x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

UAE bosses advised to lead in their very own style

The Life: Great leaders recognise their leadership is unique and they express their own individual style.

The worlds of fashion and leadership are similar in that many people opt to emulate others rather than develop their own styles. Antonio Calanni / AP Photo
The worlds of fashion and leadership are similar in that many people opt to emulate others rather than develop their own styles. Antonio Calanni / AP Photo

An article in one of the fashion magazines, "Learn how to get the best trendy and classic looks for less", reminded me about the concept of leadership style.

It is interesting how styles come about - some are trends, others fads, some represented by particular decades or years, and some are considered to be classics.

When it comes to fashion, it is most often the case that people copy what other people are wearing and doing.

Unfortunately, the same is true in leadership. People try to emulate other leaders.

Interestingly, great leaders recognise that their leadership is unique and they express their individual style.

They know that their style really boils down to a distinctive expression.

Here are five tips on how to build your leadership style:

Be yourself

This is one of the essential pieces of fashion advice related to building leadership style. You need to be you. When you are shopping and try something on if it does not feel right do you buy it? Most likely no, because it is not right for you.

When you look around and notice how other people lead, their style may catch your attention. There is no problem noticing how others lead and what style they use. But what you need to do is see how it goes with your own style.

Don't overdo it

It is very easy to overdo a good thing and make it turn sour. Surely you have seen people who have put too many elements together in what they are wearing and it becomes unpleasing to the eye. This also happens in leadership.

Simplicity is good

It is best to know your style then focus on quality. When leading, quality is infinitely more important than quantity.

Match your style to the occasion

For many years I lived in South Florida, where the mood is relaxed and you can easily live the whole weekend in a pair of swimming trunks and flip-flops. Can you imagine if I decided to pop into a meeting with a chief executive dressed like that? I would be wearing the wrong outfit for the occasion. Just as there are appropriate and inappropriate times to wear certain outfits, the occasion should influence how you show your leadership style.

Whether I am wearing formal attire or beach attire, my style remains the same - personalised. The difference is how I choose to express it. You need to make sure you are using your leadership style in such a way to make the greatest impact.

Avoid the trends

Tempting as it is to copy the latest trends and fads, it is equally as easy to do the same when reading a "pop" leadership article or book. When you look at the trends remember that they will only last a season or two. Therefore, try to avoid the fads.

This does not mean your leadership style should not evolve over time. Great styles continue to mature in their look. But be careful to pick up the right elements and not the fads, as they will fade away.

Tommy Weir is an authority on fast-growth and emerging-market leadership, an adviser and the author of The CEO Shift. He is the founder of the Emerging Markets Leadership Center.