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Leadership Styles

Employee engagement data can reveal which leadership qualities really matter in management.

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Leadership Styles

What are Leadership Styles?

Leadership Styles Definition

The definition of leadership styles has to do with the way each individual leader addresses followers and others around them. Some leaders are very strict and authoritarian, and they just expect to give orders and have those orders followed. Other leaders are very laid-back and relaxed, and almost appear to be one of the team instead of the one in charge. But people still follow that leader, because the leader gives them respect and camaraderie. Most leaders fall somewhere in the middle of these two styles, which makes sense given that the middle ground is often what works best for the majority of people.

But it’s also important to note that leadership styles in business are often based on the kind of company and industry that leader is in, along with the leader’s personal style. For example, some industries are still much more professional or white-collar in their outward appearance to the public, and an industry like that would probably not do well with a leader who didn’t fit that image or operate the company in the proper way. Other industries are much more relaxed in what they show to the public, and they may have leaders that also have a relaxed management style. The industry will play a large role in that.

Some say that there are 4 basic leadership styles. Others contend that there are more than these four options, and that there are more complexities to leadership than may have been realized in the past. Both ideas and opinions are equally valid, and it simply depends on which school of leadership thought someone subscribes to. Leadership isn’t set in stone, really, because people approach it differently. They may each fall into one of the main styles, but they’ll also have their own subtleties that come along with it, as well. That’s important to remember, because leadership styles in management are similar and unique, all at the same time.

Benefits of Leadership Styles

There are a lot of benefits to different leadership styles. Transformational leadership styles, for example, are some of the most popular styles. They’re designed to help people really work together, instead of having one person giving orders and a bunch of people just following them. That can cause a lot of resentment in most companies and employee interactions. But when a transformational leader works with them, that’s a different kind of experience and can lead to a team approach and effort that’s more focused on ensuring that everyone has what they need to get the job done.

Of course, that’s not the only type of leadership that will work or be effective. A leadership styles quiz can be a great way for leaders to see what type of leader they actually are, and for employees to address what type of leader they really need. By doing those things, leaders and followers (or managers and employees) can come together more easily and work toward the common good of the company. The biggest benefits of leadership styles is that there are many of them, so the right one for the leader, followers, company, and industry can be found and used to make the entire operation more successful.

Improving Leadership Styles

Asking what are the 4 basic leadership styles is a good first step toward finding what works for a company or a particular leader. That way leaders can determine if their transactional or transformational, and whether that’s working for the company and industry they’re in. Sometimes even switching companies within an industry can be enough to find a better fit between the kind of leadership someone offers and the type of guidance that employees are looking for. A lot of people also find themselves asking what are the 7 leadership styles because they may have heard that there are more than the four that most people talk about.

No matter which kind of leader a person is, though, or the type of leadership they offer, there are ways to make improvements to someone’s leadership style. The types of leadership styles can be adjusted and blended by some leaders, so they have their own personal style that gives them the chance to really interact with their followers on a more personal level. Democratic leadership styles, for example, give a voice to the followers and the leader, on a more equal footing. That doesn’t mean that people can just veto what the leader wants to do, but followers of this kind of leader certainly do get more of a vote than they would with other styles or other leaders.

Leadership Styles Survey

Among the best ways to find out about different leadership styles and see which one a person has – or which one a company needs – is to take a survey. That way the different styles can be listed and discussed, with definitions and information given about them. Depending on which style a person identifies with most, they may have specific traits that will make them a better leader in certain industries, types of companies, or circumstances. These surveys aren’t an exact science, but they can provide a lot of good insight into whether a person will be the right leader for a particular company or whether they might not be the best fit.

Coaching leadership styles, for example, provide a more open level of communication than an authoritarian leadership style. When someone coaches their followers they work on encouraging them and getting them to do more with their life and their career in ways that work for them. An authoritarian leader, though, is only interested in giving orders and doesn’t care about employee feedback in a lot of cases. Some industries or organizations are well suited for these types of leaders (such as in the military), but most companies don’t operate well under a leader who only gives orders and expects them to be followed without question all the time.

Leadership Styles Software

To understand autocratic leadership styleparticipative leadership style, and more, the right software can definitely help. Most people don’t think of software as having a lot to do with leadership, but it does in a lot of cases. Not only can good software help people answer the question what is your leadership style, software can also show them how to use that leadership style to get more done and keep their followers focused on the quality and value they can bring to the organization. Not everyone has the same leadership style, and that’s good news because not every company needs the same type of leader. Pairing up those who work well together is important.

For example, someone with a laissez faire leadership style might not work well with a company that needs a more authoritarian person running the show. But a servant leadership style wouldn’t work well in that type of company, either. Many tech companies and start-ups operate with a servant style leader who’s focused on what they can do in order to help their followers be more successful. They don’t want to be someone giving orders. They want to be a part of building something wonderful that works for everyone involved. Steve Jobs leadership style comes to mind with servant leadership.

Leadership Styles Strategies

What is leadership style, really? Whether there are 4 types of leadership styles or 7 types – or even more than that – leadership style is based on what a person has to offer as they lead other people forward in any type of organization. The right leadership styles strategies matter, since not every strategy is a good fit for every company. Additionally, it’s not realistic for a leader to try to fit into a strategy that doesn’t work for them. They should focus on leadership the way they do it best, instead of trying to fit into the mold of a different type of leader. Not only does that stop them from doing their best work and being their best selves, but it also shortchanges their followers who could be getting more from them otherwise.

With the right person and the proper strategy, it’s easy to see that there are many avenues to a successful leadership experience. The kind of leadership style someone has doesn’t have to be changed unless that person wants to change it. A better choice would be to focus on how they can make their current style of leadership work the best for them and their followers, and whether changing to a different company or industry would be a better option than trying to adjust their style to fit where they currently are. For young managers and those who are just developing as leaders, finding out where their strengths lie and what kind of leader they actually want to be can also be extremely important. That gives them choices, and can help shape their education and career as they move forward with leading others in the future.