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Leadership Styles

Leadership Styles

Have you ever resonated that there seem to be as many different ways to lead people as there have been great leaders. When we recall the success of Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, Napoleon Bonaparte to Steve Jobs and Jack Welch, we also notice that they all used different approaches that were suitable to their specific situations and circumstances. Over the last century researchers and psychologists have developed simple ways to describe the “Styles of leadership” and in this section we will explore these commonly known leadership styles.

We hope that learning about these styles will help the learners choose the Right Style for their specific workplace situation and help them understand the qualities of a great leader. These articles will help you gain a thorough understanding of different leadership styles including some recently proposed leadership styles in recent leadership literature. We also hope that; the more approaches you're familiar with, the more tools you'll be able to use and by understanding these styles and their impact, you will be able to develop your own approach to implement these to your specific circumstances and this will help you to become a more effective leader.

What is leadership style?

In the section on “Leadership Theories” various leadership theories have been discussed in detail. Here in the section the focus is on linkage of the theories to various styles that emerge from them, either individually or collectively. Leadership is defined as an “influencing process” or the “process of persuasion” to motivate the members to get their best efforts to achieve organizational objectives. Leadership style can be viewed as the way in which that process of leadership is carried out.

Speaking of "leadership" (the abstract term) rather than of "leading" (the action) usually implies that the entities doing the leading have some "leadership skills" or competencies. If a task needs to be accomplished, how does a particular leader set out to get it done? If there are problems, emergencies or conflicts, the manner in which the leader handles it? All of these depend on leadership style.

Why learn various leadership styles?

It has been observed that the style of its leader impacts as well as defines an organization. The combination of the leader's and organization's conception of leadership and how that gets executed by the leader defines the leadership style for a particular organization. Ideally the leadership style of its leader must be consistent with the values, goals, philosophy, vision and mission of the organization. Being conscious of both your own style as a leader and ability to understand and interpret leadership style of your followers as well as your seniors can be crucial in your success as an effective leader and keeping your organization on the right track. Styles define what leadership means for an organization and creates a perception about what leadership is and does in the members of that organization.

There might be different expectations from different leaders based on their specific situations, for example some may be expected to turnaround things, bring change and support change, maintain the status quo, be proactive, and assertive, be passive but drive growth. And all these combinations in different ways create different styles of leaders.

How to determine the appropriate style?

You can choose and develop leadership styles and skills by assessing your own tendencies and talents. For example, have you ever asked yourself, what kind of leader do you want to be and have you ever tried to reflect back and see when you work most effectively as a leader? Based on your organizational setup and interpersonal relationships play, what kind of leadership style could most benefit your organization?

Answers to these questions have to be considered when choosing an appropriate leadership style. These few questions are obviously just a beginning, but they should help you think about some important leadership issues. Your style needs to be consistent with the goals, mission, and philosophy of your organization and on top of it, you need to evaluate and create strategies that succeed you as an effective leader. Finally, learn to adapt to other styles based on the needs and demands of the situation.  The styles described here will provide you with a framework about leadership styles, and help you refine your own thinking about what leadership is and what kind of leader you'd like to be.

The styles presented here have been arranged in Alphabetical Order.

Narrative Leadership

narrativeLeadership is a task of persuasion, of winning people’s minds and hearts. Storytelling is thus inherently suited for the task of leadership. Learn about the narrative leadership style and how to use this style to inspire and motivate followers or to manage change.

Narcissistic Leadership

ManagerNarcissistic leadership is a leadership style in which the leader is only interested in him. Narcissists are good for companies that need people with vision and the courage to take them in new directions. Such leaders sometime might be highly successful, but is it a style to be followed. Learn the various types of narcissistic leadership and the characteristics of such leaders.

Level 5 Leadership

level5leadership“Level 5 Leadership”, this term was coined by Jim Collins in his book “Good to Great” and it is all about achieving "Greatness" as a leader. This article will explain what we mean by Level 5 Leadership and what the characteristics of a Level 5 leader are. What it takes to achieve greatness as a leader, and what are the steps and strategies that one can use to move up to this top level of leadership.

Lean Leadership

leanWe define Lean as the systematic elimination of waste through a continual effort to decrease inefficiency; the lean leader strives to create a more efficient organization. Lean leadership is a philosophy. It is a consistent way of thinking and being in your role as a leader. Learn what we mean by lean leadership style and its principles.

Laissez-Faire Leadership

laizzeLaissez-faire is a style of leadership that affords the group members a great deal of independence. Tasks are delegated to the group members and they are responsible to see the project through to fruition. Research has shown that this style of leaderships leads to the lowest levels of productivity. This article explains this style and covers the implications of having a hands off approach and the situations where this style could be effective.

