunities. This is where you begin to find a niche – a unique solution to a valuable problem worth solving.
The risk for this type of leader is staying too long. It’s ok to dream, but at some point, you need to commit to moving forward. Failure to commit will lead to unpredictability, and you may find yourself constantly pivoting from one idea to the next.
However, if you succeed in this growth stage and learn this posture well, you will become a great listener, be self-disciplined, master the art of research, and have developed strong ideation skills.
These skills and personal leadership systems will be foundational to your leadership journey.
The Persistent Leader
Persistent leaders represent the second level of our 5 leadership postures and come into their own in the identity growth stage of a business. They begin to develop the skills to lead others, and they persevere until they find market fit. They begin to develop the ability to find solutions to the problems they have identified in stage one.
This is the most important thing to do in this stage – find market fit. Do not give up until you do. To do this you must find effective solutions to the problem you have found. This will enable you to establish the guiding vision, purpose, principles, perceptions to build, positioning to hold, value proposition to deliver, and personality for your future organization.
The reward is finding clarity of purpose for you and your team. This will enable you to establish your identity in the marketplace and deliver immediate value creation.
The risk is found in fear of failure. Failure is a way forward to find fit. If you do not take action, you can not create momentum. Believing you know it all and not listening can destroy your leadership at this stage.
You will learn to problem solve, create your first team and disciplines, gather immense customer insights, and develop your foundational goal-management skills.
The Empowering Leader
The Empowering Leader represents the third level of our 5 leadership postures. They are a leader who has the ability to lead and release other leaders. Calibration happens at this stage of organizational growth.
By this, we mean leaders focus on aligning other leaders & teams to execute the vision with success. You must be focused on building skills in people and systems for the organization. In doing this you will increase the capacity of others, preparing yourself and them for future leadership growth.
Rewards come in the traction of getting things done. You will start to see yourself and others achieving more while doing less.
You will empower others and they will feel a sense of belonging, taking responsibility and accountability in their goals & outcomes. You’ll start to scale and you’ll be doing this with transparency, honesty & trust.
The risks are failing to release others, micro-management, failing to set clear boundaries through delegation of authority, and holding others accountable. These things will create a poor culture of inaction & hesitancy.
Success brings a great team as you hire well, delegate, architect goals across the organisation turn leaders in coaches, empowering sustainable growth.
The Wise Leader
Wise leaders represent the fourth level of our 5 leadership postures. They are those who have experienced maturity in their organization and are on the road to business expansion. They lead leaders who in turn lead other leaders.
Wise leaders create freedom and space for others. However, they still demand accountability and leadership. Wise leaders focus on deepening the values & principles of the organisation whilst also diversifying the value streams.
Rewards come in financial payback, seeing your reputation accelerate to new heights and importantly, having the satisfaction of seeing a vision fulfilled.
The risks are in getting comfortable, failing to disrupt your own organisation, failing to invest outside of your organisation, and becoming too distant from the customer. You start working on new lines of business through R&D, mergers, or acquisitions.
If you haven’t empowered others previously, you’ll fail under the weight of responsibility trying to do too much.
If you succeed through this leadership posture you will learn to buy new businesses or assets well, succeeding in strategic value creation for the long term.
The Inspirational Leader
The Inspirational leader is the fifth of our 5 leadership postures. They have achieved mastery in their field and run organisations that are market leaders. They lead industries, markets &/or people groups. Transform the ordinary into new & exciting ways of doing things.
Rewards come in your legacy. You are now changing the market, or the world, for the better.
However, be careful. The risks are great. Don’t let your ego and pride convince you of infallibility.
Do not stay too long at the top. You will learn to leave well. To leave with the ability to re-invest in the next generation of leaders who can also change the world.
If you succeed through this leadership posture then be a mentor to future leaders and rest well with the accomplishment of being a good and faithful leader.
So there’s an introduction to the 5 leadership postures every leader should master. To hear us unpack these postures further, you can listen or subscribe to our Leadership Torque podcast, available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and anywhere else you listen to podcasts.