There are various types of leadership styles out there that have all been proven, in one way or another, to be effective when leading groups or individuals in certain situations. It is commonly known that different situations call for different forms of leadership.
In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, our leadership skills are being put to the test. We must balance work place achievement goals and visions, with the well-being of our employees. We must lead in a way that inspires, guides, and motivates, while knowing that these difficult times are adding countless amounts of stress all those whom we are leading.
Below are 5 different leadership styles, all with their advantages and disadvantages, that may be helpful during this unprecedented time.
1. COACHING LEADERSHIP STYLE
Coaching leadership is a type of leadership style focused on developing subordinates. Another focus of coaching leadership is getting teams to perform well together. This type of leadership is used to motivate employees. Furthermore, it helps build a collective vision.
In this leadership style, leaders are open to feedback and ideas from subordinates. Leaders understand that great ideas can come from anyone on the team. Coaching leaders don’t micro-manage. Instead, they motivate members of their team to achieve both personal and professional goals.
In this type of leadership, there are some disadvantages. Results and tasks can sometimes take some time because of the coaching leader’s need to teach. This may not be the best type of leadership style when results are needed immediately. Also, when there are long-term lessons to be learned the coaching leader accepts short-term failure. This may not be optimal in no-fail situations.
Although there are some disadvantages, coaching leadership may be very useful over other types of leadership styles at times. Knowing when to use coaching leadership can be very helpful for a leader. There are many situations where you should use this style over other types of leadership styles. When using this style, you will likely see a decrease in short-term results but long-term results will be significantly increased. This makes the organization stronger and stronger over time.
COACHING LEADERSHIP EXAMPLE
There have been a lot of great leaders that have chosen coaching leadership over other types of leadership styles to put their mark on history. For instance, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Apple’s Steve Jobs inspired and motivated their employees to innovate new products and services.
2. VISIONARY LEADERSHIP STYLE
Visionary leaders have a vision of where a company or organization should be. They tend to see the big picture and normally don’t worry as much about the small details. These leaders shift people and processes in a way to get them closer to their vision of what the company should be.
Visionary leaders are charismatic and determined to strive for their goals. They are this way because they really believe in the change they are making. This type of leadership is great before and during transition phases within a company. These leaders are great at rallying the troops and keeping them moving forward.
There are times where other types of leadership styles are more useful. For example, this type of leadership can be very difficult when employees are stuck in their ways. Another downside to this type of leadership is the leader may become too pivotal. When the leader becomes the face and the only driving force the area can revert in the leader’s absence. To avoid this, leaders must instill their vision in others, so they can lead the charge in the leader’s absence.
In the ever-changing world, we live in, this type of leadership can be very valuable for companies or organizations looking to improve. Adaptability is very important. These leaders encourage employees to push forward and get better. Knowing when to use visionary leadership can be very helpful for a leader.
VISIONARY LEADERSHIP EXAMPLE
Many great leaders have used visionary leadership over other types of leadership styles, making an impact on the world. For example, Martin Luther King was an extraordinary visionary leader that was able to get millions and still motivates people toward the great cause of equal rights. Even over 50 years after his death.
3. SERVANT LEADERSHIP STYLE
The key concept behind servant leadership is to take care of your people and they will take care of the job. Servant leaders believe in people first. Although they may be the boss, they work for their employees.
A servant leader will put the problems and goals of their subordinates over their own. Employees typically like servant leaders because of their ability to fulfill the employee’s needs.
A good servant leader understands the difference between needs and wants. Contrary to popular belief, taking care of somebody’s needs is not the same thing as giving them everything they want. Giving people everything they want can be very counterproductive to the goals of the organization.
In a culture where hierarchy is very important, servant leaders may struggle because all the decisions are expected to be made by the leader. In this type of environment, a servant leader may be looked at as weak and ultimately may have a hard time gaining the respect of others. More so than most other types of leadership styles.
