Leading From the Front
During my time in the Army I had the chance to experience all sorts of leadership styles. There's even a whole training manual about it (there's a training manual for everything in the Army). I remember a few of those styles such as: THE COACH - Firm yet supportive, THE FATHER - Heavy on discipline, THE TEAMMATE - encouraging and showing that you're willing to run along side the subordinate. The rule was that depending on the soldier and the situation, an effective leader would have to know how to effectively move between each style to meet the subordinate where they are to bring about the desired result.
Today I find myself in similar situations, and while I do not currently have subordinates, I am always surprised by how many of the leaders I encounter lack some of these fundamental skills. It is as true in the board room as it is on the battlefield, if you validate your subordinates and dedicate yourself to serving their needs, they will gladly die for you. (Of course there will always be those succubus' who will never reciprocate, however they are easily identified and should always be removed.)
Unfortunately in many organizations, leadership is based primarily on seniority and not ability, in short if you're around long enough you will be put in charge. This is a terrible rule. A leader is more than just someone with more experience. A true leader does not need to be an expert in the field of pertinence, but rather be an expert in managing people and bringing out the best in their team to achieve maximum productivity. While is certainly is important that the leader have a working knowledge of the field, it is far more important that the leader be able to assign the proper people to their key positions, and create a work environment that allows the experts to flourish.
If you are in a position of leadership, I would encourage you to dedicate yourself to mastering your people skills. There are so many great seminars, books, and programs designed to develop leaders. It's a never ending quest, the mastery of people.
I highly recommend this book below for anyone seeking to develop and/or hone their people skills