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Leadership Styles - Choosing the Right Approach for the Situation

Lewin's Leadership Styles

  • Autocratic leaders make decisions without consulting their team members, even if their input would be useful.
  • Democratic leaders make the final decisions, but they include team members in the decision-making process.
  • Laissez-faire leaders give their team members a lot of freedom in how they do their work. They provide support with resources and advice if needed, but otherwise they don't get involved.

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Leadership Styles - Choosing the Right Approach for the Situation

Leadership Styles - Choosing the Right Approach for the Situation

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_84.htm

mindtools.com

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Key Ideas

Leadership is not a "one size fits all" thing

You must adapt your approach to fit the situation. 

This is why it's useful to develop a thorough understanding of other leadership frameworks and styles - the more approaches you're familiar with, the more flexible you can be.

Lewin's Leadership Styles

  • Autocratic leaders make decisions without consulting their team members, even if their input would be useful.
  • Democratic leaders make the final decisions, but they include team members in the decision-making process.
  • Laissez-faire leaders give their team members a lot of freedom in how they do their work. They provide support with resources and advice if needed, but otherwise they don't get involved.

The Blake-Mouton Managerial Grid

  • With a people-oriented style, you focus on organizing, supporting, and developing your team members. This participatory style encourages good teamwork and creative collaboration.
  • With task-oriented leadership, you focus on getting the job done. You define the work and the roles required, put structures in place, and plan, organize, and monitor work.

The best style to use is one that has both a high concern for people and a high concern for the task.

Path-Goal Theory

With this, you can identify the best leadership approach to use, based on your people's needs, the task that they're doing, and the environment that they're working in.

For example, highly-capable people, who are assigned to a complex task, will need a different leadership approach from people with low ability, who are assigned to an ambiguous task. (The former will want a participative approach, while the latter need to be told what to do.)

Flamholtz and Randle's Leadership Style Matrix

It shows you the best style to use, based on how capable people are of working autonomously, and how creative or "programmable" the task is.

The matrix is divided into four quadrants – each quadrant identifies two possible styles that will be effective for a given situation, ranging from "autocratic/benevolent autocratic" to "consensus/laissez-faire."

Transformational Leadership

Often the most effective style to use. 

Transformational leaders have integrity and high emotional intelligence . They motivate people with a shared vision of the future, and they communicate well. They're also typically self-aware , authentic , empathetic , and humble .

Bureaucratic Leadership

Means following rules rigorously, and ensure that their people follow procedures precisely.

It works for work involving serious safety risks (working with machinery, with toxic substances), or with large sums of money. Bureaucratic leadership is also useful for managing employees who perform routine tasks. Not very effective in teams that rely on creativity, flexibility and innovation.

Charismatic Leadership

Charismatic leaders inspire and motivate their team members. But they often focus on themselves and their own ambitions, and they may not want to change anything.

Charismatic leaders might believe that they can do no wrong, even when others warn them about the path that they're on.

Servant Leadership

A "servant leader " is someone, regardless of level, who leads simply by meeting the needs of the team. 

These people often lead by example. They have high integrity and lead with generosity. Their approach can create a positive corporate culture, and it can lead to high morale among team members, but it doesn't work in situations where you have to make quick decisions or meet tight deadlines.

Transactional Leadership

This style starts with the idea that team members agree to obey their leader when they accept a job. 

The "transaction" usually involves the organization paying team members in return for their effort and compliance on a short-term task. The leader has a right to "punish" team members if their work doesn't meet an appropriate standard.

It clarifies everyone's roles and responsibilities, but it can be amoral and can lead to high staff turnover

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Peter Drucker

"Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things."

Peter Drucker
Change Leadership Styles

Sometimes a teammate needs a warm hug. Sometimes the team needs a visionary, a new style of coaching, someone to lead the way or even, on occasion, a kick in the bike shorts. 

For that reason, great leaders choose their leadership style like a golfer chooses his or her club, with a calculated analysis of the matter at hand, the end goal and the best tool for the job.

Daniel Goleman’s leadership styles
  1. Pacesetting leader - “Do as I do, now”: expects and models excellence and self-direction. 
  2. Authoritative leader - “Come with me”: mobilizes the team toward a common vision.
  3. Affiliative leader - “People come first”:  works to create emotional bonds that bring a feeling of belonging.
  4. Coaching leader - "Try this": develops people for the future.
  5. Coercive leader - “Do what I tell you”: demands immediate compliance.
  6. Democratic leader - “What do you think?": builds consensus through participation.
Authentic Leaders

They are people of the highest integrity, committed to building enduring organizations. They have a deep sense of purpose and self-discipline, are true to their core values, dare to build th...

Character, Not Style

Leadership has to do with who we are as human beings and the forces that shaped us. Style is the outward manifestation of one’s authentic leadership

Authentic leaders must adapt their styles to fit the situation and capabilities of their teammates.

Real And Genuine

You can’t pretend to be an authentic leader for long because people will eventually sense the lack of authenticity, and ultimately you will not gain the trust of your teammates.

If you are real and genuine people will see you as trustworthy and willing to learn, they will respond positively to requests for help in getting through difficult times.

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Business chemistry
Business chemistry

This is a framework for understanding meaningful differences in people’s working styles. It identifies four primary types:

  • ...
Why universal approaches don't work

A one-size-fits-all approach won’t work well on a team with a mix of types.

For example, too many constraints can completely shut a Pioneer down, while a Guardian may withdraw in an environment that feels too chaotic.
A Driver may become very frustrated in an organization that lacks decisiveness, while an Integrator may wither on a team that doesn’t value broad-based input.

Business chemistry mix

Manage the team in ways that support the diverse needs of different types of work.

You wouldn’t want a team that is all about creative ideas with no focus on implementing those ideas. Or one that is searching for the big win with no attention paid to the people involved in getting there.

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