Being a leader means that you need to inspire and influence others to work together towards a common goal. However, there are many internal and external factors which influence your leadership style.
Internal factors – The culture of your business is based on its vision and
values which then evolve into strategies and decisions that ‘set the scene’ for how your staff will function in your organisation. Consider how your business’s vision and values impact how you need to lead to achieve these.
Your business’s competitive advantage strategy also dictates how your staff will produce your products or deliver your services. Whether your business offers the cheapest or the best quality, this will impact how you inspire or influence your staff to interact with your product or deliver your service.
All business thrive on the information they have about how the business runs and who their customers are etc. How your business manages this information determines how your staff can access it. For example, if this knowledge is all in your head, then they are always reliant on you to provide this information. If you get it out of your head and into policies, procedures and databases, then your staff can ‘self-serve’ and contribute to this knowledge.
The communication systems you have are also important as people absorb messages in different way. Using a range of communication systems eg meetings, emails, briefing documents etc, will ensure that your message has many ways to filter through to your staff.
External Factors – All businesses are impacted by globalisation in one way or another, eg new international competitors. The political and economic environment of your region also impacts your business, so it is important to know which government policies and laws which affect it.
Other external factors include the bargaining power of suppliers and buyers, the threat of new entrants if the entry and exit barriers of the industry are low; the possibly of other substitute products/systems offering better value propositions, as well as the competitive advantages of your competitors – so keeping an eye on what happens outside your business.
While you may think you control your own leadership style, remember the many and varied internal and external factors which also influence it.