One’s leadership style is crucial in driving business growth. It plays a major role in what will determine the pace, grit, and direction to be taken moving forward for any organization. With this, it’s pretty understandable why anyone would be intimidated by the mere thought of picking a certain style. Especially now that a huge chunk of the population has a work-from-home setup, there is an added challenge due to the shift away from traditional and personal modes of communication and collaboration plus the need to keep a cohesive unit despite the physical distance. The role of a commanding and esteemed authority becomes ever more decisive. We’ve laid down some important principles and concepts for you to mull over while you’re choosing your preferred leadership style.
Key factors to consider
Before taking a deep dive into the specific leadership styles being practiced out there, it’s key to understand and assess the following factors.
a. Understanding yourself
The first thing that is essential to pin down is your own capacities and limitations, your strengths and weaknesses. Knowing these will be able to provide you leverage so you can maximize and enrich the positives while keeping mindful and minimizing the negatives. What’s key to keep in mind here is that no leadership style can truly be copy-pasted as one would please. It’d be more self-restrictive if the approach would be to pigeonhole one’s self into something one isn’t. That would lead to ineffective and possibly counterproductive results. This is why this first step of thoroughly and truthfully assessing one’s self is very important.
b. Understanding your team
A leader is just as good or just as strong as the team they’re leading. What’ll determine an organization’s success is the collective action of the whole and not just an individual. Therefore, this one is as important a step as any other. Knowing and understanding your team involves knowing their strengths and weaknesses as well and having an effective and apt communication style with them.
c. Understanding your business
An effective leader has a deep and up-to-date understanding of their business and its place in the industry it operates in. We can’t go on planning to skyrocket business growth without having intensive knowledge of the settings in which the business will grow. Each industry and each business has its specifics. It’s absolutely crucial to stay in the know of the recent developments therein so you can adapt your leadership style based on the demands of the ever-evolving business landscape.
Now, let’s dive into the leadership styles that you can study to bolster your business growth.
1. Pacesetting leadership
Pacesetting leadership is essentially a performance-focused style that sets high standards and puts the weight of achieving goals on team members. It is found to be most effective for cases requiring good results delivered fast. This style revolves around setting clear objectives that should be met. Team members are motivated by these concrete goals and are rewarded upon their accomplishment of said goals.
On the flip side, although quality and efficiency are ensured in this straightforward leadership style, it may produce a work environment that can be too hard or pressuring on team members who may not always be able to meet a specific goal or criteria. This may lead to issues in employee morale.
2. Coaching leadership
The coaching leadership style is one that is more hands-on. A coaching leader pays heavy attention to each team member’s strengths, weaknesses, and motivations and gears all of these for individual and overall improvement. This style involves setting growth-oriented goals for each team member and regular feedback, consultation, and collaboration between team leader and team member. It ultimately aims to create a welcoming, empathic, and motivating work environment.
The coaching leader may seem like the best leadership style because of its more practical and clear-sighted approach to managing and leading a team. However, it’s been seen to be one of the least popular styles of leadership being practiced now. Concerns regarding how time-intensive and labor-intensive it is are to blame. For example, this may not exactly fit or be cost-efficient for organizations that aim to increase productivity by following the sun model (e.g. having branches and business processes operating all over the world).
3. Authoritative leadership
From the descriptive word itself, an authoritative or authoritarian leader is one that is stern on producing the greatest results at the least cost. With this style, decisions are often made by the leader alone or with a select group of trusted team members. This style of leadership is found to be appropriate for organizations or businesses that operate in compliance-heavy industries, basically those that have some really strict and critical rules to follow.
It can also be beneficial for a team that is composed of members who may lack experience since this leadership style totally determines the overall path up to the nitty-gritty. On the downside, this leadership style may produce a “confining” or restrictive work environment for employees as it allows very little space for individual creativity or initiative.
4. Laissez-faire leadership
As opposed to the previous item on the list, laissez-faire leadership gives its team members the most freedoms and liberties possible without sacrificing organizational objectives. In this one, the general goals and resources are set and provided by the superiors, while utmost control as to how to achieve these goals is given to the team members. This leadership style incentivizes individual creativity and initiative among team members and can therefore boost employee morale.
It is found to be most apt for teams composed of more experienced and well-trained employees who don’t require that much supervision and support. The con of this leadership style is that it may sometimes result in a decrease in productivity or production delays due to a lack of clearer and more specific tasks and objectives that need to be met. This may cause some confusion among employees with regards to what expectations should be met.
5. Democratic leadership
The democratic leader incorporates both the autocratic and laissez-faire styles. They pay great attention to member input upon making decisions via consensus-making while still employing the necessary rigor to achieve objectives. This leadership style encourages individual participation and discourse.
It is found to be great for organizations that want to foster innovation and generate new ideas. Because of its pros, democratic leadership is one of the most common styles of leadership practiced in the corporate world today. It is seen to be suited for the rapid changes in almost all industries in the modern age.
Developing your leadership style
To sum it all up, the best and most effective leadership style is one that is adaptive and can meet the ever-changing demands of today’s industries. There’s no surer way to skyrocket your business growth other than making sure your approaches and decisions are substantive enough for the circumstances dictating the behavior of people and the business world.
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