Leadership Styles: Which One Do You Have?
When it comes to managers, it’s possible that every one of them in your company has different leadership styles. To be able to manage to the best of their abilities, you should ensure they all know which leadership style they have. Then, they can use it to their advantage.
Leadership styles are often picked up through your own experience with management. Some styles are great while others can be detrimental to the morale of the workplace.
Every leadership style has a set of strengths and shortcomings. It’s important to know which of the leadership styles you portray so that you can make it work for you and your team!
Different Leadership Styles
There are five different leadership styles that almost every leader will fall into. Let’s look at each one so you can determine which resonates with you and your management team the most.
You can best describe the autocratic leadership style as the most stereotypical boss. The most common trait you will see in this leadership style is being controlling.
This can be beneficial in some ways because they never struggle to be the ones that will make a decision, no matter how big. Autocratic leaders tend to have a huge vision for themselves and their team and they’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen.
However, there are downsides to this style of leadership as well. Autocratic leaders are more prone to becoming burnt out while also creating a toxic work culture for their team. This can lead to team members losing their motivation and desire to help out in the work environment, hurting the company as a whole.
Overall, the autocratic style of managing is being replaced by other leadership styles and the focus on a positive work environment continues to be the priority. If this leadership style seems like yours, it may be time for you to evaluate how it’s affecting your team. If you’re concerned, consider asking some trusted members of your team to evaluate whether your leadership style comes across as too controlling.
If autocratic leadership is one end of the spectrum, laissez-faire is the exact opposite end. Leaders that fall into this category are incredibly casual and laid back when it comes to their leadership styles.
There are benefits to this style of leadership because it can challenge your employees. Not only that, but it can also help your employees explore different options in the workplace to see what works best for them. If you have independent team members, this can be helpful for morale.
However, there are downsides as well. The laissez-faire leadership style can cause confusion for your team members because you aren’t giving them direct instructions or guidelines. Instead, you can come off as disconnected from the team if your approach is too hands-off.
If you have employees who thrive in structured environments, having a laissez-faire leadership approach can harm their productivity and overall happiness at work. This is one of the reasons it’s a good idea to know the kind of leadership styles that work best for your employees. Doing so can allow you to work on your style to better suit your team.
Somewhere right between the first two leadership styles, you can find democratic leaders. These leaders are most likely to have a true open door policy where they’re open for dialogue and conversation with their employees. You’ll find that these leaders are very focused on the overall well-being of their team.
There are great elements to this style of leadership. For example, democratic leaders typically are very encouraging to the members of their team. Plus, they take the time to consider every employee’s strengths and career goals to make sure they’re in a position at work where they can succeed in.
However, considering everyone’s feelings and requests can make it hard for democratic leaders to make a decision when the time comes. Since they are so focused on making sure everyone can succeed at work, they often find it hard to choose the best solution for the team.
It’s important to remember that, though you are an encouraging leader, it’s not your job to make sure everyone is happy all the time. As a democratic leader, it’s essential to use your position to make decisions that work for the whole team instead of for individual people.
Those with transactional leadership styles are often focused on numbers and metrics and they thrive in environments that focus on them. A transactional leader will typically have clear expectations for their team and have a streamlined way of approaching them.
With a transactional leader in your team, you’re incredibly likely to reach your metric goals every single month because that’s what they’re most focused on. With these measurable goals, these leaders will usually give clear directions to their team members on how to reach said goals as well. This can lead to the team working like a well-oiled machine day after day.
The biggest downside to this leadership style is that it’s easy to forget that your team members are individual people. With numbers as the primary focus, many transactional leaders will fall into the routine of simply treating their employees as a necessary means to the goal. This can cause a lack of communication and empathy between the leader and their employees.
It’s important to keep your expectations in check when you’re a transactional leader. Employees may have off days or even months where they don’t pull their weight on metrics but that doesn’t make them bad employees. It’s important to remember that they’re people and may have outside situations going on. Take time to talk to your employees, setting clear expectations, but also communicate when there are hang-ups.
The fifth of the main leadership styles is a transformational leader. These leaders focus mainly on the overall, long-term goal for their team and the company as a whole. They will always be looking ahead and identifying ways that they can help their team focus on the end goal.
Transformational leaders have some great benefits like having an inspirational mindset at work. This can help boost morale and keep employees motivated for the long haul. Plus, these leaders typically are the most likely to embrace company values and make them a priority for their team.
Of course, there are still downsides as well. As a transformational leader, you may come up with ideas that are simply too large for your team. It can also be difficult for you to stay present during the work day, as you can often get sidetracked thinking about the future of the team.
It’s important to be in the moment with your team, even when your main goal is still further in the future. It’s also important to stay realistic about what your team is capable of. While being ambitious is a great trait to have, it can lead to expecting too much from your employees. This can hurt morale and work ethic if your team members always feel they can’t live up to your big ideas.
Why You Need to Know Your Leadership Style
As a leader in your workplace, you should have the goal of being the best leader you can be. Knowing which of these five leadership styles you most relate to is a great step to being able to do that.
When you own up to your actions at work, good and bad, it can help you develop as a leader. When you are focusing on the ability to grow as a leader, it will help your team grow and can help the company as a whole!
Even though you’ve made it to a management role, it shouldn’t cause you to stop growing at work. The best leaders are the ones that are continuously looking for ways to improve themselves. Knowing your leadership style allows you to better identify the areas where you struggle at work, which can help you focus your improvement efforts.
Plus, taking responsibility for how you manage your team sets a good example for your employees. When they see you actively acknowledging your shortcomings and working on improving them, they’ll be more likely to do the same with their own problem areas.
Knowing which leadership style you have is important to becoming the best manager you can be. While we’ve talked about five leadership styles here, you may find that you’re a mixture of a couple of them or that you’re a different one altogether.
Each leadership style has pros and cons, so you don’t want everyone in your company focusing on having the same style. Instead, make sure everyone is able to identify their leadership style and then work to fine-tune the traits to help them become the leader they strive to be!