Who was your favorite leader or boss? What traits did they have? Why were they your favorite? Did you connect with them on a personal level? Did they give you the freedom to risk and learn new things? Did they mentor you and help you grow?
Throughout my career, I have had a variety of leaders, at different times I needed different leadership styles. My all-time favorite leader walked into my cubicle, rolled up a chair, and said: “show me what you do”. Then he had me train him on the process. His hands-on style of leadership resonated with me; he became a great mentor. At times we may need a leader who is autocratic, telling you what to do and when to do it. Sometimes you may need a leader who is more of a coach or you may prefer to the hands-off approach, left alone to do your job unless you seek for guidance. Leadership styles are based on factors such as experience, personality, role models and unique needs of the company.
Effective leaders utilize a combination of multiple styles that make them successful in guiding and inspiring employees. A successful leader will drive creativity and productivity while improving the bottom line of business.
A manager’s leadership style is responsible for 30% of the company’s bottom-line profitability! That’s far too much to ignore.
Being an effective leader does not always correlate with being a well-liked person. Some leaders are loved by their employees, while others are not highly regarded on a personal level, but remain great at moving the business in a positive direction through distinctive leadership styles. Many leaders are ineffective, and use leadership styles that do not correlate well with their industry or with the people they are attempting to lead.
Effective leaders use several different leadership styles at any given time.
A coach, is a leader that quickly recognizes team members strengths, weaknesses and motivations. They set SMART goals and provide regular feedback. This style is highly effective and underutilized because it is the more time-intensive style of leadership.
This is often the most effective style as these leaders have integrity. They motivate people with a shared vision of the future and they communicate well. The transformational leader expects the best from everyone and the hold themselves accountable. They set clear goals and have good conflict-resolution skills. This leader produces high productivity and engagement.
A servant leader lives by people-first mindset. They focus on team members and work to ensure personal and professional fulfillment within their team. This style of leadership achieves high levels of respect from team members. They are skilled in building employee morale and helping to re-engage people with their work.
Autocratic is also called authoritarian style where this leader is focused on results and efficiency. A good example of autocratic leadership is military commanders. This style of leadership is beneficial in organizations with strict guidelines or compliance-heavy industries. However, this style can stifle creativity and make employees feel confined.
Laissez-faire or Hands-Off
This style is an unstructured approach and relies heavily on talent, existing experience and creativity to drive results. The leader provides support with resources and advice if needed. This style can lead to high job satisfaction, but it can also be damaging if team members do not manage their time well, have the knowledge or skills or self-motivation to do their work effectively.
We all have the ability to learn and grow. I am a very different leader today than I was 20 years ago. The change in leadership comes from different organizations, different responsibilities as well as growth and learning on my part. In past segments, we have discussed relationship building, and a good leader for me is observant. They will watch and learn, ask questions and figure out what leadership style will work best with each team member. Keep in mind that not everyone wants to be a leader, it is an important thing to remember that regardless of your role, if you are a leader or an employee, we are all a part of a team. It is everyone’s job to encourage each other, help others excel at their strengths and coach them to strengthen weaknesses. We are in this all together.