By Diane Hudson
You may face these two questions in a single interview: "What is your leadership style?" and "What is your management style?"
As a service member, you probably had substantial training and experience with both leadership and management.
You need to "package" that experience and those skills in a way that a civilian manager can understand the value you bring.
Natural leaders develop a following; they focus on building relationships and ensuring that visions and mission plans come to fruition.
Alternately, managers may need to earn their level of respect and authority, by moving up the ladder at a company, as an example. Managers normally enforce rules and they are more function-oriented, concerned with organizational requirements, planning, staffing, directing, and controlling. Managers often think incrementally, and leaders think radically.
A leader needs excellent communication skills and an awareness of the entire organization and the activities of the team (the bigger vision).
Here is a list of potential Leadership Styles, that you may identify with (summarized) from Billy Hybels, a leadership trainer, speaker, author, and communicator:
Here is a description of situational leadership styles as classified by Blanchard Training and Development®:
Obviously management styles and leadership styles cross boundaries. But a leader is someone people follow. In addition, "mindful managers" can become directional leaders. For more information on situational leadership styles, visit the Blanchard Training and Development®.
Understanding leadership styles for talent management (recruitment) purposes is important. A good fit when an employer places a candidate (or a recruiter solicits a candidate), must ensure the right chemistry for team players, knowledge of the job and specific industry, and so forth.
For example, placing a re-engineering leader into an organization that runs smooth and does not require new processes, will squelch the leader’s ability to work effectively. And oppositely, placing a visionary leader in a position that requires the development of plans and steps to achieve a mission, will also be a detrimental fit.
A good fit would be a motivational leader with an energetic personality who inspires his colleagues, subordinates, leaders, and external contacts / management leader, which compliments the management style of handling the daily operations of a large department/division, with responsibility for plans, resources, organization and scheduling, and coordination, working in busy, large organization, with many personal interactions (Selling: Hi people and Hi task).
On the other hand, if a manager is needed for a position, and not a leader, i.e., a manager who has the fortitude to enforce rules, policies, and procedures; develop working plans, and handle resources from an office with a bit of hands-on, then a recruiter will benefit from selecting a candidate with more management abilities than leadership abilities. Usually, people like and revere leaders. But managers, do not necessarily need to be liked. They are often the overseers.
The book Certain Trumpets by Gary Wills describes the impact of making a proper fit for leaders, i.e., a military-style leadership works best in war time, a political leader is best when forming a government with thousands of constituencies, and an intellectual leader is the best fit for an ideologically social struggle. Fit is critical to effective leadership in any environment.
Are you able to determine your leadership or management style (s) from these brief summaries? Once identified, you can carry the theme into your professional resumes, networking, and interviewing process.
Most likely, as a service member, you acted in leadership and management roles, which are benefits to potential employers. Nevertheless, it is important for you to identify your natural abilities and leverage those strengths on your resume and in the interview process.
Job-Hunt's Job Search Expert for Veterans, Diane Hudson is a military transition job-search strategist and career coach. She designs and composes military conversion resumes and helps position service members for employment in corporate or Federal America. Diane holds eight industry credentials including Certified Leadership & Talent Management Coach and Federal Job Search Trainer & Counselor and owns Career Marketing Techniques.