Knowing when to use servant leadership can be very helpful for a leader. This type of leadership can be very useful to keep employees focused on the job. The servant-leader takes care of others’ needs removing roadblocks to production.
SERVANT LEADERSHIP EXAMPLE
Many religious leaders are a good example of servant leadership. Their job is to serve others. They build their following and power because of their willingness to serve others.
4. DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP STYLE
Democratic leadership is a form of leadership where decision making is shared with members of a group unlike most other types of leadership styles. Participative or shared leadership are other common names for this leadership style.
Even though there may be a clear-cut manager or supervisor, in this type of leadership it’s important that everybody’s ideas are equal, and discussions are encouraged. All members are given the opportunity to participate and get their voices heard.
The job of the leader in a democratic leadership style is to facilitate discussions. They ensure discussions stay on topic and don’t get out of hand. The leader also ensures all opinions are voiced before a decision being made. Furthermore, the leader chooses who is part of the decision-making process. The leader maintains the final say in the decision-making process.
Just like any form of leadership, there are some disadvantages to the democratic style. At times the decision-making process can take a lot longer than other forms of leadership. Members can begin to feel like their not being heard when their decisions or ideas are not followed by the leader. If not headed off by the leader, this type of leadership can lead to in-fighting when members disagree with each other. If group members are very knowledgeable or experienced, group decisions or discussions may not be very productive for a leader in this style of leadership.
Although there are disadvantages, knowing when to use the democratic leadership style is very strong in many situations and should be a frequently used tool in any leader’s arsenal. This leadership can help give employees a sense of ownership with decisions. Typically, when employees feel at least partially responsible for decisions, they will work harder to make them a success. Creativity is also increased in this type of leadership because everybody is encouraged to share ideas.
DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP EXAMPLE
Although John F. Kennedy used many different types of leadership styles throughout his presidency, he is a great example of a leader that used the democratic leadership style. He surrounded himself with many knowledgeable and experienced advisors and cabinet members. He relied heavily on these people at times to help him reach the best decisions.
5. TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP STYLE
Transformational leadership is a style in which the leader inspires and motivates employees to produce a change in the organization. This change is created through creativity. The leader fosters creativity by allowing employees the freedom to be creative and ultimately grow the company.
A transformational leader is not a micromanager. Furthermore, the transformational leader fosters growth in employees through mentorship and training. This constant development of others strengthens the team and also the organization.
The transformational leader exemplifies moral standards, ethical work practices, and authenticity. They also encourage these qualities in their followers. This produces a mindset in team members of working towards a common good. By instilling their values and vision in others, in the long run, subordinates require less supervision.
Although transformational leadership is one of the best and most versatile leadership styles, it can have some drawbacks. The transformational leader is very charismatic and very good at building followership. If the leader is unknowingly on the wrong path, others may follow that leader in the wrong direction. Also, at times the leader may not see the problems right in front of them because they are so focused on their vision.
There are many advantages to this leadership style. Knowing when to use transformational leadership is essential for a leader. Transformational leadership can be very useful in organizations going through a change or requiring a change. Also, employee morale and satisfaction are typically high under these types of leaders. This can cause many positives like higher production and higher retainability. Furthermore, increased creativity by employees can lead to company growth.
TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP EXAMPLE
Many great leaders chose this style over other types of leadership styles to produce change and take their team to the next level. Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, saw enormous growth of his company using transformational leadership. He inspired and motivated his employees fostering creativity, taking the company from a by-mail DVD rental business model to a streaming mogul.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF LEADERSHIP STYLES
A great leader doesn’t just stick with one style, try to utilize the types of leadership styles that are best for the situation. We all have our strengths and may lean toward one type of leadership style but knowing when to use different types of leadership styles is the key to being the best leader you can be. It’s important to understand the different situations and different people you deal with throughout your career. Different types of leadership styles are stronger in different situations and different people respond differently to each leadership style.
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