If you’re new to leadership or are looking for ways to prepare yourself for a new management role, then learning about different styles and approaches to leadership is a good starting point.
Depending on the person and the team, different leadership styles will have a different impact and a good manager will assess their team and decide which is the best approach to get the most from their team.
What Are The Different Leadership Styles?
Leadership styles in management refer to the different approaches and behaviours that leaders use to guide and influence their teams. There are several recognised leadership styles, each with its own characteristics and impacts on teams and their work environment.
Here are some common leadership styles explained:
Autocratic leaders take complete control of their team’s decision-making and power. They don’t require team input and often tell their team things, rather than discuss.
Democratic leadership, also known as participative, this style of leadership involves the full team in decision-making. Seeking input, feedback and suggestions from the wider team, these leaders take everyone’s thoughts into consideration.
Transformational leaders place an emphasis on the shared vision the team has, encouraging creativity and innovation to drive positive change and performance.
These are the leaders who are known for offering rewards and recognition to their teams based on performance. They’re also the ones who will discipline their team on the same merit, too.
These are the leaders who use their charm and energy to inspire, influence and motivate their team. They have a strong vision and rally their team with their personality.
Situational leaders are those who have an awareness of their team’s needs. They take time to assess the competence of their team members individually and adjust their leadership style accordingly.
Coaching leaders focus on developing their team member’s skills and abilities via guidance, mentoring and feedback. They aim to help their team reach their full potential, recognising their individual strengths.
These are the leaders who are sticklers for rules and regulations. They emphasise the existing structure and champion consistency across their team.
Leaders often exhibit a mix of these styles depending on the situation, their personal preferences, and the needs of their teams. The most effective leaders are adaptable and capable of using different styles as appropriate for different circumstances.
Which Is The Best Leadership Style To Use?
There’s no single answer when it comes to which management style leaders should be adopting. The most effective leadership style depends on various factors, including the organisation’s culture, the nature of the work, the characteristics of the team, and the goals being pursued. Different situations may require different leadership approaches.
What Are The Factors To Consider Before Choosing A Leadership Style?
There are a range of factors to take into consideration before you approach your team with a singular leadership style. The main things to consider are:
The reality is, you’re never going to be one fixed type of leader. The changing landscape, the different situations and the range of people you manage are going to require you to adapt to context and your ability to do so is crucial in a position of management.
Depending on the maturity and ability of your team, certain situations may require a more hands-on or hands-off approach to management, that’s your call to make.
If it’s a short-term goal that needs to be reached then more autocratic management may be most effective to get the job done, whereas goals and tasks with a longer time frame make room for more independence and creativity from your team.
It’s also important that your management style compliments the company culture where you work. If your company values collaboration and open communication then more democratic styles of management may be preferable.
As a manager, it’s vital to know your teams and understand their needs. This will especially help you to decide your leadership style for that employee as some may thrive with minimal input whereas others are stronger with more support.
Finally, your own strengths will help you lean towards a certain style of leadership. For example, if you naturally mentor and coach better than you give out orders, then lean into these personal abilities.
In reality, effective leaders often use a combination of styles, adapting their approach to different situations and team dynamics. Being open to feedback from your team and continuously assessing the effectiveness of your leadership style is essential for growth and improvement as a leader. Ultimately, the key is to be flexible and willing to adjust your style to meet the evolving needs of your team and company.
Still not sure what type of leader you are? Take our DLC Training Leadership Style Quiz and get your answer today.