Throughout history, great leaders have emerged with particular leadership styles in providing direction, implementing plans and motivating people. These can be broadly grouped into 5 different categories:
1. Authoritarian Leadership
Authoritarian leadership styles allow a leader to impose expectations and define outcomes. A one-person show can turn out to be successful in situations when a leader is the most knowledgeable in the team. One advantage of this leadership style is that Time spent on making crucial decisions can be reduced and the Chain of command can be clearly emphasized. This leadership style has a lot of disadvantages one of which is that it kills employee creativity and innovation.
2. Participative Leadership
The essence is to involve team members in the decision-making process. Team members thus feel included, engaged and motivated to contribute. The leader will normally have the last word in the decision-making processes. However, if there are disagreements within a group, it can be a time-consuming process to reach a consensus. One advantage of this leadership style is that it increases employee motivation and job satisfaction. One disadvantage of this leadership style is that decision-making processes become time-consuming.
3. Delegative leadership
Also known as “laissez-faire leadership”, a delegative leadership style focuses on delegating initiative to team members. This can be a successful strategy if team members are competent and are employees that take responsibility and prefer engaging in individual work. Delegative leadership creates a positive work environment as employees feel like their opinions and inputs matters. One disadvantage of delegative leadership style is that it creates difficulty in adapting to change.
4. Transactional leadership
Transactional leadership styles use “transactions” between a leader and his or her followers. They use tools like rewards, punishment and other exchanges – to get the job done. The leader sets clear goals, and team members know how they’ll be rewarded for their compliance. This “give and take” leadership style is more concerned with following established routines and procedures in an efficient manner, than with making any transformational changes to the organization.
5. Transformational Leadership
In transformational leadership styles, the leader inspires his or her followers with a vision and then encourages and empowers them to achieve it. The leader also serves as a role model for the vision, high morale of employees is often experienced, it uses motivation and inspiration to gain the support of employees. A disadvantage of this leadership style is that consistent motivation and constant feedback may be required, tasks can not be pushed through without the agreement of employees.
At the end of the day, in developing your own leadership style It is important to recognize and understand different leadership styles including the situations in which they work best. However, you are unlikely to be a successful business leader simply by mimicking these. Leadership is not about providing a certain response in a certain situation. It’s about using your natural leadership strengths in an authentic manner to inspire and motivate others.
Leadership training from a good business school or good leadership courses can teach you the dynamics of human behaviour as well as raise self-awareness and provide the chance to practise leadership in different situations
Knowing which of the leadership styles works best for you is part of being a good leader. Developing a signature style with the ability to stretch into others as the situation warrants may help enhance your leadership effectiveness.
Know yourself. Start by learning what your current dominant leadership style is. Ask trusted colleagues to describe the strengths of your leadership style. You can also take a leadership style assessment.
Understand the different styles. Familiarize yourself with the repertoire of leadership styles that can work best for a given situation. What new skills do you need to develop?
Practice. Be genuine with any approach you use. Moving from your current leadership style to a different one may be challenging at first. Practice the new behaviours until they become natural. In other words, don’t abandon who you are.