Facilitative Leadership

facilitativeFacilitative Leadership is all about involving the employees in decision making process at all levels enhancing their sense of ownership, responsibility and motivation. Facilitative leadership style uses a number of indirect communication patterns to help the group reach consensus and build commitment for the decision taken. To be effective in modern organizations, managers need to become facilitative leaders, learn what it means to be a one.

Emergent Leadership

emergentHave you ever faced challenge is getting accepted in your new role of position as a leader? Groups don't automatically accept a new "boss" as leader. Emergent leadership is what you must do when taking over a new group. Learn more about emergent leadership.

Directive Leadership

directiveThis style is characterized by leaders taking decisions for others and expecting followers to follow instructions. The directive leader is adept at giving instructions, setting expectations, and establishing timelines and performance standards. However it is possible for the same leaders to display both directive and supportive behavior as per the demands of the situation by both providing direction and encouraging participation. Learn the characteristics, benefits and downsides of using this style.

Democratic Leadership

democraticjpgResearch has found that this leadership style, also known as participative leadership, is one of the most effective styles and creates higher productivity, better contributions from group members and increased group morale.  The democratic leadership style consists of the leader sharing the decision-making abilities with group members by promoting the interests of the group members. Learn more about this leadership style and understand the situations in which this may be effective.

Cross-Cultural Leadership

cross culturalNot all individuals can adapt to the leadership styles expected in a different culture whether that culture is organizational or national. In a fast paced business environment, developing a richer understanding and sensitivity to other cultures is a skill that Leaders must possess. This article explores the leadership styles that are most effective in a cross cultural setting.

Crisis Leadership

crisisThe skills a leader needs in order to guide people during a crisis are different from the skills needed to help a group grow. Are you a good crisis leader? What is your leadership style in case of a business crisis situation? A business crisis can test the strongest of leaders, read this article to explore how to ensure you’re ready to take action and weather the storm when one strikes you.

Collaborative Leadership

ColloborativeCollaborative leadership is all about collaborative problem-solving and decision-making or can also be defined as leadership of a collaborative effort. . The term started to appear in the mid-1990s in response to the formation of long term public private partnerships to rebuild public infrastructure. Learn how you can use principles of collaborative leadership to enhance your leadership skills for being an effective leader.

Bureaucratic Leadership Style

BureaucraticBureaucratic leadership style is very decent style for work involving serious safety risks, such as handling toxic substances, moving large objects. The focus is on compliance of rules and laid down procedures to make sure that the group is doing their job correctly and safely. Learn some advantages and disadvantages of this style and situations in which this style could prove to be effective.

Bad Leadership

bad leadershipA good leadership style is something that every effective leader must have in order to succeed, but identifying what that entails or does not entails might be difficult to understand. Most of the research on leadership focuses on the exemplary, the best practices and positive attributes of the effective and successful leaders. This article talks about a new approach to learn leadership using lessons from bad leadership. That is the lessons to be learned by examining leaders who have not effectively exercised their power, authority or influence.

Authoritarian / Autocratic Leadership

autocraticAlthough generally considered as traditional, outdated and non-preferred style of leadership, autocratic style still can be used effectively in certain situations. It is a leadership style characterized by individual absolute control over a group. If you work for an autocratic leader, your job is usually to do what you're told. Learn more about this style and situations where this could be an effective style to use and when to avoid this type of approach. Analyze the characteristics of this style to evaluate if your followers consider you an authoritarian leader!

Authentic Leadership

Authentic LeadershipThe authentic leader acts upon his or her values and beliefs, and inspires others to do the same, is committed to know and develop oneself. Are you committed to developing yourself; know your motivations and the purpose of your leadership? Read this article to know more about authentic leadership style and discovering your authentic self. 

Appreciative Leadership

AppreciativeLeadershipAppreciative leaders encourage contributions from those around them and facilitate the discussion to mutually solve problems. Understand the concept of Appreciative Leadership and learn about tools to create and ask powerful questions - that lead to new discoveries and possibilities. Instead of focusing on what’s wrong in the workplace, learn about and build upon what works. Learn in this article the art to apply appreciative inquiry to specific situations and challenges at your workplace.

Agile Leadership

agileCharles Darwin had once commented that “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” Agility means the capability of rapidly and efficiently adapting to changes and recently, agility has been applied in the context of software development, agile enterprise and agile leadership. Understand how being an agile leader helps in effectively catalyzing organizational change.

Adaptive Leadership

adaptive leadershipAdaptive leadership is a style of leadership that emphasizes the importance of each and every person and role within the company. Adaptive leadership views the organization as an ever-changing, living organization, where employees can learn, adapt and grow. Adaptive leaders mobilize people towards a common goal and also have the courage to experiment with new ideas and approaches. Adaptive leadership is the practice of mobilizing groups of people to tackle tough challenges and thrive. Learn how to adopt this style and how to become an adaptive leader!

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