Learn Your Leadership Style and Encourage Your Employees to Have a Voice - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Learn Your Leadership Style and Encourage Your Employees to Have a Voice

Do you know what your leadership style is? Furthermore, do you know the leadership styles of others in your organization and how effective they are?

Sean Martin, Donald & Lauren Morel Associate Professor of Management at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business will be presenting on how leadership styles impact followers during Leaders Forum 2022, on Jan. 20 at 9 a.m.

Sean Martin

In this interactive session, Martin will discuss the careers of NBA players Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan. Participants will read a short case about the players and engage in a facilitated conversation about their behaviors as leaders of their respective teams and consider how different leadership styles relate to success.

“I actually use sports to illustrate a fair number of concepts about leading teams because the outcomes and interpersonal dynamics of interest are very clear in this context,” Martin says. “Wins and losses are easy to observe, for example.”

Attendees don’t need to know anything about basketball in order to gather takeaways about leadership.

“In the cases we’ll be discussing in our session together, I chose two basketball players who had parallel careers in a lot of ways,” Martin says. “Both led their teams for a long time but they did so in different ways, and the differences in how they lead set the table for a great discussion of how people lead more broadly in other contexts.”

In this session, Martin will provide some clarity around what behaviors, from a measurable social science perspective, are likely to relate most powerfully to the outcomes that you care about. He says this will help clear up questions people may have about the proliferation of styles that can bog down leadership learning.

“During our time together, I hope that people get some deeper insights not only into their own leadership style but also how their style is perceived by and impacting others,” Martin says. “Leadership is an inherently social thing, and often the impact we mean to have and the style we want to have when influencing others, is not perceived by other people in the ways that we intend.”

This session is geared toward leaders who are curious about ways they can continue to develop and expand their positive influence. Martin says he’s yet to meet a leader who wants to be perceived as a profit-driven person who wants to grind down their employees, yet statistics show few employees like their bosses or supervisors.

“Something is clearly getting lost between intentions and actual impact,” Martin says. “So, if people are curious as to why this is the case and want to think deeply about how they could close this gap, then I hope they attend, and I’ll look forward to seeing them!”

Later that same day, Martin will also host a session on how to encourage your employees to have a voice. This discussion will reveal common concerns that keep employees silent even when they have useful information to share. He says there are many causes but at a high level it boils down to some kind of fear.

“I find that most leaders think that their employees feel completely safe to speak up about things, but when you ask the employees, they say it’s dangerous to speak up,” he says. “That’s another disconnect between our intended impact and our actual impact, and getting to the bottom of that is valuable because of course, we want people to speak up in companies if we want to identify performance issues early, generate good new ideas, etc.”

Martin says leaders should reduce their employees’ fear, but most of them are unaware of the behaviors they engage in that create or foster fear to start with.

“Our time together will be unpacking what sorts of things employees pay attention to that signal for them whether it’s safe to speak up, and how leaders can go about creating safer climates for voice,” Martin says. “I can’t wait to chat about these things with everyone!”

If you want to attend Martin’s sessions on leadership and giving employees a voice, register for Leaders Forum now. Leaders Forum will take place Jan. 19-22, 2022 at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, Arizona.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.