Remember when you were at University and you were doing all those group projects with people you barely know? Each person in the group has their strengths, and because you do not know each other, everyone is gunning to lead the group to getting high marks on the presentation. Looking back now, you would see how differently each member would have lead your group. Some would be strict with deadlines, others would be open to suggestions, while there are some who would just like everyone to be chill but yet meticulous with the work.
These different types of leadership styles have existed wherever there is a group of 4 or more people that need to get a job done. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, and it usually depends on the goals the group wants to achieve.
The same concept is applied for businesses. Depending on the company culture and objectives, there are specific leadership styles that are appropriate to adopt.
First and foremost: leadership style is different from leadership trait. A leadership trait means these are innate behaviours that are constant across any situation. For instance, if part of your personality being comfortable with speaking in front of people, then that will reflect in any situation. But there lies the problem, because it is constant across all kinds of circumstances, a trait is not as flexible as adopting a leadership style.
What is leadership style? According to Murray Johannsen, it is “a set of behaviours that one consciously chooses to use that BEST FITS the situation. When the situation changes, so does the style.” Simply put, it is when you can easily switch attitudes or roles when the situation demands it. If a group needs to get in shape, you can be firm and strict. But if a group works harmoniously and needs only guidance and supervision, you can be a bit relaxed but scrupulous.
Different Leadership Styles
Basically, all decision making is done by the manager without the need to ask for input from others. Those in a higher position have total control over what the group does regardless if the members under the manager or the supervisor do not want what is being done. This type of style is strict, but is perfect for groups who require close monitoring. However, this may not be the best choice for people who work as creatives because it would feel like they are being micromanaged when they should not be.
Laissez Faire leadership
This is a more decentralised type of leadership and is quite the opposite of autocratic leaders. They give little to no direct supervision at all when it comes to their employees and would sometimes neglect giving feedback. This type of leadership is expected from someone whose team includes highly trained and experienced members. However, it can hamper work efficiency if they are given a team who needs closer supervision.
This type of leadership focuses on communication and motivation. Leaders who uses the transformational style would often be hands on and would involve themselves with the work. In this way, they are able to communicate better with the team and inspire them to meet their goals. You can see this type of leadership style on organisations that give importance to the bigger picture. They tend to delegate tasks across all team members so that they can achieve their objectives efficiently.
The transactional leadership style has more of a rewards system. Based on performance, employees will either get a reward for finishing certain tasks or be punished for not meeting standards. This can be found in teams who set predetermined goals at the start of a project, and then everyone follows their lead so they can achieve them. The leader then assesses the performance of each member and rewards or corrects them appropriately.
The great thing about adopting a leadership style rather than sticking with your innate leadership trait is not just being role-flexible. But you can also use more than one style if a situation requires it. You can be as strict as an autocratic leader, but adapt a rewards system like the transactional leader. Learn how you can use these styles to achieve work goals and see how your employees respond to it.