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By Jim Giammarinaro

President & CEO of the MetroWest Chamber of Commerce


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FRAMINGHAM – Good leadership skills are more important than ever. Most organizations are currently struggling to find and retain employees. In addition to a worker shortage people are leaving their jobs at levels never seen before.

Having good leaders in place can certainly assist with employee retention. Creating a culture where employees are respected and can reach their full potential is easier said than done. In addition, with workforces becoming more diverse a broad range of skills will be needed to be an effective leader who can get the most out of their employees. There is no one cookie cutter approach which will work. An individual does not need to change their personality to become an effective leader.

Most people can easily detect when a leader is acting in a way which is contrary to their true self. For example, if it is more in your nature to be quiet and thoughtful you do not need to become loud and charismatic to be an effective leader. Be true to yourself. It is more about what you do than how you do it.

Regardless of your leadership style, effective leaders create a culture where individuals want work
and grow.

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Let’s examine some publicized leadership styles and analyze what is most effective from each


* Pragmatists are driven, competitive, and they value hitting their goals above all else.

* Idealists want to learn and grow, and they want everyone else on the team to do the same.

* Stewards are dependable, loyal, and helpful, and they provide a stabilizing and calming force for
their team members.

* Diplomats are the affiliative force that keeps groups together and typically build deep personal
bonds with their employees.

Typically, a leader is not 100% of any of the styles highlighted above. You may see a little of each style in a leader. It is likely that an individual may gravitate to a style which is in line with their true nature for most situations. Depending on a given situation, a leader will need to gravitate towards a style which is more suitable for that situation. When you look at the characteristics associated with the 4 leadership styles mentioned, an individual may want a little of each style in their leader. In addition, a certain style may be more effective based on the type of organization.

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Let’s take small business for instance. It is critical for a small business not to have high turnover. One person can make a huge difference in a small business. If a small business has a good employee, they certainly want to keep them for the long haul. In this case, a diplomatic leadership style might be most effective for most situations. Being able to keep a group together and build deep personal bonds is critical for employee retention. Being the leader of a small business is like being the leader of a family. You will want to create an environment where people can be happy for many years. At the same time, for your small business to be successful you will need to be competitive and achieve financial goals. Individual jobs need to provide some aspect of new learning to keep employees engaged.

Finally, most people appreciate a stable and calm leader. Therefore, incorporating a diplomat style of leadership in a small business is important and will be most effective over time if the positive aspects of other leadership styles can be utilized as needed.

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Large companies are structured differently than a small business. They have stockholders who demand a return on their investment. Leaders may have large organizations with employees who are interested in a career path. A combination of a pragmatist and idealist leadership style may prove to be most effective. The creation of goals and the continuous review of performance against goals is key to maximizing the return to a stockholder. Creating a structure for continual learning and advancement opportunities is also important to keep employees interested and engaged over time. Being an effective steward or a diplomat although being less important in a large organization can prove helpful in employee retention. For example, working for an individual who is helpful and can create an individual bond and make the daily work for an individual much better as opposed to the leader who is only
interested in their own career with little interest in the work environment.

What type of leadership style should be most employed at a non-profit? Many individuals who work at a non-profit do not earn high salaries. They tend to be more motivated by the service which is provided. Although a non-profit does need sufficient income to survive, they are sometimes assisted by grants and philanthropy, and it is the nature of their work which consumes their daily activities. In this type of environment, you may find that an idealist leadership style to be most prevalent. Personal growth and satisfaction through human interaction is often most important to an employee and having a leader who wants to learn and grow along with their team may prove most beneficial in this environment.

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Regardless of the type of organization, it is critical that a leader create an environment in line with the needs of their employees. More than ever before, leaders will need to evaluate what they put in place to retain employees. The supply of individuals to fill open positions is far less than the actual demand and is not likely to change soon. It is incumbent upon leaders to assess their leadership style and incorporate practices to remain successful moving forward.



Editor’s Note: SOURCE and the MetroWest Chamber have formed a partnership. The Chamber’s column will run on Tuesdays on the digital news media outlet.

By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.