Leadership is about understanding and influencing behavior.
Developing a competitive advantage first requires developing a cooperative and cultural advantage among the key players on your work team. And since every human being on the face of the Earth is unique, effective leadership requires a focus on two issues with each person you lead.
Do I understand this person?
Do I know about their natural talents, their learned skills, what they want to get out of their career, what they want to get out of life? Do I understand their struggles and how I can help them grow as an individual? Am I getting better at understanding and helping them everyday?
Do team members take the time to understand each other? Do people who work closely together understand each other's strengths, preferences, struggles, and goals?
Am I influencing their behavior in a positive manner?
Am I inspiring them to join me in pursuing the common goals of our organization? Will they look back on their time with me as a time of personal growth, satisfaction, purpose and meaning?
Do team members influence each other in positive ways? Are they inspiring each other in pursuing the common goals of the organization?
Simplify, simplify, simplify.
There is no one right answer for every individual or every leadership challenge. However, there are a limited number of core leadership principles that simplify leadership. You don't need to choose between Maslow, or Deming, or Drucker, or Covey, or some other leadership guru. You can develop your own effective leadership style based on time-tested core principles that consistently get positive results and lead to a cooperative, cultural, and competitive advantage.