Different leadership styles
Apr 27, 2019
Farah Henley

Teams that work efficiently and effectively together and overcome obstacles under pressure and deadlines fascinate me. I always wondered about the key factors that impact the overall collaboration and motivation of such teams: their goal, team’s product and leadership factor. In this article I will focus on different types of leadership and their impact on the team. Here are 3 different leadership styles I’m exploring.

Crossing over

Authoritarian/Autocratic style

The manager is fully responsible for the delivery of the work that s/he assigned to the staff they picked; hence the control the delivery. Everyone is told exactly what needs to be done and how it should be done. Leader can make quick decisions without team’s input and hence make quick changes as a result. Team has to do exactly what the leader tells them to do and nothing more. Team’s motivation for contribution is managed by transactional behaviors like punishment and rewards and evaluation against the expectation that the leader set.

Democratic/Participative style

Participative leaders use friendship factor to create a bonding, belonging and ownership environment for their team. They treat their team with the same respect, patient and understanding they would treat their family or friends. Participative leaders boost the team’s morale by forming the common goal based on everyone’s input. They encourage participation with incorporating everyone’s buy-in when decisions are made; but it’s important to mention that the decision is finalized by the leader. This type of leadership helps the leader with new perspective and fresh ideas. However it’s easy to lose track of a solid definite direction or common goal when using participative leadership.

An honorary mention is the concept of servant leadership which I believe is a form of participative leadership. A servant leader is there to serve the team based on empathy and the team is there to help reach the common goal. A strong culture can be built when the servant leader leads by example based on trust and respect for the team.

Freedom leadership

Freedom leaders point their teams towards the common goal by helping only at times they are needed. They fully trust the team to perform freely. This leadership style is the best fit for teams of experts in their field who don’t require support or regular feedback.

Overall I believe proper leadership is the foundation of high performing teams. Successful teams have leaders that enable trust and collaboration; instead of fear and oversight. Good leaders I have encountered in my career are those who use a combination of different types of leadership at different times. This can be customized to the specific team or situation. In future blogs I will describe my personal experience with an amazing leader. At the end of the day the art of leadership has foundation in expertise and is improved over years of experience.