HIDA Streamlining 2018 - PWH Leadership Forum

| Valeria Stoyanova

A classic dilemma. Many people are in positions of needing to influence others, yet do not have actual authority. As project managers, account managers, product leads, and so forth, you may be responsible for results, yet the people that are the levers to make it happen don’t report to you! Sound familiar?


The PWH networking luncheon at HIDA Streamlining this year provided a fantastic opportunity to see old friends and colleagues, and of course, make new ones.

This year, PWH added a Leadership Forum segment to the schedule, which many guests, both members and non-members, enjoyed. The learning session featured the inspiring Gunter Wessels, Ph.D, M.B.A, and Practice General Manager at LiquidSMARTS.

Dr. Wessels spoke in depth about different approaches each of us can incorporate in our skillset to “Ensure our Vision” as a transformational leader. Some of the highlights that resonated with me was the statement that “Leadership is a Privilege”. This is such a true notion and we have to agree that we do not hear it enough, especially influencers in their early stages of their careers. Great leaders realize that with privilege comes responsibilities and consequences primarily to external recipients – the organizations and people we serve. Being responsible for others’ success or demise is powerful and quite an intimidating endeavor, which every individual, no matter their title and rank within their organizations should take seriously, study the science and practice and improve their own skills and impact.

As Dr. Wessels says, leadership is about cultivating relationships and no relationship is possible without the use of language – both verbal and non-verbal. The combination and consistency in word choice with gestures and movements, together with cohesiveness, have never been more critical for being an authentic and trustworthy leader. Dr. Wessels urges us to adopt the “Amare Way” of communication, aka, love-like language. Speaking in a “love-like” manner translates into showing empathy, compassion and kindness to ourselves, in order to have the ability to authentically display this to others, creating the sense of belonging and increasing collaboration.

Types of Leadership:

a) Authoritative – participative leader; gives direction and delegates tasks at hand;

b) Laissez-faire – “leave it alone” approach;

c) Transactional – task-oriented leader; promote compliance by followers through both rewards and punishments;

d) Transformational – relationship-oriented leader; engaging to create connection and motivation;

e) Servant – generous and responsive with their time and resources to help others.

There are positive and negative characteristics in the majority of leadership styles above, but we can all agree that ultimately, the transformational level is like reaching the Holy Grail.

Which type of leader are you? Towards which leadership style do you strive? What is the path to accomplish your goal?