Lead the way; don't just be the boss

By Shane Woodman, Generation Next Treasurer
Onspot of North America Inc. - Onspot Automatic Tire Chains 

This article was originally published in the April 2017 issue of Generation Next Edition.

No two people are alike, right? So why would you try to manage everyone the same way? There’s a form of leadership called Dynamic Leadership (you might also hear people refer to it as Adaptive Leadership). At its core, this is a form of management in which leaders take on the process of adaptation – specifically, its principles encourage employee engagement to help the organization adapt to its environment. This form of leadership works well between generations. Some may say today’s generation feels entitled or yesterday’s is too old-school. Dynamic leadership acknowledges these differences and draws on the experience and expertise of employees to contribute to the organization’s survival. It’s considered a dynamic approach because it’s a system characterized by constant change.

Five attributes of dynamic leaders:

  • They mentor employees to help them grow and succeed within the organization.

  • They are at the forefront of change within the organization. They will help lead the change.

  • They rely on delegation and show trust in their direct reports.

  • They understand when to be hands-on and when to be hands-off with direct reports.

  • They facilitate new activities.

Employee assessments

How do we understand how each individual should be managed? Many resources are available to help us assess the personality traits of each employee. My recommendation is to speak to your human resources department regarding your options. I used a DISC profile. This assessment tool is categorized into quadrants and allows leaders to understand what makes their team members tick – how they learn, communicate and focus. By taking the time to understand how each individual works, you can help set them up for success within the organization.

Your assessments

The best way to assess your dynamic leadership is to look at the people you have developed. Have they advanced their careers, been promoted rapidly through the organization, or improved in their current role? The goal here is to lead, not boss. Put your direct reports in the best position for success by understanding and exploiting their strengths.


Some are born leaders while others have to learn the skills of leadership. Becoming a dynamic leader will provide you with a strong foundation to develop people within your organization. Understand that this style might go against your comfort level. It will require you to adapt to personalities that are polar opposite to yours. Just remember, the goal is to develop those around you. This adaptive style will be the key. 

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