What MBTI personality type are are you ? If you do not know, I would suggest you find it out (I did it here, it only takes a few minutes).
I did it, and it was an epiphany. Apparently, I am an ENTP. For years, I felt like I did not know anybody who had a personality similar to mine. Now I do, and I found some great online discussion groups all populated with aligned personalities.
In one of those threads, we had a great discussion on how your personality influences your professional life.
Enough off-topic blahblahblah™, time to get to the subject. In the mentioned discussion thread, I gave away my "secret sauce of great leadership - IMO ;) -", just like that, for free... As I received some great comments, I was thinking: "Maybe posting this to my blog might be helpfull for some readers as well". So I did.
Unlike most of the stuff the Oracles out there are spreading, it is not some kind of a magic formula, on the contrary: it is hard work. It is also small and coincise; there is no need to overcomplicate things.. This is my personal approach. I use it all the time, and it works for me.
So without further ado, here we go; this is my personal ...
"Secret sauce of great leadership - IMO ;) -"
Once upon a time on a forum...
Usually when I start a new assignment, I gather my info by asking just about everybody for info or opinions, even the ones who are usually ignored. I tend to keep my own opinions to myself in the beginning.
I also prefer informal/personal contact over any other form... If possible I prefer a function name "from the lower trenches" so people consider me part of "us" in "us vs them".
The whole idea is finding out who will be able to do what in a group, and maybe find out who is not in the correct place, who would be the key players, ...
Next to this you also have to gain some respect by fixing some things which nobody has been able to fix up until then.. The ideal situation is that people come to you when they seem to be stuck...
Once you have gained some respect and figured out some of the group dynamics, you can start throwing out some hints (think like in chess/multiple steps ahead), and try to get the key persons involved...
Once you gain momentum, and get the machine up and running, you can keep it running with a little or no extra effort... You just need to make sure everybody stays aligned and motivated within the boundaries.
A well-oiled team will grow over time in both confidence & strength. As they grow, you get a positive vibe, which allows you to take the group to a new high.
After a while there will usually emerge some natural leaders, and your job is finished !
IMO Good leadership is low-profile, almost unnoticeable... It is not so much about telling people what to do, but helping everyone to find a position where they can grow and love what they are doing... (At least that is the way I learned it from my mentors.)
IMO there is nothing more to it... This is all you need! Some of it might come natural to you, some things might be hard. This might not work for you, but I would assume it would in most cases.
There you have it. I gave away my "secret". No strings attached, no fees asked (and no guarantees either). All I can say is this approach works for me. I am not a guru, but I think this works if you put your mind to it. Just try it!