For business veterans such as Rick Vanzura, leadership is not as simple as many people perceive it to be. Success in business today requires effective leadership. Without this fundamental component, any business is going to end up dead in the water. But the truth is that there is no one right way to successfully manage a company and its employees. Enduring managerial proficiency can only come through an adaptable approach at every stage.
“Style matters much less than substance. If a leader can articulate a clear vision and consistent set of principles, then follow-through on those principles and commitments, he or she is a long way down the road toward being effective,” Vanzura explains.
A recent post by staffing firm Medix sheds light on the importance of flexibility within leadership style. The company has worked with multiple businesses of various sizes and industries since its founding. What their team has learned is that stylistic variance within leadership is not necessarily a negative. In fact, making a productive change within leadership could drastically improve the potential for business success.
As they note, “Every leader is different in the same way that every employee is different, and different leadership styles suit different types of employees. Good leaders can adapt, and if your standard leadership style isn’t fitting your team, it might be time to consider a change.”
Aligning Business Style with Business Operations
Styles can vary wildly based on business conditions, business size and structure, the number of working employees, and the personality of those who are in charge. As the Medix post described, this means that leadership strategies come in all shapes and sizes.
One solid example of the variance in style comes through the hands-on or hands-off approach in management. Both styles could easily serve a company well depending on the circumstances. It’s not about preferring one business style over another. Instead, the critical decision relates to recognizing when to apply these specific style-based managerial decisions.
For executives and managers still in the process of learning, how can they know which style choice is the best for them? Experienced leaders such as Rick Vanzura note that the process is never a simple one. But the goal of any style or approach to business reduces to a few key principles. The most important of those principles (beyond keeping the business successful) is empowering and aligning with employees.
Regarding the hands-on/hands-off question, Vanzura believes the right choice is the one that works best for everyone involved. More experienced employees would likely value an independent, hands-off style from executives and leaders. Employees newer to the business or industry may prefer a more direct guidance from experienced leaders who know how things work. These types of adjustments relate to one very simple premise: adaptability.
Talent management agency Profiles International also echoed a similar sentiment to the professionals at Medix. According to writer Trisha Vivona, adaptability often carries the most significant weight when it comes to business leadership in today’s world. As she explained, “ultimately, the best leadership style may the one that’s the most adaptable.”
Adaptability means recognizing when to make changes better-suited to a long-term business and employee focus. This type of flexible approach does not rest in one specific definition or code of action. Instead, it comes through an experienced eye to how business works – and a willingness to challenge that experience.
As Vivona continued, one of the most important qualities of effective leadership is someone “…who’s willing to move and bend his style to best fit into the situation. Remember, in business, ultimately only results matter – even if you prefer not to adopt a certain style in your everyday business, sometimes different measures are called for.”
Creating an Environment of Authenticity
Business leaders like Rick Vanzura recognize the critical nature of approaching management with flexibility in mind. Vanzura has served within executive management for multiple firms and business leadership types. For him and many other leaders, flexibility is not the most fundamental element of success. Instead, it’s about authenticity and integrity in every action within leadership.
As Rick Vanzura recently stated, “In my opinion, being an effective leader has less to do with style than whether you act with integrity and do what you say you are going to do. People come to trust you and rely upon you when you do that. The other characteristic they all shared is they were good judges of people and had a good sense of self. As a result, they knew how to build teams that could complement their strengths and also compensate for weaknesses.”
The authenticity mentioned by Vanzura remains critical throughout all business operations. Flexibility can only carry a business so far without true dedication from those who lead. Employees will recognize when they are being deceived or not treated genuinely. Business partners, vendors, contractors, and others will inevitably sniff out inauthentic behavior as well. That’s why it is so important to take an authentic approach at all times.
Ultimately, finding that enduring success within a business rests on a leader’s ability to maintain a genuine, authentic demeanor. This authenticity rests in a leader’s understanding that his or her position involves serving others, not simply ruling over them.
Leaders who are remembered don’t just keep a business in the green. Instead, they leave a mark on everyone they serve – employees, business associates, colleagues, and clients alike. As successful leaders like Rick Vanzura recognize, all of this comes through that genuine commitment to whatever business a manager, owner, or executive serves.
Harvey Greer contributed to this article.