What Is Your Leadership Style?

So what is your leadership style…

leadership style refers to a leader’s characteristic behaviors when directing, motivating, guiding and managing groups of people.

Great leaders can inspire political movements and social change.

They can also motivate others to perform, create and innovate.

As you start to consider some of the people who you think of as great leaders.

You can immediately see that there are often vast differences in how each person leads.

Fortunately, researchers have developed a number of different theories and frameworks that allow us to better identify and understand these different leadership styles.

The following are just a few of the most prominent leadership frameworks and styles that have been identified.

Lewin’s Leadership Styles

In 1939, a group of researchers led by psychologist Kurt Lewin set out to identify different styles of leadership.

While further research has identified more distinct types of leadership.

This early study was very influential and established three major leadership styles.

In this study, schoolchildren were assigned to one of three groups with an authoritarian, democratic or laissez-fair leader.

The children were then led in an arts and crafts project while researchers observed the behavior of children in response to the different styles of leadership.

The researchers found that democratic leadership tended to be the most effective at inspiring followers to perform well.

Let’s take a closer look at the three styles Lewin identified:

Authoritarian Leadership (Autocratic)
Authoritarian Leadership

Authoritarian leaders, also known as autocratic leaders, provide clear expectations for what needs to be done, when it should be done, and how it should be done.

This style of leadership is strongly focused on both command by the leader and control of the followers.

There is also a clear division between the leader and the members.

Authoritarian leaders make decisions independently with little or no input from the rest of the group.

Researchers found that decision-making was less creative under authoritarian leadership.

Lewin also concluded that it is harder to move from an authoritarian style to a democratic style than vice versa.

Abuse of this method is usually viewed as controlling, bossy, and dictatorial.

Authoritarian leadership is best applied to situations where there is little time for group decision-making or where the leader is the most knowledgeable member of the group.

The autocratic approach can be a good thing when the situation calls for rapid decisions and decisive actions.

However, it tends to create dysfunctional and even hostile environments, often pitting followers against the domineering leader.

Participative Leadership (Democratic)
Participative Leadership

Lewin’s study found that participative leadership, also known as democratic leadership, is typically the most effective leadership style.

Democratic leaders offer guidance to group members, but they also participate in the group and allow input from other group members.

In Lewin’s study, children in this group were less productive than the members of the authoritarian group, but their contributions were of a much higher quality.

Participative leaders encourage group members to participate but retain the final say in the decision-making process.

Group members feel engaged in the process and are more motivated and creative.

Democratic leaders tend to make followers feel like they are an important part of the team, which helps foster commitment to the goals of the group.

Delegative (Laissez-Faire) Leadership
Delegative (Laissez-Faire) Leadership

Researchers found that children under delegative leadership, also known as laissez-fair leadership, were the least productive of all three groups.

The children in this group also made more demands on the leader, showed little cooperation and were unable to work independently.

Delegative leaders offer little or no guidance to group members and leave decision-making up to group members.

While this style can be useful in situations involving highly qualified experts, it often leads to poorly defined roles and a lack of motivation.

Lewin noted that laissez-faire leadership tended to result in groups that lacked direction where members blamed each other for mistakes, refused to accept personality responsibility, and produced a lack of progress and work.

There isn’t much debate about the idea that leadership style grows out of personality type.

Just as the unique gifts associated with each personality type contribute to society, they also contribute to the many different types of leadership needed to keep the world moving forward.

So, let’s take a moment to look at the different groups, what they are likely to offer by way of leadership skills and a few famous, archetypal examples for each.

Additional Leadership Styles

The Analyst Leader
Steve Jobs

The logical Analyst leader will create and adapt systems with an improved organization or product in mind.

Rationality is the guiding principle with such leaders.

They tend toward a “matter-of-fact” approach and will have little patience for anything too sentimental or not firmly rooted in logic.

As leaders, they often value inventiveness.

While some argue Steve Jobs was an example of an Explorer personality type, one could argue that his chief interest was in “building a better mousetrap” – a very Analyst trait.

Under his leadership, he not only brought new and exciting products to the marketplace, but Apple continuously tinkered with those products to make them better.

Analyst leaders often work in government agencies and in political offices.

Franklin D. Roosevelt is a prime example as he created programs, such as Social Security system and the WPA, to help end the Great Depression.

In a sense, FDR tinkered with the system that was United States to make a system that worked better for its citizens.

The Diplomat Leader
Martin Luther King

The visionary Diplomat leader will involve themselves with ideas and imaginings often linked to higher causes and values.

While they may be active in their organizations, they will shine more for their ability to inspire and to share a larger vision.

They look toward what the future can bring rather than the offerings of the past and present.

Social change leaders like Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela are obvious examples of Diplomat leaders.

In business and entertainment, one of the influential Diplomat leaders in the recent history was Walt Disney.

He brought us new experiences through entertainment and amusement parks that he not only intended to be fun, but they carried a moral message as well.

Even long after his death, they call Disney’s development department “Walt Disney Imagineering” and their employment website challenges potential candidates to “Create the Never-Before-Seen”.

The Sentinel Leader
Pope Francis

The responsible Sentinel leader will take care of business as an administrator who gets all the details right and handle things in a meticulous way.

They are likely to honor the past and be strict about rules and protocols.

These personality types work from a sense of responsibility for taking care of the greater good.

Sentinels see their leadership role as protecting and preserving society, some slice of it or an established tradition.

Pope Francis is a good example of a Sentinel leader.

In fact, by definition, most popes probably fit this bill as the chief pastor of the Catholic faith.

Their job is to care for their flock by applying the principles of their church.

Biographers say Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, leads with an eye constantly on the data and is not above getting his hands dirty over every detail of the enterprise.

Because of this focus, many consider him a Sentinel.

The Explorer Leader
Richard Branson

The agile Explorer leader is most likely to find quick solutions to any problems that arise and to take an organization in a new and exciting direction.

They don’t mind taking risks when they feel there’s a decent chance the risks might pay off.

They don’t care about how others have done things in the past – only what the next big thing is.

They are leaders oriented toward acting rather than planning and analyzing.

Richard Branson is an Explorer leader who started by creating Virgin Record Megastores which paved the way for creating over 400 companies under the Virgin banner.

Virgin’s current obsession is private space tourism for which the company is now testing spacecraft and has booked many celebrities.

His zeal for the new and the exciting is clear throughout Virgin’s history.

If you are interested in learning where your unique learning style fits, be sure to take this leadership style quiz to discover whether you tend to have an authoritarian, democrative or delegative style.

Simon Sinek on Leadership – TED2014

Here is a great article to read on: How Important Is Leadership In Business

Read my latest blog on: To Become a Great Leader You Must Know Yourself

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About Maria Barina

Maria Barina is a mother and grandmother who worked for the NYC Board of Education as Laboratory Specialist Bio/GS for 26yrs till the age of 56. Her husband, after 37 of marriage, passed away from Lung Cancer. She came to myEmpirePRO to seek guidance on how to get freedom that an online business can provide. Freedom to her is being able to do what she wants, when she wants to and to show others they can do the same to. Since she done that she is able to do this by working anywhere she goes and became a mobile-prenuer

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