What's Your Leadership Style? What Should it Be?
A simple search on google shows 5 types of leaders::
- Autocratic Leader: leader has absolute power and tells people what to do.
- Bureaucratic Leader: does everything by the book insuring the staff follow all procedures exactly.
- Transformational Leader: leads to inspire others and team.
- Laissez-faire Leader: leaves their employees alone to decide for themselves, they are usually surrounded by a skillful team of employees.
- Democratic Leader: invites other employees and team members to come up with decisions and relies on an agreement between everyone of what is best.
I’ve found that we often need to be different types of leaders based on the situation. Over the course of owning several companies I have found myself working hard to be the “right kind” of leader for a given situation.
There have been times when the business was struggling or people were going down the wrong path and more of an Autocratic type of approach was needed: telling people what to do while everyone looked to me and Derek.
Other times, I have taken a Democratic approach, allowing others to come up with and make decisions on what they felt was best. I’ve found that this method increases ownership, but can sometime lead down a wrong path.
At one of our yearly retreats, we gave the employees free reign to come up with a new method for tracking projects. We wanted an aspect of competition for getting projects done with a visual component showing where the project stood.
The employees decided on, ahem, racing Unicorns, and that we were going to have a large wall of unicorns racing across our wall that representing our clients and their projects. When projects were completed we would celebrate. In my gut, I felt this was a bad idea, but I also felt at the time that I needed to let the discussion/decisions go.
Ultimately (thankfully), the idea never went anywhere. No one implemented it and it lost all steam. What I learned from that experience was that good Democratic Leadership often requires a bit of Bureaucratic Leadership in that you have to set up guide-rails for the democratic decisions. Buy-in is key, but it must be in the right direction.
I find that Transformation leadership is required on a regular basis. I feel this type of leadership is the most powerful overall, but to be truly effective, it has to be used in conjunction with other styles. This type of leadership inspires others to overcome and create something great. This requires a steadfast focus on a solution and the encouragement of others as they complete tasks and initiatives that lead to that focus.
What kind of leader are you? What kind do you need to be? When have situations required a different type of leadership?