Leadership situations aren't just for managers and executives. Often, employees will find themselves in leadership positions, too. Whether you're a new employee or a trusted industry veteran, leadership can come in many forms. That's why leadership styles carry so much weight in day-to-day operations. And there's a difference between leadership and management, making the significance of both positions even more apparent.
Motivational speaker and former business consultant Simon Sinek believes that "...there are leaders and there are those who lead. Leaders hold a position of power or authority, but those who lead inspire us. Whether they're individuals or organizations, we follow those who lead not because we have to but because we want to. We follow those who lead not for them but for ourselves."
Are you a leader in search of the perfect method and technique to inspire your work team?
Let's dive into three famous leadership styles and see which resonates the most with your particular methods and values.
Developing Appropriate Leadership Styles
As you'd probably expect, there isn't just one fail-safe leadership method for motivating employees and having team members succeed. Everyone reacts differently depending on the situation,
The Democratic technique is one of the most common leadership styles in organizations worldwide. It's also the most open approach to leading.
Use this approach to leadership if you're looking to gauge how team members would tackle workplace challenges. Democracy is perfect for high employee satisfaction. Letting team members in on the process is a great idea to create synergy, camaraderie, and a feeling of belonging.
Contributing to essential business decisions can feel fantastic. Use this approach if you want to foster creativity and connect with group members. It's simply better for building meaningful relationships and eliminating fear in the workplace.
The Cons of the Democratic Approach to Leadership
While democratic leadership can adapt your approach to fit the team’s wants and needs, it can be somewhat problematic.
If you use this approach, communication may get muddled, and more unskilled employees can override other people’s important decisions.
We promise this isn't as strict as it sounds. Authoritarian is more in line with 'firm but fair' leadership. It’s pretty much the polar opposite of democratic leadership, with executives and superiors taking full control of the management process.
Again, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. For example, strict rules and industry standards can leave a business without flexibility and breathing room. That leaves some pretty sparse opportunities to consult with team members.
While team members’ suggestions and personal insight may be limited, an excellent authoritarian leader has no problem setting firm, achievable goals. A good authoritarian leader uses understanding of their industry, knowledge, and awareness to get the most out of their position.
Some pretty famous people in business and politics rely on a more 'strong man' method. People like Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, and Martha Stewart employed this technique for some great results.
Cons of Authoritarian Leadership
Are there executives and managers that may have authoritarian tendencies at work without any outside influence? The unfortunate answer is 'yes.’
Having a spontaneous authoritarian technique is when you can expect a heavy employee turnover rate. Employees, understandably, don't appreciate an inflexible approach to management that stifles creativity and undercuts all of their efforts at work.
How does Laissez-Faire leadership work? It's the most liberal and hands-off approach available to managers.
Literally translated to 'let do' from French, Laissez-Faire leadership is precisely that: letting employees do what they want. Now, that doesn’t mean they have free rein, just that they have considerable agency and ways to contribute.
Somewhat similar to the democratic model, the Laissez-Faire approach encourages team members to take charge. This is when an executive or manager believes in team innovativeness and employee creativity.
Laissez-Faire is fantastic for employee engagement and high job satisfaction. The Laissez-Faire approach allows for maximum employee agency and freedom. This is where individuals can make decisions, offer different perspectives, and generally contribute to the work’s overall value.
A Laissez-Faire approach is the perfect way for teams to improve their work environments and the company culture. Laissez-Faire leaders want to see teams enjoy their job and take pride in work.
Cons of Laissez-Faire Leadership
As you can probably guess, this process can be pretty delicate. It requires a leader to have implicit trust in employees taking charge in the workplace.
- Confusion with Communication
- Who's in Charge?
- Who's Accountable?
- A negative perception of leaders
Some employees may work harder knowing that their ideas, perspectives, and decisions can be implemented. However, some team members may see the Laissez-Faire approach to forego responsibility and neglect their work.
Leaders who take the hands-off approach may also give the impression that they aren't invested. For group members, this could create tension and resentment.
It's truly a delicate balancing act to implement this approach to business. Can you balance allowing group members to take charge and maintain accountability?
Some of the most famous individuals in modern history, like Andrew Mellon, Warren Buffet, and even Queen Victoria, preferred the Laissez-Faire approach.
Wrapping up the Different Types of Leadership
So, which leadership style do you fit into? Which is the best leadership style that you work best under? It depends on a few factors, like traits, situations, and the conditions you and your team are working under.
Regardless, different leadership styles affect teams and organizations. Aspects like leadership traits, business constraints, goals, and personal experiences drive small and large businesses to additional success measures.