Leadership styles are just as unique as the people who employ them. Everybody knows that, but when it comes to leadership styles, it also varies according to the situation the leader is facing.
Effective leadership does not mean one leadership style for all eventualities. In fact, being able to change your leadership style to fit the situation you are dealing with will enable you to respond more quickly to both threats and opportunities. If you can identify the leadership style that you are using you will be able to maximise your chances for success and long-term achievement.
Most people develop their leadership styles by taking training, mentoring, and gaining experience they need to effectively manage their teams. On a daily basis, a leader’s style should be adapted to the situation at hand; this approach will enable you to take the greatest advantage of all your available resources, tools, and methods to engineer a positive outcome.
The desire to avoid conflict and establish consensus among team members are two good reasons to choose participative leadership methods. If you want to develop personal relationships, show caring for the feelings of others and motivate them by encouraging involvement, the participative leadership style is the best to use. This style is also excellent when you want to empower employees by encouraging group decision-making. This method also tends to improve employee morale, job satisfaction, and reduces employee absenteeism and attrition.
If you think you should try something new in order to ensure your company’s continuing success, transformational leadership methodologies might be what you need. For example, if your team needs to try other problem solving methods, conducting exercises and workshops might be just what you need to promote innovative thinking. Innovative thinking can lead to the solving of issues relating to customer satisfaction, defects in products and process delays. A transformational leadership style will enable you to present your employees with a clearer vision of where the company is going and helps them to see past their objections. This approach also helps to establish you as a good example, which can transform an organisation and lead to long term prosperity.
Transactional leadership methods focus on the accomplishment of daily goals. This approach enables your subordinates to get their work done more efficiently. The process of establishing realistic goals, assigning the most qualified personnel and allocating sufficient funding creates a stable environment. With a transactional leadership style you give clear directions that your team can follow and as a result create an environment conducive to growth and development.
There are occasions when it will be important to adopt an autocratic leadership style. Autocratic leadership is appropriate during emergencies and crises; it is a leadership style that ensures tasks are completed safely and efficiently. Even if you would prefer to use other methods in such situations, the autocratic form is often the best since you don’t usually have the time to follow other leadership styles.
As CEO, you will be best placed to recognise your own leadership style from those discussed above and to assess in practical terms the potential for the other leadership styles. To answer the question posed in this blog post title: yes, you should change your leadership style to achieve growth. Your objective should be to become a leader who is capable of using different leadership styles in different situations because this is the path to success. In the words of Carla Dodds:
“As a leader it is important to have the flexibility to adjust your style to the audience you are leading.” – Carla Dodds
by Miles Welch
Partner at Waypoint Partners