Have you ever worked for a boss you didn’t seem to understand… let alone admire? You know, the one where every time they come around it’s an uphill battle to complete even the simplest of assignments. You may have harbored some judgment or resentment towards that boss. If so, it’s time to take a step back and analyze the types of leadership styles to better understand how others lead and which style best fits your personality.
Since there are different types of leadership styles out there, how do you know which best suits you? It’s helpful to start with an understanding of the types of leadership styles you embody naturally as well as the style of leader you’re comfortable working under. By knowing how you lead now and which leadership style you work well with, you can determine which leadership and management strategies are best for your team and organization.
Let’s take a look at a few types of leadership styles next-level leaders should understand and how you can apply different types of leadership styles depending on your team, project, and organization’s culture.
What are the Most Common Types of Leadership Styles?
At every stage of your career, your boss’ leadership style can have a significant impact on how you feel about getting up and going to work in the morning. The same goes for the people you lead. In fact, 57 percent of workers have reported quitting their job due to their manager.
In general, while some leaders are more laid-back and prefer to delegate, others take charge and make decisions without hesitation. Then there are those who operate best by listening to input from their peers before making any final decisions. More specifically, there are a handful of common leadership styles you’ve probably encountered in your years as an employee, including:
- Visionary Leadership
- Transformational Leadership
- Bureaucratic Leadership
Maybe you’re unaware of these common types of leadership styles or only have a vague idea of what each looks like in the office or factory — that’s okay. When it comes to leadership mastery, there’s a lot to consider. Let’s take an in-depth look at these three leadership styles.
What is Visionary Leadership?
Visionary leadership is a type of leadership in which the leader, through their actions and decisions, provides an inspiring vision for the future and leads people to it. These leaders provide meaning to what could otherwise seem like unimportant work and act as catalysts for change.
They are capable of fostering innovation and creativity while still maintaining a high level of control over major initiatives, mainly by:
- Bringing together different points-of-view
- Encouraging experimentation and risk-taking
- Fostering ownership at every level
- Empowering others to take on new responsibilities
Visionary leaders also promote collaboration among teams so they can more effectively solve problems and pursue creative endeavors. You might be a visionary leader if you can easily see the future before it occurs and enjoy guiding those around you to make it happen. Think Elon Musk and his vision for a human colony on Mars.
What is Transformational Leadership?
Transformational leaders inspire and motivate employees to reach their highest potential. This leadership style is not about the leader telling people what to do or dictating things from a position of authority. Transformational leadership is about inspiring your team members so that they want to achieve more for themselves and the organization.
If you practice transformational leadership, you’re known for the following behaviors:
- Giving your team the tools they need to succeed
- Making sure they know how they contribute to the bigger picture
- Letting them know you have faith in their abilities and will be happy to develop their potential
- Spotting talent and empowering growth
- Setting an example for others by living out your values
This type of leadership has helped many organizations thrive during tough economic times because it connects individual success with organizational success. So, who can you think of that might be a transformational leader? A few of the greats who come to mind are Oprah Winfrey, Peter Drucker, Nelson Mandela, and Steve Jobs.
What is Bureaucratic Leadership?
Bureaucratic leadership can be defined as a leadership style that relies on formal procedures and hierarchy to maintain control over followers. The bureaucratic leader expects obedience from employees without question. Under this leadership, employees are told what to do and how to do it.
Bureaucratic leadership has been around for a long time, but in today’s world of innovation and creativity, it can quickly lead to stagnation or even failure. One exception is within organizations, or bureaucracies, that need total control over how tasks are done for safety and oversight regulations such as in the manufacturing industry and the military.
You may be a bureaucratic leader if you’re persistent about making sure everything gets done according to policy and procedure while upholding standards of quality. Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s, launched the corporation into success with this type of leadership style. And his successors have maintained the style to efficiently produce large volumes of food at low prices.
Be Open-Minded to New Ways of Leading
These are only a small sampling of the different types of leadership styles available to you. Next-level leaders must understand the pros and cons of each, being open to testing new leadership styles as the need arises. This is especially true in the post-COVID world of leading a remote team. So keep following for more insights on leadership topics that will lead you and your organization to achieve your objectives.
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