So we know what leadership is not. To be honest, there are probably as many leadership styles as there are personalities. Add to that the fact that each business has its own culture and approach to doing business. Belows list of leadership trends is by no means finite. It is, however, a useful list of the major types of leadership styles.
1. What Style of Leadership Do You Have?
There are a bunch of different leadership styles that clever people in white coats have put forward. Before you glaze over, you might recognise yourself or your boss in a few of these, so read on:
- Laissez-Faire – this is a fancy phrase for ‘lazy so-and-so’. Basically, the leader sits back and does nothing, while the team fumbles and achieves little. Let’s not be that guy.
- Autocratic – the leader decides everything.
- Participative – the leader accepts input from peers but the final decision is his.
- Transactional – targets are set by the team, the leader assesses performance and rewards or punishes.
- Transformational – the leader enhances team performance through loads of visibility and great communication with the team.
- Bureaucratic leadership – the leader focuses on obeying every rule.
- Charismatic leadership – the leader inspires enthusiasm in their team by their own enthusiasm.
- Task-oriented leadership – the leader’s only focus is on getting the job done.
- People-oriented leadership – the leader focuses on organising, supporting and developing the people in their team.
A Little Bit of Everything
There’s another style of leadership called ‘situational leadership’ which is a more adaptive and inclusive style to the others. In situational leadership the leader uses whatever style of leadership best meets the immediate situation.
No-one making up their minds? Autocratic it is. Need to bring the whole team on board and inspire collaboration and motivation? Participative or Transformational steps up.
Recognising your dominant leadership style is the first step in growing your personal leadership style. Knowing about other leadership styles, and using them when necessary, is the next step in your leadership evolution.
Consider bumping up your personal leadership repertoire by reading ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen Covey, or listen to ‘The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership’ audiobook by John Maxwell on your way to work.
2. Manage Up
For those of you who do not run a company, or you have a manager above you, you might be thinking, “I wish my boss could read this, so he would become a better leader!” or, “One day, when I’m running things, I’ll do it this way.”
The reality is, you are a leader right now where you are. Wherever you are. The primary area of leadership in your working day is to manage up. What do I mean by that? Most managers want the best version of you in the workplace. Sometimes you need to drop a few pennies into the machine before you hit jackpot. Don’t leave it all to your boss.
You will need to manage your manager on things like expectations, new ideas, opportunities, solutions and emotional wellness. Here are some tips that might work for you.
- Respect first – Show respect to their position and their responsibility in tone and in approach.
- Step into your boss’s shoes – You might have something burning in your chest that you need to say. Take a breath and step into her shoes for a bit. It will help you pace your talk and they will see you get the bigger picture.
- Don’t try to be a revolutionary – Your workplace is not your soapbox. Keep your suggestions practical, feasible and measurable.
- Come with suggestions, not problems – Your boss probably already knows the problem, and is stressed about 10 other problems. State the problem, and offer your suggestions.
- Have your say, obey, walk away – If you think your boss is about to make a bad call, put your suggestion forward. However, no matter what decision he goes with, get on board and do your best. Whingeing about it only makes you feel miserable, annoys others, and produces sloppy results.