Leadership Styles: Being the type of leader your team needs you to be.
Defining leadership styles are like a lot of other things, where it's
pretty common to hear people say there are as many different as there are people. It’s a cliche we all love.
Well, the truth is, leadership is the same way. Everyone is unique, and there is no universal set of standards for everyone.
we do have is a gradient scale that identifies how people react to
different leadership roles. People have different skills and tools, and
depending on which is their specialty, that determines what type of
leadership style they naturally fall into.
What defines a leadership style?
One way to define a leadership style is the way we handle a few categories:
you deal with personnel: How you address your human capital, from
directing their work to dealing with problems and conflict will shape
your leadership style.
- How you manage the workflow: How you manage what
gets done, and how much oversight they will be. Do you expect people to
get it done, or do you make sure it’s happening yourself?
- How you view
your role: Do you see yourself as a caretaker of the environment, or the
ultimate decision maker and director of traffic?
perspective on leadership boils down to two broad categories: the micro-manager and the macro-manager. The micro-manager will supervise and
approve every detail, keeping a heavy hand in the overall progress of
the project. The macro-manager keeps track of goals and big-picture
timelines while relying on his team to make all the smaller decisions.
handling of the flow of ideas also distinguishes leaders. Some serve to
enable the decision making skills of their teams. Others bring in a
predefined philosophy and seek compliance and consent from the group.
may hear one style and think to yourself “that sounds perfect.” It
probably is for your skill or environment. But that’s not to say there
is a perfect leadership style; only the ones that might fit best.
The Two Broad Categories of Leadership Styles (More or Less):
Task-oriented leaders are excellent at managing the nuts and
bolts in their area of expertise. Their ability to get things done
translates into valuable resources for the team –provided they leverage
those resources with good communication and interaction.
are the charmers and visionaries. They get keep the human and emotional
side of the team going strong. There real value comes in making the
group produce better results than would come from the sum of its parts
Example leadership styles:
These are some broad sketches of leadership style. You may find
sometimes people follow a combination of these, or even cross styles.
That’s OK –as long as their methods fit the work environment,
personalities and goals of everyone involved.
The Hands-Off Leader doesn’t see the need to provide
feedback, continuous input, or scrutiny to their team. Usually there is a
good reason for this: they tend to work with highly-experienced and
functional groups. If the group doesn’t fit this mold, there will be
The Bureaucrat knows the rules
of the institution and has the team abide by them. When there are rigid
policies and guidelines in place, the Bureaucrat makes sure that they
are maintained and used to the best of their ability. This style can be
effective when there is little margin for error, but stifling in a
changing or evolving environment.
manages the direction of all goals and work, with little to no input
from the team. They have all the power to make decisions, and they use
it. They don’t worry about input, and do not leave room for subordinates
to sub-manage. This is a style most often used when a great deal of
scrutiny is necessary to have a successful end product, but can be
untenable in less clear-cut situations.
The Trainer works to develop the team members to make them
more efficient and stronger at their jobs. This leader focuses on the
increasing skills and success of his team to make success more likely.
They can foster a strong community feeling.
takes an indirect approach, motivating and encouraging the team toward
success. They have magnetic personalities and boatloads of charisma. The
Cheerleader/Coach tries to make people comfortable in their roles, but
if they leave, the team might end up in shambles.
The Democratic Leader
is a facilitator who encourages discussion and the free-flow of ideas.
The team expresses their ideas on the best course of action, the leader
studies the options and then chooses based on the input. This style
offers the group a strong sense of place and carefully measure
decisions, but can be slow to respond.
Learn about Autocratic Leadership here
Learn about Democratic Leadership here