Are you effectively leading people or not using the right leadership styles when needed?
You can probably think back to certain leaders in your life and the leadership styles they used. An effective leader can manage people effortlessly without having to be overbearing or ruthless. The best leaders are the ones you don’t even notice leading but can motivate and improve everyone around them.
Leadership is the ability to get amazing achievements from ordinary people. If this is the leader you would like to be – in any area of life – it helps to learn different leadership styles. This article will look at 4 styles of leadership and examples for where to use them.
What Are Some Key Leadership Styles?
As a leader, your job is to get things done by leading others to success. This can be on the grand stage of the leader of a country, down to running a volunteer charity. Whatever type of influence you have, leadership is all about getting the best out of others to accomplish a goal or task.
Your leadership style will depend on a few variables, such as the team you are working with or specific people within that team. A good leader can recognize when a certain style is needed and will pick the right one depending on the specific end goal. There are many styles of leadership, but here are a few of the best to help accomplish this.
1. The Structural Leadership Style
This style of leadership is a very straightforward style. Everything is laid out in black in white. Everyone knows what needs doing, why it needs to be done, and when it needs to be done by. This style of leadership is one that places more importance on yourself, and it’s important to recognize this.
You are the one in charge of picking the people, assigning them to the various tasks, and managing them with the expectation they will produce great work. The main responsibility falls on your shoulders with this style as you are the one calling all the shots. You do not need any input from other people and what you say, goes.
You would use this leadership style when team members need to be rewarded or disciplined. You would also use this style when you have a team that is already motivated, full of experts, and needs little direction. You don’t want to use the structural leadership style all the time, as it can lead to team members feeling overwhelmed. This style works best in a crunch time scenario.
2. The Participative Style Of Leadership
This style is when you put your team first. When you’re leading people this way, it shows that you really care about them. When you lead this way, you build more bonds and friendships. There is a focus on spending time with the team members and showing that you care. The best way to use this style of leadership is to treat your team members the same way you would treat a family member.
There is no task-master mentality here, and the leadership is all about respect. This creates a feeling of belonging for the people you lead and you tend to get better results from them this way. They get more of a feeling of ownership with what they are working on as they feel more connected and valued. Decisions are made by consensus and members have more input, hence being called participative.
You would use the participative leadership style when you need new ideas and fresh perspectives. It is also good to use it during times of stress and when team members are feeling overwhelmed. They will feel heard and listened to, and it helps to build and maintain trust.
3. The Servant Style
The servant style is taking the participative style to the next level. With this style of leadership, you serve the role of serving your team. The easiest way to approach this style is to treat others how you want to be treated aka managing others the way you want to be managed.
You make sure that everyone understands their jobs fully and provide any needed tools. This style helps to bring out the peak performance of your team members. This style may be the most rewarding for them as they feel catered to and appreciated. They are listened to and their ideas matter.
An example of when to use the servant style is if you find yourself with a diverse team. This would be a team where you need to personalize your management for each member. You may also want to consider this leadership style if you are starting out somewhere new or with a new team. This will help you build trust, respect, and loyalty.
You may not want to use the servant style for too long, however, as it may lead to a lack of direction for the team. It also may lead to a lack of authority and your team ending up running the show.
4. The Freedom Style
This is a style of leadership that requires a lot of faith in your team. With this style, you give your team a task and then basically stay out of the way. You will chime in only when needed. Your role here is to point the team in the right direction and then leave it up to them.
You obviously need the utmost confidence in your team, but if you’ve led them well up to this point, they should be able to thrive. This style is not recommended if you are just starting out in leading people. You need a great track record showing your ability to get results out of people. You also need a lot of expertise and a highly skilled team that doesn’t need much supervision.
This is an approach taken by the Pixar company: give a mediocre idea to a strong team and they will find a way to make it great.
There isn’t one best leadership style, as these 4 different ones are valuable in their own way. The effective leader is not the one who just intimately knows different styles of leadership but knows when to use them at the right time. Whether you use the freedom, servant, participative, or structural leadership style, you ultimately will know how to get the very best out of people.
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