Identifying Your Own Leadership Style & Understanding What It Means For Your Team
Leadership styles refer to the way that an individual behaves when guiding, motivating and managing others, whether this refers to teams or individuals. Every leader has a different approach to their work and the way that they manage their team. This is due to differing personalities, priorities, teams and businesses.
Kurt Lewin identified three main leadership styles in 1939: Autocratic, Visionary and Democratic. Variations have since been explored but these three main styles still form the basis for all leadership theory. Recognising and understanding your own leadership style allows you to focus on your strengths and weaknesses as a leader, and the direct effects that your style has on the wider business and its goals.
Benefits Of Identifying Your Own Leadership Style
Recognising what your leadership style is and what that means allows you to manage your teams better and to empower yourself to exercise this knowledge and grow as a leader. Understanding your style, strengths and weaknesses can contribute to better communication and help you develop clearer strategies and goals.
1. Are you an Autocratic leader?
Autocratic leaders like to have complete control over tasks and do not expect teams and individuals to have a say in the process or end goal. Although this style can be seen as bossy and dictating, in some situations it may be the best way to ensure a task is completed as intended with the end goal reached within the time frame. In a crisis, the autocratic style can be hugely advantageous if other people are disoriented and unsure of what actions to take.
Autocratic leadership may not work well when managing employees who are more creative and prefer to have some input into decision making, but conversely, it can be ideal when dealing with those who have a more compliant mindset and are more willing to follow set guidelines.
2. Are you a Visionary leader?
Visionary leaders encourage team cohesion and are passionate about business growth, finding common goals for everyone to work towards together. Visionary leaders are often highly resilient and self-confident with the ability to think strategically. They may find it easier to gain employees’ trust than their autocratic counterparts and are able to communicate in an effective and engaging way. However, they may see a lack of productivity if their employees respond better to clear direction rather than collaborative working. Visionary leaders can also focus too much on the bigger picture with too much emphasis on future goals and growth, which can prevent them from keeping their full attention on the challenges and situations currently at hand.
3. Are you a Democratic leader?
Democratic leaders can be considered a mix of Autocratic and Visionary. This type of leader listens to others and values their opinions highly. However, they are ultimately most likely to make the final decision themselves. Democratic leaders can be less confident than Visionary leaders, relying on the input of others to help them come to a conclusion. This leadership style may lead to higher productivity, good staff motivation and better team cohesion. It allows space for creative thinking and diverse opinions, however if too many dominant voices are allowed to hold sway during discussions, quieter team members may feel unappreciated if other opinions override them. Finding the balance that caters for the entire team’s needs and views therefore remains a challenge for the Democratic leader.
Thoughts To Change
Although multiple leadership styles exist, a leader rarely fits into just one category. Many strong and engaging leaders take aspects from several different styles to build a bespoke framework that is suitable for their team. They will adapt their style depending on the personalities and needs within their team and the wider business goals and aspirations. Developing a leadership style is not simply a case of changing your existing behaviours to fit the right box. You need to first understand how your team best responds to being managed and adapt your leadership style for mutual benefit.
Do You Want To Develop Your Own Leadership Style & Become A More Engaging Leader?
Through Executive Coaching and Leadership Training you are guided through a bespoke plan and set of exercises, that focus on leadership styles while highlighting and discussing related issues. This is done through a series of face-to-face sessions, where the thought to change and influence others is instilled on the leader for the benefit of the entire team and success of the business. The ultimate goal is to help Senior Executives, Corporate Leaders and new managers become the strongest, most engaging leaders that they can be.