The right approach makes you the right leader
The topic of leadership is as old as time. Every manager is aiming to find the best approach to lead their team in the right direction. Other than being a compass and the captain of the ship, leaders are constantly in touch with different kinds of employees. Social psychologist Kurt Lewin (1930) developed a framework for different leadership approaches. Each of these approaches has their weaknesses and strengths respectively. There are three main leadership styles that can best be applied based on your personality, your employees and the different situations that occur. Let us take a closer look at the different management approaches.
On a wider scale, the perfect example of this kind of approach is Adolf Hitler. Autocratic or Authoritarian leaders usually make decisions without consulting anyone else. These kind of leaders are very independent and almost never ask their team for feedback. This kind of leader will have little to no interaction with his or her employees and will pass down tasks that are to be performed with complete compliance. The advantages of this leadership style can be experienced best with a team of non-experienced members who require direct rules to produce a fruitful outcome as this style involves a lot of micromanagement. However, the disadvantages of this leadership style are more poignant as it will more likely cause high staff turnover in today’s autonomous organisations. Moreover, those in creative or innovative positions cannot work under autocratic or authoritative leaders as their creativity and freedom will be limited which will in return affect their workflow and results.
Even though the final say is theirs, Participative or Democratic leaders involve their team in the decision-making process. The most prominent examples of the Democratic leadership style include Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson. They are known to consult their subordinates and consider the opinions of others before reaching a certain decision. Democratic managers gain their authority via being accountable for their actions, cooperation and correct delegation of tasks. The functions of democratic leaders also include distributing responsibility within the group or organisation, empowering members and facilitating group deliberations. Nonetheless, this kind of leadership can be deemed ineffective when a quick decision needs to be taken.
Laissez-faire which literally translates from French to let it do is also known as delegative leadership. It is all about giving the team members the full support required and freedom in the way they get their job done. Mahatma Gandhi and Steve Jobs are known to be Laissez - Faire leaders. They try to give the least possible guidance to subordinates and they try to achieve control through less obvious means. They believe that their team members excel when they are left to respond to responsibilities and obligations in their own way. This autonomy will lead to a high level of job satisfaction but might lead to failure if the team members lack time-management skills and accountability. This style can be extremely effective with self-reliant subordinates and with providing constant support.
A leadership style is the way or approach a manager leads the team. Finding your way might take multiple trials. You can find your groove via identifying your strongest characteristics and consequently leveraging on them. While many leaders choose the way they lead based on their preferences, you should also consider the personalities, weaknesses and strengths of your team members and the best ways they can be managed while considering your business goals.
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