Everyone has their own unique style of leadership. Find out which one is yours and how you can use it effectively on your team.
Everyone has their style of leadership. Individual personalities make it so – thankfully.
However, what is also clear is that there are several main types or styles of leadership that are recognizable despite the personalities that help refine them.
1. Autocratic leadership
This style is where the leader has all the power and decision-making rests solely with them. This can be an effective way to get things done quickly as there is no need for discussion or consensus. However, it can also lead to resentment from team members who feel they have no input or ownership of projects. We see this in dictators or autocratic political leaders. We also see this in many founders or “old school” leaders from the early 20th Century.
2. Democratic leadership
This style is the polar opposite of autocratic leadership in that it shares power and decision-making amongst the team. This can lead to slower progress as decisions need to be made by consensus but team members usually feel more engaged and motivated as they have a say in how things are done. This could be applied to many politicians as well as business leaders.
3. Laissez-faire leadership
This style is one where the leader steps back and allows the team to get on with things without too much interference. This can be effective if you have a highly skilled and experienced team who are used to working together well. However, it can also lead to problems if team members are not clear about what needs to be done or there is a lack of direction. For extreme Laissez Faire leaders, the hands-off approach can come across as completely disengaged and thus it can be a turn-off to those who do want guidance and help from their leader.
4. Affiliative leadership
This style is one where the leader’s primary focus is creating harmony and building bonds throughout the team. They care for the “whole person” and put more emphasis on meeting the individual’s emotional needs than on tasks and standards. They avoid performance-related conflicts and always put people first. While this can be a great style to heal rifts in a team or to motivate people during stressful times it does have its drawbacks. This style does not match with team members who are task orientated and uninterested in any friendships with colleagues or leaders. The style itself jars when there are any performance issues or improvements needed for individual workers.
5. Coaching leadership
This style is about developing people for the future. It encourages individuals to set long-term goals by helping them work out strengths and development areas. These leaders are willing to trade immediate results for long-term development. It works very well when an employee needs to improve or develop on a longer-term basis. This style doesn’t really work when team members lack experience in solving work problems or when they need direction and explicit feedback on what they are doing.
Which style of leadership you adopt will depend on several factors, including the type of team you have, the nature of the task at hand, and your personal preferences. There is no right or wrong answer and effective leadership is using the appropriate styles to deal with people in specific situations.
What to do next?
Leadership style is not a paper exercise, you should expect to change yours through experience and experimentation.
Should you want to discuss coaching and mentoring for new and emerging leaders then get in touch.
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