A recent article from American Express explored seven common leadership styles, and it got us wondering; do you identify with a certain style, and does your perception match how your team would describe your leadership style? Let’s take a look at some of the most common leaders:
THE AUTOCRATIC LEADER
Their rhetoric: “Do as I say”
The article suggests that autocratic leaders generally believe that they know best. They are the dominant decision-maker; taking the lead with minimal or no input from the team around them.
Although this style seems outdated in the modern workplace, it may still have its relevance in certain situations. For example, the autocratic approach may be adopted when crucial, time-sensitive decisions need to be made and there is an expert who has the most technical knowledge on a topic.
THE AUTHORITATIVE LEADER
Their rhetoric: “Follow me”
This archetype is often illustrated as the visionary leader. Similar to the Autocratic Leader, the Authoritative Leader usually does not lack confidence or ability to set expectations. However, a key differentiator between the two is that this visionary leader will engage with and energize their team members. They don’t just issue blind orders and expect their team to follow them; they usually take the time to explain the reasoning behind the decisions they make.
THE DEMOCRATIC LEADER
Their rhetoric: “What do you think?”
This kind of leader usually asks their team for their input before making a final decision; heavily including their team members in the decision-making process. This approach often yields a positive response from team members as it instills and builds trust, demonstrating that everyone’s opinion is valued. Summarizing this type of leader, the article states that the “democratic leadership style gets people to do what you want to be done but in a way that they want to do it.”
THE LAISSEZ-FAIRE LEADER
Their rhetoric: “Do what you think you should do.”
You guessed it – this is the other end of the spectrum; the exact opposite of the Autocratic Leader. The Laissez-Faire Leader involves the least amount of oversight, leaving decisions up to the rest of the team. This leader can appear to be empowering as they trust their team to make their own decisions without their input or mentorship. However, taken to the extreme this leader can be deemed as one that is totally disengaged from their team. As with many things, there’s a balance to be struck.
Do you identify with any of these styles? Perhaps you’re a combination of a few styles, depending on the scenario? Leadership training can help identify what style you have, and it also demonstrates how you can leverage your style to boost employee engagement and productivity.