Leadership Styles: Which Best Describes Yours?
Leadership is a process of persuasion. You lead by earning the trust and following of others by demonstrating and showing interest in their well-being. Effective leadership is a skill you can learn. And there are many different types of leadership styles. Building effective leadership skills depends on many different factors besides who you are trying to lead.
One of my favorite books on this topic is Leadership: The Successful Leader — Maximize Your Potential And Lead Like You Were Born To! from author Steve Williams. He defines leadership in this way:
“The truth is, when you are a true leader, you will be involved in the activity, each person you are leading will be in the best position according to their skills and talents, and you will not have to tell people what to do or micromanage, because they will be following your lead.”
Let’s look at a few of the most widely used methods for leadership styles categories and examples of each. Then, you can sort through them and discover the best leadership style for you and your situation.
- The first category comes from famed social psychologist Kurt Lewin. He identified three leadership styles:
- Autocratic leadership makes decisions without consulting team members. They emphasize following rules. It’s useful when quick decisions need to made, such as in an emergency. This type of leadership is ineffective and hurts morale.
- Democratic leadership seeks out input from other team members, encourages creativity and values the team members’ individual skills and knowledge. This type of leadership leads to high productivity and job satisfaction.
- Laissez-faire leadership lets team members make decisions without direct or very little supervision. The laissez-faire leader trusts his team members and doesn’t need to monitor activities. This is a good style when employees are highly experienced and need little direction.
- The next category grouping comes from psychologist and author Daniel Goleman. He identified 5 more styles:
- Coercive leadership style demands immediate compliance with any orders given. They make the decisions alone and team members are expected to follow them without any comments. This style is effective in times of emergencies.
- Visionary leaders inspire their followers to strive for something better. He moves people to work toward a goal that benefits everyone. This style is effective when change is needed.
- Affiliative leaders create emotional bonds and harmony with their team members. The leader wants their followers to feel like the organization is part of their lives instead of just a job. This type is good at boosting morale, but needs to be used with other styles to effective.
- Coaching style is more like a teacher than a boss. The coaching leader guides their team to develop themselves for success in their work and personal lives. This style of leadership is good when working with new or less experienced employees while they gain experience.
- Pacesetting leaders focus on excellence in work and expect the same from all other members of the team. This style works when the team is already motivated to accomplish the goal. Overuse leads to burnout and exhaustion in many employees.
As you can see leadership styles vary greatly depending on the needs of the project or team. Each one has a place but each one on their own may not be as effective as a combination of two or more.
I’m Connie Ragen Green and I work with new online entrepreneurs to help them get into profit as quickly as possible with information products, affiliate marketing, marketing for small businesses, blogging, authorship, and more. Download your Online Entrepreneur Blueprint and get started right away.