The best way to master your leadership methods is to identify what type of leader you are. There are countless leadership styles in the modern workforce; choosing one you personally reflect will help you focus and hone your skills to become the kind of leader you want to be—and the best kind for your employees.
The 3 basic leadership styles, established in 1939 by psychologist Kurt Lewin, are as follows:
- Autocratic style– Control is held by a single individual who makes all decisions and directs others; Lewin found this method to be least effective for groups with younger persons.
- Democratic style– Although control is held by one individual, he/she is open to suggestions or ideas from the group; this leader guides rather than directs, creating the most positive response with the younger groups.
- Laissez-faire style– The leader provides no guidance or directions, leaving the group to rely on themselves; this method caused disorganization and little productivity.
The formation of these styles presented the idea that the team members can have a substantial effect on the leader’s methods. This led to the development of situational leadership (1970s), where the leader adapts his/her methods based on the current situation. For example, the leader may adopt an autocratic style in a time-crunch situation, and a democratic style in a less hectic situation. Situational leadership may also refer to the “situation” of the employees—some individuals require less or more direction than others to complete a task.
Over the years, more inferences have been made, expanding the leadership categories even more. A recent Inc.com article lists these 9 virtues that embody results for an effective leader—inspiration, honesty, optimism, confidence, empathy, accountability, focus, awareness, and decisiveness.
Even more leadership methods and tactics have been revealed since then. Harvard Business Review share their six styles, which they classify as “different components of emotional intelligence”:
- Commanding, which is demanding immediate compliance
- Visionary, in which leaders assemble people toward a vision
- Affiliative, where leaders form harmony through emotional bonds
- Democratic, in which leaders build unanimity through participation
- Pacesetting, which is where leaders anticipate excellence through self-direction
- Coaching, which develops employees to prepare for the future
From all of these leadership methods, you should be able to relate to one or more in order to confidently and successfully manage your team. The concept of leadership is broad and open to interpretation; there is no single definition or single technique that works best. Know your team’s strengths and weaknesses, and choose a technique that you can comfortably work with that effectively helps them succeed as well. If you can’t decide, try out a few of them until one clicks. There is a method of effective leadership for everyone out there, you just have to find the one that fits your organization best.
Which leadership tactics work for you? Share them with us in the comments below!