There is so much out there about leadership styles, and you get a different answer about how many depending on who you ask.

This is a short but personal story about a part of my own journey of growing as a leader. I hope it will inspire reflection and action.

When I was a teenager I worked in my parents shop. It was the village store (I learned so much about life in that job).
I often needed to assign tasks to the other staff – women who were over 50. 

At that age (14 years old), I adopted a leadership style of “Borrowed Authority” plus “Asking”. 

So I’d often say “hey my mum wants us to get this done (borrowed authority) so can you do … (asking)?”
I was really uncomfortable “telling” adults what to do. So I didn’t. I found my own way around it.

But as I grew up, I needed to shake off the borrowed authority. I was no longer a young girl whose duty it was to only listen to and respect the adults (asian households). 

My growth as a leader

I still don’t dictate – just don’t ask my husband, he may have a different story 😀 

As a leader, I still listen to the adults, now I also speak my mind about what they are saying.

Over the years I’ve had to consciously learn how to own my own authority: it’s my vision, my strategy, it’s me that wants this done.

I had to ditch the Borrowed Authority and fully embrace my own authority. And it’s developed from a basis of Experience, Study, and I Don’t Have To Be Right.

But I’ve kept the leadership style of asking:

  • We have this problem, how shall we solve it?
  • How are you going to prioritise the tasks?
  • What help do you need?
  • I need this ___ how can you help me?
  • This is my idea – how can we make it better?

What’s your leadership style around authority? What’s working for you?

And most importantly, what style around authority do you need to let go of, so that you can elevate your leadership?

“What’s a leadership series? How’s it different to the thought series or coaching tips? Good questions.“ This series gives you tips to take your own leadership to the next level, and ways you can extend your own capabilities. Ready to take your skills to the next level, but aren’t sure where to start? Get in touch with me.