What Is My Leadership Style?
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re in some type of leadership position or are about to make a transition into one. This also means that you make sure that you’re doing a good job at it, which is a great start to becoming a great leader.
To be the best leader that you can be, you first have to learn what sort of approach you want to take to your leadership role. So, what is leadership style? Which style is most effective? Which style will suit you best? How can you get people to follow you in your quest of building a successful business?
If you’re interested in finding out what leadership styles are out there and which one you believe will really fit you, take a look at these examples of a few different leadership styles and how you can use them to inspire your team to do their best.
Know That Leadership Style Is Not Synonymous with Management Style
Before we get too deep into different leadership styles, we need to clear something up. Do you know what is the difference between leadership and management? Though they are similar and your leadership style can certainly influence the way that you manage, there are some key differences between leadership and management.
When we’re talking about management, we are talking only about a person’s ability to manage a group of people or entities to work towards a specific goal or goals. This is reserved primarily for use only in the workplace and isn’t a term used in a real-world application.
On the other hand, leadership is a person’s ability to influence and motivate a group of people to work toward a goal. Anyone can have leadership qualities and abilities regardless of their standing at work.
Many people are considered “born leaders,” or people with natural leadership qualities and abilities that seem to just be a part of their personality. When you think about a “natural leader,” who comes to mind? Maybe it’s one of your business idols, your favorite past boss, or even a prominent figure in history.
Many of these leaders weren’t necessarily managers, right? Similarly, a good leader doesn’t have to be a manager.
It also may come as a relief that leadership abilities can be learned and harnessed over time. You can practice to become a good leader.
What Does Good Leadership Look Like?
No matter what your unique leadership style is, there are still a few things that every good example of leadership has in common that you need to master before you can identify what your leadership type is.
Let’s take a look at what good leadership looks like on paper and in practice so that you have a strong foundation before figuring out what style you want to make your own.
Ethical Leadership Is Essential
You might already be familiar with what is ethical leadership but did you know that you can’t be a good leader without making sure that you’re an ethical leader.
Ethical leadership is an approach that ensures that everyone is safe and respected. It’s a leadership necessity if you want to have a network or company that trusts you and appreciates your leadership abilities. Trust and following an ethical code that values the people you are leading is essential to building healthy relationships with those people.
You can’t lead if you have no followers, and followers need a leader with ethics.
Your Leadership Should Be Strategic and Purposeful
Do you know what is strategic leadership? No matter what your style, your leadership needs to be strategic and purposeful. A leader has to enter the picture with a very specific goal in mind and an intentional way of leading.
Even those “natural leaders” that we love talking about have to put in work to hone their skills. Strategic leadership is leadership with a direction, a goal, and a plan. Your leadership style is just your personal way to get there.
Knowledge of How and When to Implement Different Leadership Styles
Lastly, you need to become a sort of jack-of-all-trades when it comes to leadership styles. There are specific instances that will require certain styles of leadership since each person and circumstance is different. This is why it’s important for you to learn about all of these different styles of leadership, which is what you’re here to do.
So now, let’s get into the main styles of leadership that you can use to your advantage.
The Main Styles of Leadership
Though there are many different styles of leadership and not all of them fit within these guidelines, there are five main leadership styles that most people tend to follow.
Let’s just take a minute to go over the five main styles of leadership, what they entail, and what they look like in practice.
Autocratic Leadership Style
An autocratic leadership style is a very straightforward style of leadership that sets clear expectations and has well-defined roles.
An autocratic leader is a different type of leadership that uses a direct approach. They often believe that they are the most knowledgeable person in the room. This type of leader has control over pretty much every decision with little to no input from others, then tells their followers what they need to do.
Though this used to be the standard leadership style in years past, it’s no longer the one that you will find predominantly in workspaces today, as it doesn’t create a very collaborative environment.
An authoritarian leadership style, also known as a transformational leadership style, takes a different approach. Instead of coming up with the plan alone and implementing it in direct ways, you do more of a leading job.
This style puts you in the position of a “visionary leader,” rather than just a person who tells others what to do. You share your vision with your team or people and then empower them to follow you to familiar goals. The authoritarian leader is known to improve morale and add a better level of relationships within the group.
Democratic or Participative Style
The democratic leader, or participative leader, is a different leadership style that is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a leadership style that encourages participation and active engagement from everyone involved in the group or project.
All parties present will help make decisions together. The democratic leadership can effectively improve morale, allowing everyone to feel important in the process and helping them have a vested interest in the situation.
Laissez-Faire or Delegative Style
Are you familiar with what is a laissez faire leadership? The laissez faire style of leadership is the complete opposite of the autocratic style.
The laissez faire leadership style is a very hands-off approach to leading. If implemented correctly, the laissez faire leadership style allows your team to see that you trust them by allowing them to spread their wings and that you are there if they need you.
How to Figure Out What Your Leadership Style Is
How can you figure out which of these leadership styles best reflects you and your abilities?
Here are a few tips to help you figure out just which leadership style is right for you to implement in not only the workplace, but in your daily life as well.
The most important trait of a leader’s personality is that they know exactly who they are. This is why, to find your leadership style, you first need to know yourself.
Figure out your strengths and your weaknesses. Do you feel the need to be in control of everything, making all of the decisions? Or do you value collaboration and relationships with your community above all else?
Knowing which of these feels the most true about you is the key to figuring out your leadership style. Also, it’s important to understand that you can use different leadership styles for different circumstances. For example, you may generally lead democratically, but when tough decisions need to be made or emergencies arise, you may resort to a more autocratic style of leadership to get your team through with minimal damage.
If you’re a naturally laid-back leader, attempting an autocratic style of leading will feel awkward and unnatural. Be genuine and honest with yourself and your community or employees.
Don’t try to force a brand new personality on yourself at one time. Keep it real with yourself and the rest will fall into place.
You should always lead from a place of honesty. If you expect honesty from your employees, you have to, quite literally, lead by example and show them that you’re honest with them, too.
Get Leadership Training From a Leader in Business
If you want to know for sure what your leadership style is and how you can best use it to your advantage, it’s best to seek out some professional guidance. A business-consulting company like Maui Mastermind can provide everything that you could possibly need to learn how to develop your leadership skills.
They will help you focus on your strengths while helping fill in the gaps with any weaknesses you may have to ultimately make you a successful and effective leader.
Understanding Your Leadership Style Is the Key to a Successful Business
If you’re going to be running a business, it’s safe to say that you need to be an effective leader. It’s essential to learn your leadership style to inspire and lead your team to success.