What is a Leadership Style?
Your leadership style defines how you relate to the team you lead.
We define leadership as getting things done through our interactions with team members. Your leadership style is how you relate to your team members, individually and as a group. The style you exhibit as a leader has an immense effect on the results produced by the team.
As we so often see, a sports analogy is useful in demonstrating this effect. Here’s the story of Bayern Munich, a German soccer team whose new leader led them to a championship. A horrible 2019-20 season ended with a crushing defeat. The management released their head coach and replaced him with one of his subordinates.
Seemingly a small change! Hansi Flick, the new coach, would follow that with other minor adjustments in staff and player roster. The big change, not so visible, was in leadership style. Flick converted the players’ mindsets from losing to winning – and they won! Big time!
Big, highly visible changes, like replacing half the players or staff, get headlines! Small, low-visibility changes, accompanied by a new leadership style, can be the catalyst for big changes in results. Leadership style makes the BIG difference!
Read the story to see how this works.
There are many examples of similar turnarounds in business.
What are the 4 Types of Leadership Styles?
We’ll define and discuss the 4 fundamental types of leadership styles in this article.
Very few leaders exhibit a pure form of only one type. Most leaders have a combination of two or more of these styles.
Autocratic or Authoritarian Leadership
An autocratic leader keeps power and decision-making to himself. His or hers is a command-and-control organization. People perform their duties mostly as a result of fear of punishment rather than a sense of personal satisfaction or pride in results. In some cases, such a leader may offer benefits for achieving certain results.
The motivation always comes from something outside the individual, not from their internal sense of accomplishment. They usually do what's necessary to curry favor or avoid the leader’s disfavor and no more.
In this type of organization, producers feel stifled and frustrated. Team performance normalizes at a low level, as the most productive people leave and the least motivated stay and do the minimum necessary.
Democratic or Participative Leadership
Participative style leaders decentralize authority. They encourage input from their team members.
Everyone on the team feels like part of something larger than themselves. They feel important in the team results, giving them a sense of pride in those results.
Democratic or participative leadership results in improved morale. With this style of management, absenteeism and employee turnover are reduced.
Results improve because everyone enjoys the feeling of being productive. Costs are reduced since absenteeism and turnover are among the biggest factors in employment costs.
Laissez-faire or Free-rein Leadership
In this leadership style, the leader essentially abdicates the role of directing activity. They act more as umpires than directors of the team's goals.
While some autonomy is a good thing, the team members must have a clear sense of what they're there to accomplish.
A good question to ask people is, “Why are we here?”. If the team members' answers differ from each other, you don't have a team; you have a group of people working independently. On a team, each member supports progress toward a common goal.
In this style, the leader assumes the role of “Papa knows best.” The relationship is similar to that of a head-of-family and their children. They provide a comfortable working space and good benefits, but the team members are to follow the leader's direction.
In some Asian cultures, this can actually work pretty well. In western cultures, more independent-thinking mature adult workers may resent the paternalistic attitude of the leader.
The Importance of Developing a Leadership Style
So…which of the 4 types of leadership skills do you use?
The label you put on your type of leadership style is not important. What is important is that you understand your relationship with your team members.
The foregoing identifies important aspects of that relationship. Of course, results speak for themselves. Frank, face-to-face discussions with individuals and the team as a group will give you further insight into your degree of success in motivating the team. Ideally, they have a healthy sense of self-direction and autonomy in finding their own best methods to contribute to the team's goals. At the same time, they clearly understand what those goals are.
Note: Archived issues of The Unity Community are available here. Search that page for keywords representing your particular interest. Most articles offer suggestions for ways of improving business and personal relationships. Keep in mind that business is done by…people. Every business concern is essentially an inter-personal concern.
A “Shot in the Arm” Every Day!
Eric Lofholm, my friend, mentor and sales coach, hosts a 15-minute motivational call every business day. (For a short time, he switched to doing the call weekly, and it seems nobody liked it.) The call is at 7:45 AM Pacific time. Register for it here. You'll find instructions on how to join the call on Facebook, Zoom, by phone, or on a recording.
What's your leadership style? Do you have a clear sense of how your team members view their relationships with you? Would you like to share your experience(s) with leadership? I’d love to hear from you. Reply to this message or click here if you'd like to chat on the phone.
Do you like The Unity Community?
Do you find value in the articles?
What's good about it?
What would make it even more valuable for you?
Suggestions for topics in future issues? Do you have something you'd like to contribute? It can be your work…or someone else's. I'll give you and the author ample credit for your contribution if I use it.
Your thoughts, suggestions and comments are always welcome. Reply to this message, or go here if you'd like to chat on the phone or Zoom.
Do You Know Someone Who'd Like This?
You’re welcome to forward it to them with the FORWARD feature in your email program.
Did someone forward this to you? Would you like to subscribe (free)? Send me your email address and tell me you'd like to subscribe.
Want to Do More Business?
Suppose you go to a networking event. You're amazed to find all your ideal prospects waiting to talk with you.
Our Business Accelerator Platform gives you this kind of exposure to your market. These are the people you want to help!
We find your ideal client prospects and start conversations with them. Then we communicate your value. We get them to schedule appointments with you…all on autopilot. This can happen for you! Learn how here.
When you join Smart Money Network's Business Accelerator Platform, we:
- Optimize your LinkedIn Profile Page so it better attracts people in your market.
(Hint: What painful issue do you resolve for your clients? If your LinkedIn profile describes how you make your clients' lives better, it's rare! Most describe the merchant's qualifications and expertise. They say little about what they do to remove clients' pain.)
- LinkedIn has 740 million members. We find the few thousand who match your ideal client profile. You define your best prospect for us. Then we find them.
(Even if you can find these people by yourself, it will take hours away from your work with your current clients.)
- Invite about 100 of these best prospects every week to connect with you on LinkedIn.
- Send a welcome message to those who accept your invitation and connect.
(Typically 15% or more. Currently, over 25% of those I invite are connecting!)
- Deliver something of value to them from you, and then do it again!
- Begin a “drip campaign” of carefully timed messages, providing more value. These messages give…give… give…and then ask. No pitches!
All these messages come from you personally. We want and expect your input in developing them…unless you want us to just do it. You can follow the threads and adjust your messages as you see better ways to engage your prospects. We're always ready to talk with you about improving your messaging.
See a “hot” prospect you want to engage with your unique message? Take over the exchange manually!
Click here to learn how you can put this program to work for YOU!
Would You Like to Publish a Newsletter Like This One?