What’s your leadership style?
What kind of leader are you? Take the quiz to find out!
What’s your leadership style?
If you have ambitions to lead – whether it be a sporting team, or managing a large corporation, understanding your leadership style can be an important step to guiding you to success.
As leaders, we all have a style that we tend to default to. It’s powerful to know what that style is, how it might play out in different scenarios, and how you can shape it to become more effective in your role.
What are some recognisable styles of leadership?
Autocratic: these leaders demand the best from themselves and from others. They are rigid, strict, and in control, frequently making decisions without team members’ input.
In today’s workplaces, this style is rarely effective, however sometimes necessary. For example, in emergency situations, an autocratic leadership style may be warranted. This style has its downsides. Sometimes team members do not feel valued, which can lead to low morale and minimal effort from the team.
Democratic: with this style, team members are encouraged to share their ideas, knowledge, experience, and opinions, before decisions are made which can help people feel valued. It also fosters creativity and teamwork.
A key risk with this style is that the decision-making process can be drawn out which results in quieter members of the team not sharing suggestions unless prompted. As a consequence, the leader may feel challenged to make decisions when it’s crunch time.
Delegative: this leadership style gives people the freedom to act and do things their way, guided by the boundaries and goals delegated within the task.
The downside of this approach is the risk that people can be working outside the culture of the organisation, or may not be living the values, which can cause friction.
If you have a team member who knows the culture and values, this can be a great approach to make them feel more valued.
Transactional: using this style, a leader will give their team members clear instructions and reward them for doing exactly what they are asked to do.
It may result in the bare minimum effort. There’s no reward for out-of-the-box thinking or problem-solving to make things more effective and efficient. This can frustrate team members who have more value to give.
Transformational: this leader is always working on improving or transforming the organisation. Team members are encouraged to innovate, solve problems, and find better ways of doing things as they complete assignments.
This can create a competitive environment as some people are more willing to take calculated risks and be more successful than others.
Others may not be comfortable with learning from failure and will take a more cautious approach to be seen as successful.
Servant: this style of leader prioritises the greater good of their team instead of their own objectives. They care about people and roll up their sleeves to help everyone be successful. They think of what will help everyone achieve their goals and foster a culture where people can flourish.
It takes leaders with great hearts and courage to imagine a future that’s better for everyone, and support people to play a part.
What’s your style?
Do some of these styles sound familiar? Do you recognise in these profiles some of the leaders you have seen in your career? Can you recognise your own style?
There are many “Leadership Style” quizzes available out there on the internet. Here is a simple one that you can complete in less than 10 minutes.
Once you have identified your default style, the opportunity to become more effective as a leader comes from recognising:
- The strengths and weaknesses of that particular style;
- The leadership scenarios when it can be effective and those where it may be ineffective.
Adjusting your style
A skillful leader has the ability to adapt their leadership style to suit the circumstances that they are operating in.
To do this they must consider the risk and timelines associated with the task, as well as the skills and maturity of the team.
The level of support and direction can then be tailored to suit. This approach, called Situational Leadership, was modelled by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard.
If you can learn to adapt your style to the situation at hand, you can become a powerful leader, and achieve great results with your team.
Further reading on Situational Leadership: The Four Leadership Styles of Situational Leadership® | CLS
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