10 Leadership Styles in 2020—What Works and What Doesn't
We’ve all seen demonstrations of great leadership.
Sometimes it’s because we’ve had a great leader, and other times it’s because we’ve had a boss that is the perfect example of what not to do. Everyone develops their leadership style throughout their career, and no two leaders are the same. It’s even common to represent multiple leadership styles throughout time, during different situations, and at different levels in an organization. So, everyone has different leadership styles, but what works?
WHAT EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP LOOKS LIKE
Instead of the corporate hierarchy, great leadership involves social influence. Anyone in an organization can be a leader. Leadership is the art of motivating people to meet a common goal, which can be achieved by all employees regardless of their position or title. Effective leadership involves adaptability in the face of different situations and obstacles. Great leaders have a wide toolbelt of skills that they can utilize to achieve their goals, their organizations goals, and help their employees achieve their goals.
It’s important not to confuse leading with managing. Managing involves the act of managing people, while leadership is so much more. Effective leaders are great communicators and motivators. They are passionate individuals that inspire action in their employees, support their team, and instill confidence in others. How leadership looks may vary based on the person, organization, and organization’s culture, but at its core, effective leaders possessive similar skills and behaviors.
TYPES OF LEADERSHIP STYLES
- Pros: Can be beneficial in organizations with strict compliance guidelines or when employees require a lot of supervision
- Cons: Can hinder creativity among employees and make them feel restricted
- Pros: Works well in environments where employees are experienced and require minimum oversight; Can provide flexibility to employee work schedules
- Cons: Can lead to decreased productivity if employees are unclear about their leader’s expectation or require consistent motivation
- Pros: Allows employees to feel heard and as if their contributions matter; Often leads to a higher level of employee engagement and workplace satisfaction; Great for creativity and innovation
- Cons: Because input is sought out, it can lead to a delay in decision making; On the flip side, it can leave employees feeling uncertain if their leaders need to make a quick decision and do not consult with them first
- Pros: Very effective in highly regulated environments, such as government and finance
- Cons: Limited collaboration and creativity
- Pros: Advantageous for employers and employees; Sets clear expectations for employees; Promotes a positive and motivating work environment
- Cons: Time-intensive on behalf of the employees and the leaders
- Pros: Great for inspiring employees and motivating them to get out of their comfort zones
- Cons: Is likely not to work well when employees require more supervision; Can lead to a gap in learning for employees if they don’t receive proper coaching
- Pros: Drives teams and organizations to achieve their goals; Sets clear expectations for employees roles and responsibilities
- Cons: Does not promote creativity among employees; Can encourage employees to complete the bare minimum
- Pros: High levels of employee morale and employee engagement
- Cons: It may take longer to make decisions and leaders may be seen as not having formal authority to get the job done
- Pros: Effective for driving fast results
- Cons: Does not work well for employees who need mentorship; Can lead to a stressful work environment
- Pros: Fosters innovation and creativity; Most effective for fast-growing organizations and organizations looking to restructure
- Cons: Less emphasis on the small details and day-to-day operations; Lack of accountability amongst employees
WHAT LEADERSHIP STYLE WORKS FOR ME
There tends to be some overlap between styles of leadership, so it’s not uncommon to feel drawn towards a combination of different leadership styles. Personally, I’m a fan of democratic leadership, visionary leadership, transactional leadership, and Laissez-Faire leadership. That may seem like a lot, but hear me out.
On a day-to-day basis, I would prefer to work with a democratic leader. I thrive in an environment when I’m working with a leader who values my opinion and on a team that fosters collaboration. When starting new projects or initiatives, visionary leaders help to set to tone and establish a vision that I can use as a source of inspiration. I’m also performance-focused, so transactional leadership works well when I’m focusing on a deadline or a big project. This is also where Laissez-Faire leadership comes into play. If I’m asked to get something done, and I’m clear on the goal at hand, I’m entirely comfortable with a hands-off approach, so I can put my head down and concentrate.
Does wanting all of this mean that I’m asking for the perfect leader? I don’t think so. We all react and adapt to situations differently, so I believe the same is true for leaders. How they act and lead, day-to-day may be different from how they work and lead under pressure. While most leaders are likely to have a dominant style of leadership, it’s fair to say that they can grow and adapt based on what works for their team and their organization.
Before you start a new job, or start working with a new team, ask the manager what style of leadership they use when leading their team. This is a great way to get a feeling for how they handle their daily operations vs. stressful deadlines. There is no right or wrong leadership style. There is a time and place for every type. Take the time to learn what works for you as an employee and what style serves you best as a leader.