To lead effectively, you have to strike the difficult balance between communication and accountability. Different situations call for different leadership approaches, depending on corporate needs, objectives and available resources. Ultimately the goal of any leader is to get results. Here’s a list of the various common leadership types.
The autocratic dictator is the one of the most common types of leaders. The autocrat’s approach is to make unilateral decisions without asking for suggestions from other members of the group. Such totalitarian leaders have the advantage of saving time and receiving little oppositions as they seek solutions. The classic example of autocratic leadership is seen in the governments of countries like North Korea, which control their citizens through force and fear. Used positively, this type of approach is helpful to tighten up companies that are suffering from inefficiency or a lack of discipline.
The Laissez-Faire Leader
This type of leader is the opposite of the autocrat: employees are given a lot of freedom and leeway to work as they see fit. The laissez-faire leader rarely monitors employees and does not get feedback or updates on a regular basis. The style can be advantageous for companies that aim to harness individual leadership skills and encourage initiative among employees. The laissez-faire approach can result in time savings and better intra-office relationships, but only in companies with efficient, honest workers that require little supervision. Over time, leaders still need to follow up on the employees or they may sacrifice efficiency, productivity and affordability.
The Motivational Leader
A motivational leader helps to bring out the best in everyone. By taking the time to get to know each member of the organization, this type of leader gets to study employee’s strengths and weakness and develop strategies for taking advantage of them. This approach leads to good communication throughout the different levels of an organization. Employees get to share their feelings, thoughts and ideas, and so feel empowered and satisfied. A motivational leader is perfect in sales organizations or companies that are in need of a creative spark—or a jolt of enthusiasm.
The democratic leader values every member of the organization and seeks to make each group member feel content and useful. A democrat participates in tasks while respecting and acknowledging the suggestions and contributions of other workers. This approach generally leads to team efficiency and happy employees. Note that while members of the group participate in the planning and decision-making process, the leader makes the final decision based on all available information.
The gratifier follows the old carrot-and-stick approach. Such a leader sets goals and then offers relative rewards depending on the contribution and achievements of members. If an employee or department performs poorly, there may be punishments or penalties. One benefit of this traditional management strategy is that it’s possible to initiate competitions within the workplace that often lead to improved—even transcendent—performance.
An innovator is creative and dynamic, adapting quickly to change and spearheading explosive growth. An innovative leader is aware of new developments in the marketplace and is always listening to other team members, on the lookout for fresh ideas and solutions. The best thing about the innovator’s approach is that the lead-by-example creativity inspires other employees to explore, expand and come up with new concepts of their own. This type of management strategy is particularly effective for tech, media and other idea-driven businesses.
Your company’s current needs and goals may dictate the most effective management approach. Be flexible, and respond to changing circumstances or personnel by varying that approach as needed. It’s also wise to tailor your style of management to the capabilities and personalities of your company leaders.