Lessonly’s Guide to Leadership Styles

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Leadership Styles

What Does Leadership Really Mean?

In every organization, there have to be people who inspire trust, create a vision, execute strategy, and coach potential. Doing this not only helps give direction but also influences a group of people to pursue both their personal and common goals. With the world changing at an unprecedented pace, leadership has become more involving and challenging than ever before. The good news is that understanding what leadership means and adopting effective leadership qualities can move anyone closer to becoming a successful leader.

In addition to having a clear understanding of what is a good leader, managers and executives should go through continuous training on leadership. Training helps develop leadership skills by allowing them to learn, adapt, and strengthen top leadership traits. In the end, managers will be in a better position to understand their employees and the ever-changing business and operations environment. This will ultimately ensure progress and growth.

Why It’s Important to Understand your Leadership Skills

Any figure in authority understands that leadership is the key to success. However, to be an effective leader, it’s important to understand your leadership style. This allows anyone to understand their strengths and weaknesses, a factor that makes it possible to use the strengths while improving the weak areas strategically. The end result is improved communication with employees, the ability to inspire employees, and handling challenges more effectively. With today’s different leadership styles, choosing the best leadership style for an organization requires a manager to go through a summary of leadership styles.

3 Styles of Leadership Styles that are Effective

According to Management Styles Theory, management styles vary because of the manager’s personality, training, and cultural expectations. Even as leaders strive to find effective ways of controlling productivity and costs, they should think about the long-term outcomes from their team. Here are 3 leadership styles and examples that are most effective:

  1. Democratic Leadership: Also known as participative leadership, this is where work relationships are based on mutual respect and equal participation of everyone with a shared goal, regardless of their hierarchal standard. Shared responsibility in making decisions ensures members are motivated, results in better decisions, builds trust, and increases job satisfaction. Democratic leadership is often used in non-profit organizations, school boards, and forward-thinking companies. 
  2. Strategic Leadership: Under strategic leadership, the manager communicates the strategic vision of the organization and influences others to acquire the vision. Each member of the team voluntarily makes decisions geared towards achieving the long-term success of the organization. This type of leadership encourages objective thinking, supports unity, builds commitment, and ensures more clarity to tasks. A forward-thinking organization is better placed to handle the challenges of today as well as those of the future. Strategic leadership works well in organizations that are open to new ideas, make calculated decisions, and are constantly looking for ways to improve. 
  3. Coach-Style Leadership: At the center of this leadership style is motivating employees and getting them to believe in themselves. Dynamic interaction between the leader and employees results in improved performance and competencies of the employees. Coaching helps to increase employee and staff engagement, empowers people to take responsibility, helps to identify high-potential employees, and improves individual performance. 

Generally, the best management styles are those that take into account the unique circumstances of the organization and seek to deliver the desired results. Effective leadership should also promote teamwork and collaboration.

4 Types of Leadership Styles to Avoid

There are three main types of leadership styles that are less effective in today’s workplace. Even as managers seek to establish the leadership style that works for them, these 4 types of leadership styles limit the potential of employees and inhibit growth. Here are 4 types of leadership styles in management every manager should avoid.

  1. Autocratic Leadership: Also known as authoritarian leadership, this style of leadership is characterized by one individual exercising control over all decisions. The leader dictates policies, unilaterally sets the goals to be achieved and controls all activities without meaningful participation by the members. This means that there is very little input or advice from followers. Autocratic leadership may not work well in the modern world as it discourages group input, can impair morale and may ignore important creative solutions from team members.
  2. Bureaucratic Leadership: Under this system, employees are required to follow the rules and procedures created by their superiors. The framework and pattern created are focused on the administrative needs of the organization without allowing for flexibility. Bureaucratic leadership makes it difficult to increase productivity and is fundamentally about creating consistency as opposed to having an efficient system. Since such leaders find it difficult to adjust to change, there is a good chance that great business opportunities will be lost, a factor that can affect business growth. 
  3. Laissez-faire Leadership: Also, known as delegative leadership, this type of leadership style means that leaders are hands-off and allow group members to make the decisions. Studies found that this type of leadership style generally leads to the lowest productivity among group members as there is very little guidance from leaders. While there are certain settings and situations where a laissez-faire leadership style may be appropriate, it’s important to understand your leadership style to ensure success. Noteworthy laissez-faire leaders include Steve Jobs and President Herbert Hoover and prove there can be some success. 
  4. Transactional Leadership: A transactional leader is one who values order and structure and puts in place a rewards and punishment system to ensure compliance by their followers. In most cases, a transactional leader focuses on the status quo and does not give much room to creativity and innovation. The style does not value motivation, has rigid structures, and the leader will not take responsibility in case things go wrong. 

In addition to avoiding these leadership styles, managers should also familiarize themselves with factors and strategies that will help them achieve the set goals. Reading transformational leadership articles and going through transformational leadership examples will help to improve an individual’s leadership skills. Having a clear summary of leadership styles will also make it easier to pick the one that works for you.

How to Find your Leadership Style

Now that we discussed the different types of leadership styles and shared examples, let’s take a look at how you can find your leadership style. A clear understanding of your leadership style will allow you to establish whether it is the right one for the specific circumstances under which you operate. Here are a few resources that will help you identify your leadership style:

  • Leadership assessment questions: It is possible for a manager to find their leadership style by answering a few questions. The questions can cover their values, how they handle stress, weaknesses, and strengths as well as their ability to delegate. 
  • Leadership style quiz: Another important resource when it comes to finding leadership style is a quiz. A quiz will make for a great way for any leader to learn more about their leadership leanings and find out better ways of becoming a more impactful leader.
  • Leadership style survey: Getting feedback from employees through a survey can also help to establish what type of leader a person is. Colleagues’ opinions will give a better picture of the type of leader an individual is, and help them to address and interact with the team better.

In the end, improving important leadership skills requires continuous training and practice. The good news is that there are numerous tools that companies can rely on to build and strengthen effective leadership. If you’re ready to improve your team’s leadership skills, Lessonly’s powerfully simple training software can help. Learn more and get a demo today.