Name five great leaders who have impacted you in your lifetime. More than likely, each one of those people had a completely different style of leading, and each style worked well for that specific person. Leadership styles can be as unique as the individual leading. The important thing is to find which style works for you and helps make you a better leader.
7 Common Leadership Styles
There is no defined right or wrong way to lead, though some styles may work better than others depending on the personality of the leader and those being led. Here are seven common styles of leadership:
1. Transformational Leadership: These leaders inspire their teams. They gain their team’s trust and confidence and motivate everyone to do their best. This leadership style emphasizes change and transformation, with leaders inspiring their team to grow, improve, and think in new ways. Transformational leaders have a high emotional intelligence and integrity, and are also very self-aware, empathetic, and humble.
2. Delegative Leadership: This leadership style is very hands-off, and often referred to as “laissez-faire.” These leaders tend to encourage their team to take initiative and trust employees to get their jobs done. They do not micromanage or get too involved. This leadership style is great for teams that are highly competent, but there is a risk for disagreements among team members.
3. Transactional Leadership: This style of leadership is a give-and-take, focusing on rewards for achieving goals and punishment for not. This style tends to be popular in companies as it focuses on results within a structured system. The downside to being too results-oriented is the focus may shift toward earning rewards rather than building relationships with employees.
4. Pacesetter Leadership: Focused on achieving results quickly, this style focuses mostly on performance with high standards. These leaders expect productivity and high-quality output from their teams. While motivational in fast-paced settings, this style may not be a great option for teams that prefer mentorship and feedback.
5. Participative Leadership: Also known as democratic leadership, this inclusive leadership style involves employees in decision-making. While leaders get the final say, employees are encouraged to be more engaged in all aspects of the process, share opinions, and trust their feedback will be heard. This style also encourages teamwork and creative collaboration.
6. Servant Leadership: Servant leaders put the needs of the organization and their employees above their own. They develop strong relationships with those around them and focus on enabling others to reach their full potential by understanding them and developing their abilities. Servant leaders lead and motivate by example. These leaders are often widely respected, but there is a potential for leadership burnout.
7. Visionary Leadership: Visionary leaders motivate and inspire those around them. They provide overall direction and guidance to their teams, along with feedback when necessary. These leaders are often good communicators who can develop clear plans for long-term goals. This type of leadership is especially good for small, growing businesses. These leaders are often considered inspirational and innovative. Visionary leaders are often very hands-on and need to be careful not to micromanage their teams.
Which Leadership Style Are You?
Reading over that list you may have found yourself immediately associating with one particular leadership style (or perhaps even more than one). If you’re not sure which leadership style is yours, here are a few things to consider:
- Know what you value most – Is it productivity? Employee growth? Results? Which leadership style most closely aligns with those values?
- Be authentic – Always be true to yourself. Being a servant leader may sound noble, but only if it’s true to who you are; don’t try to be someone you’re not.
- Experiment with different styles – If you’re not sure which style is best for you, try out a couple of different ones to see what fits. Perhaps your leadership style is even a combination of more than one style.
- Adapt where necessary – Leadership styles are not one-size-fits-all. You may need to apply different styles to different situations – or even different employees. If you prefer a delegative style, but some of your employees work better with a more structured setting, you may need to adapt.
- Ask for feedback – Check in with your employees and coworkers once in a while. See if the way you’re leading is working, or if they have any feedback on what may be more beneficial for them.
Leadership and the Culture of Convenience
Regardless of leadership style, leaders who create a culture of convenience are able to streamline tasks and establish processes that improve employee performance and increase everyone’s productivity. Get weekly ideas on how to make your job easier through the Culture of Convenience podcast. Listen now!