Workshop A: How to be an Effective Leader

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How to Be an Effective Leader
Heather Berthoud of Berthoud Consulting led the “How to Be an Effective Leader” workshop at the Aligning Forces National Meeting. Berthoud typically consults with organizations and companies that are tackling large-scale (and often nebulous) change; she offers insight on the types of leaders and vision needed to lead teams who are undertaking a transition. She explained that what works depends on the situation and the people involved. Employing different approaches to leadership can help an organization overcome challenges and hurdles. “People have a default leadership style and preference, but they should not pigeonhole themselves in that style,” said Bethoud. 
After workshop participants identified their preferred leadership style, Berthoud guided them through working with people who have different leadership approaches. “Our leadership style manifests itself in the language we use. We have to ensure that we don’t bring style arrogance to the table and put off those who want to engage and work alongside us,” she said.
Berthoud’s takeaway message is this: In understanding default leadership preferences, leaders have the opportunity to explore the pros and cons of that leadership preference to better understand how to fill the gaps. Flexibility is essential. In addition, tackling organizational challenges often entails involving others who have a different leadership preference. As one participant put it, “It is key to identify the strengths and weaknesses of leadership approaches and not label people, in effect automatically stereotyping them.”