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This blog is provided by Ashley Wilson, as a companion to the interview with Dr. Dale Meyerrose and his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Pandemic, Activism, Political Policies: Practical Actions for Leaders that aired on August 25th, 2020.
The leadership style that you implement when running your business can often have a significant impact on the success or failure of your company.
Excellent leadership isn’t about barking orders at a specific time or making sure that deadlines are met. You also need to consider the culture you’re creating in your company, and the inspiration you give to your employees.
There are many different styles of leadership when managing and running your team. Each comes with its pros and cons. Let’s inspect how specific leadership styles can affect the growth of your organization.
Autocratic / Authoritarian Leadership
In a crisis, an autocratic or authoritarian leadership style can be beneficial. Sometimes, when employees are panicked, they need the guidance of a strong and confident leader. However, more often than not, autocratic leadership isn’t as beneficial as it seems.
This strategy allows you to run your organization from a top-down perspective, so all the power and authority in your company belongs to your senior management.
This also means that your employees can often feel as though their voices aren’t heard. Although this kind of leadership fosters an environment where working decisions are made quickly, allowing for enhanced efficiency, it also allows for less creativity and buy-in for employees.
Team members can see leaders in this style as uncompromising and controlling, which can lead to even more significant issues with morale.
The participative leadership or democratic leadership style is often a lot better for employee morale and creativity. Here, business leaders and managers seek and encourage input from their staff before making decisions.
Participative leaders act after soliciting opinions and ideas from the employees.
The biggest benefit of this leadership strategy is that employees feel more valued and as though their opinion matters. This also fosters a more aligned team, where employees feel more connected to managers, and generally have more commitment to their organization.
However, one downside of leadership style is that decisions can sometimes stall because leaders want to make a choice that can please everyone.
Otherwise known as laissez-faire leadership, delegative leadership is at the other side of the spectrum to the autocratic style.
This strategy allows employees to make more of their own decisions and establish their guidelines for how to work. Leaders that choose this style rarely make major decisions on their own.
This method of leadership also means that team leaders generally only intervene with work in critical circumstances. Employees often prefer this form of leadership, but it can often lead to problems with a lack of direction.
Company leaders often need to find the right balance between giving guidance and letting employees know what they need and giving them the freedom to operate autonomously.
If your company is brimming with experts who know how to make the most out of their skills in your workplace, then you may find that it’s easier to run a business with a delegative leadership style.
In a transformational leadership environment, there’s a heavy focus on change and improvement in the workplace.
A lot of companies in different industries have begun to focus more on transformational leadership to support an age of “digital transformation,” or switch to a more agile way of working.
Transformational leaders inspire their team and create visions that can help their team members to move towards a brighter future.
However, although transformational leaders can give their employees guidance toward reaching business goals, they also pay attention to what their team members need.
This kind of business leader collaborates with employees to determine what changes are needed in workplaces and how to implement these changes.
Transformational leaders are often seen as valuable assets within their organizations, as they help companies to grow and thrive in difficult times. Such leaders can also serve as critical role models, helpful for keeping subordinates motivated.
Finally, transactional leaders give team members very specific tasks to complete and targets to work towards. They reward team members when they meet the set objectives. This leadership style focuses heavily on the results of employee performance.
An enormous benefit of transactional leadership is that it allows for frequent feedback from team leaders.
Employers and managers need to give their staff plenty of guidance for this strategy to work, and also highlight clear expectations that their team members know what to do next. Transformational leadership can promote a lot of improvement and growth within any organization.
This form of leadership is useful for achieving high levels of employee engagement, particularly for those who are motivated by receiving awards and bonuses. However, there is a risk in this kind of environment that employees will follow the status quo and lose their creativity.
Maintaining Best Leadership Practices
Ultimately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to finding the perfect leadership strategy for your team.
You’ll need to consider the demands of your business, how your employees work, and more when determining what kind of leader you need to be. The best leaders can adapt their style to the environment and the personalities that exist in their team.
Take some time to analyze your team and create a strategy based on what you think you know about how your people operate. Once you’ve implemented a leadership style that seems suitable for your company, monitor how your employees respond.
If something isn’t working, go back to the drawing board and ask yourself what you need to change.
Choosing Your Leadership Style
Different leadership styles have a significant impact on the performance of any organization.
How you choose to lead your team will affect employee morale, decision-making abilities, productivity, and more.
Because of this, successful leaders are scrutinizing problems in their environment and making informed choices on how to adapt.
Effective leaders don’t just set a direction and communicate a goal to their team members, they pay attention to what’s going on around them, and ensure that they’re ready to pivot their leadership style when necessary.
Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.
About the Author
Ashley Wilson is a content creator, writing about business and tech. She has been known to reference movies in casual conversation and enjoys baking homemade treats for her husband and their two felines, Lady and Gaga. You can get in touch with Ashley via Twitter.