Matching Style to Situation
Leadership style involves one more variable. Situations can change even when the leader, people, and organization stay the same. As external conditions change, so will the reactions of leader, people, and organization. Take a block of dry ice from a cooler and place it into a sink of water and it will suddenly explode into dense clouds of fog. Why? The conditions changed.
People and organizations change slowly, but circumstances can move on a dime, particularly when it's least convenient. Leaders must be able to make adjustments quickly and efficiently.
An important part of leadership is keeping a close eye on conditions and the reactions of others. When the current situation is in flux and your leadership needs to change, you'll see early warnings of it in the actions of your team. What seemed stable and settled suddenly starts to go awry. Progress toward goals gets sluggish. People become disenchanted, and communication starts breaking down. You'll hear the metaphoric squeaks and groans of a machine you thought was in fine tune.
As a leader, you have one option: reinvention. Real leaders know that solutions have a natural lifetime. You grow and sustain them, but eventually they show their age. Then you have to start developing a new solution again. Don't think of it as frustration but as a natural process. The reinvention process actually starts from the beginning of your attempts to be a leader because you'll find that you need to assess your own traits and to reinvent who you are.