A wise man said, “Leadership is an action, not a position”. Good leadership takes conscious effort. A great leader has the ability to recognize the hidden potential in his followers and lead them to fully explore and exploit their talent. Depending on the kind of leader you are, this can be achieved through various ways. You can dictate your followers, manipulate them, or inspire them. Depending on your individual style, let’s find out what kind of leader are you!
Are your workers and followers doing most of your work? If they are, you are following a Laissez-Faire approach. You just ‘let it be’! You’re a laidback leader. Easygoing and mellow, you might also be very popular among your followers because you give them as much space as they demand. This approach works favorably if your team consists of creative artists and designers.
You are exceptionally flexible. This also indicates your inability to designate well-defined roles which may lead to confusion at times. This can be especially disastrous if your workers are not experts in their respective fields.
No leader deliberately wants to waste time and resources due to bad planning, uninformed decisions, or out of plain laziness. But if you find yourself in the said situation, time and time again, then you are a Laissez-Faire leader. Don’t feel bad though. It worked for Steve Jobs!
This is historically the most popular approach. It is the complete opposite of the Laissez-Faire approach. If you are inspired by the leadership qualities of kings and monarchs, give no credit to your workers’ opinions, allow no one to question your authority, and are not very popular among your employees, you are an Autocratic leader! Most unpopular leaders throughout the history had followed this approach to get their goals. All tyrants and dictators come under this category. Hitler is a good example.
You might not care about the public opinion but even if you do, don’t let your unpopularity discourage you. There are advantages of being authoritative too. When it comes to handling large-scale projects, you might be the perfect leader. If your team consists of workers who prefer working under your complete control, demand close inspection and strict deadlines, they might actually like the way you lead. You will get error-free outcomes most of the time.
If you are good at motivating your workers through the promise of reward or punishment, you are a transactional leader. These leaders understand human psychology of working in anticipation of reward or punishment. A transactional leader can manipulate his workers into obeying his orders agreeably without appearing to be too authoritarian.
A team of workers under a transactional leader is strictly supervised. Group performance is monitored and works steadily towards a goal. The leader keeps a sharp eye on day to day progress, and implements clear and well-defined structures, roles, and goals. He keeps teams on track and never settles for anything less than perfect.
Under your transactional leadership, productivity is maximized. You do limit and repress creativity and artistic freedom though. All religious leaders have followed the same approach.
Do your workers find you to be very inspirational? Are they actually happy to follow your lead? Do you exhume vision, confidence and courage? Is your energy infectious? Yes? Then you are an extraordinary leader. Transformational leaders are also known as ‘Quiet leaders’. They believe in setting examples instead of just ordering around. They have the courage to keep empathy and understanding even in the professional field.
If you belong to this category, you too are able to take great risks in order to achieve great goals. Passion drives you and you are known to have very unconventional standards at the workplace. Your vision goes beyond your personal incentives. Workers can depend on you as you raise their morale and motivation, resulting in what is best for you and your team.
All famous revolutionaries were transformational leaders. They leave long term effects on their followers and the established systems. Inspiration gets done what dictation cannot.
A participative leader is a believer in democracy, consultation, empowerment, joint decision-making, and management by objective. He keeps everyone from subordinates to the major stakeholders involved, engage the workers in discussions, and ask for their opinion. This helps in teambuilding. If you have these qualities and you are a participative leader, you must be very well-respected by your followers.
Your workers put a lot of trust in your judgment because you invite and respect their opinion. Since they are always a part of the final decision, and remain actively involved throughout the process, they feel more committed to deliver their best. This leadership style can work in your favor if you have a very capable team but if you have a weak team, this can mean chaos.
Your leadership style can depend on many factors like the nature of work, your team’s motivation, and even cultural codes. Different objectives need different kinds of leadership. Take into account your project’s, company and team’s specifications and demands and then decide on an approach that can benefit all of the subjects involved.