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What Is Your Leadership Style?

We can all remember leaders who, while well-intentioned, could have been more effective communicators, perhaps needed better organizational skills or were too focused on results, not the team.

Being self-aware of the type of leader you are can be a great place to start. While there are many effective leadership styles, each approach has its strengths and weaknesses, so managers may benefit from adopting elements from different leadership styles based on individuality and desired outcomes.

Leaders must know how they present themselves and how others prefer to be approached. Often, leaders can become entrenched in one way of conducting themselves and managing their team as, over time, this can manifest into unhealthy relationships where a leader believes their way may be right.

As organizations emerge from the pandemic crisis and face the Great Resignation, many seek employment opportunities that align with their values and interests. They want to feel fulfilled, respected and included for the road ahead.

Learning about common leadership styles is helpful for many reasons, including identifying what type of leader you are and adopting elements of other styles.

There are multiple leadership styles; however, this article will highlight four types of leadership types:

Autocratic leadership: A traditional boss-employee with a hands-on approach involves leaders’ expectations of the team with top-down decisions and minimal input from employees. This style may work for employees with clearly defined roles or inexperienced or new employees. Autocratic leadership can cut through potential chaos to get what needs to be done and how. This may not work for employees who prefer more of a voice in company matters and greater flexibility, which can result in low morale and high turnover as team members don’t feel a personal connection to the organization, its mission, and its decision-making process. These leaders require a great deal of self-reliance, which can be stressful, and they can miss out on hearing novel, out-of-the-box solutions that could truly benefit the organization.

Democratic leadership: This type of leadership style, or “participative leadership,” encourages employees to share ideas and opinions. Employees often develop a strong connection to the company because they feel valued and essential and promote genuine thought about the organization and its objectives, not just following directions. Democratic leaders benefit from a wide variety of thoughts rather than relying solely on their own, which promotes innovation and creative problem-solving. From time-to-time democratic leaders can have challenges with conflicting viewpoints, which can cause tension among team members. Some employees do not enjoy group discussions and may feel uncomfortable and held back. In contrast, others may lack sufficient experience or knowledge to offer viable suggestions, which can waste valuable time.

Transformational leadership: “transformational” means to produce significant changes or improvements. This type of leader focuses on the company’s mission and growth, and so, due to this orientation, are also often called visionary leaders. Transformational leaders see the full potential ahead and inspire followers, are passionate and possess a high level of emotional intelligence and are great at motivating others to perform well to reach goals and move the company forward. Since transformation leaders often spend a great deal of time thinking about the next level of success, they tend to delegate many short-term tasks. Some employees relish this opportunity to take on responsibilities without micromanagement. Sometimes too strong of a “big picture” mindset, however, poses some pitfalls, such as day-to-day essentials for current operations falling through the cracks and may run the risk of failing to listen to genuine concerns expressed by others.

Coaching Leadership: This style is often compared to being a mentor, providing guidance, support, and constructive feedback to help a person or team reach their full potential. Such a leader boosts the skill sets and morale of the employees for better performance. The coaching leader’s success rests in developing trust and communicating clearly. This approach is time-intensive and can be challenging to regularly devote attention to evaluating strengths and weaknesses while keeping up with routine operations.

In conclusion, various leadership styles exist, and the big question is, which is most effective? The answer is that there is no single definition of a great leader. The best leadership style is the one that works for you, given your personality, company, industry, staff, and different situations encountered. The best leaders know motivation is not a one-size-fits-all concept and will take time to figure out what works best for each team member regardless of individual leadership style; influential leaders convey their love for teamwork, leading the entire group to shine for the road ahead.


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