What Type of Leader Are You?

Leadership fascinates me.

Whether you’re in a large organisation or a small one, manage teams of people or don’t manage anyone – leadership is essential.

Without leadership, whatever you’re trying to do won’t go anywhere.

And, like the topic of success, which we covered over the last six months, there are many definitions of leadership.

In fact, the answer to “what does leadership mean?” will be heavily influenced by your leadership style.

Put “leadership style” into Google, and you’ll get quite a few different types pop up. They all have pros and cons but, in my opinion, some work better than others.

Let’s take a look at some common leadership styles and how they work, and then I’ll introduce you to my favourite style – servant leadership.

Leadership Styles That Just Don’t Work

We’ll start with the leadership styles I’d recommend avoiding because, in my experience, they just aren’t effective!

Autocratic Leadership

This is a classic military leadership style. As an autocratic leader, you make the decisions without any input or feedback from any of your direct reports.

It’s top-down leadership and, if you have a boss like this, it’s not much fun.

You get dictated to, and decisions are made, which affect you, but you have no say in.

Unsurprisingly, it doesn’t create a great culture and has a negative impact on your employee retention!

Bureaucratic Leadership

There is a place for processes and policies in business, but bureaucratic leaders can take their application too far.

Unlike autocratic leaders, they may get input from their team. However, if feedback or suggestions don’t fit with company policy or how things were done in the past, they won’t be taken on board.

This style of leadership can be found in older, more traditional businesses – i.e. Government organisations.

While better than autocratic leadership in that employees get a say, rigid adherence to strict policies and processes stifles innovation.

This is particularly problematic when trying to operate in the current market where innovation and agility critical for an organisation’s survival.

Laissez-Faire Leadership

Delegate, step back and let your team go for it.

While this style of leadership gives a lot of freedom and autonomy, it is a bit lazy!

And, with everyone free to do what they want, how they want to do it, you’re likely to end up in chaos!

Effective Leadership Styles

In comparison, several leadership styles do work and successfully motivate and inspire teams and organisations to achieve great things. Here are three of them:

Democratic Leadership

This one is pretty obvious! You get everyone’s input and then you, as the leader, make the final call.

Excellent for employees, they always get a say and feel like they have some control and input over decisions and directions.

The downside is getting agreement from everyone can be difficult and time-consuming, and not the best process if you have to make quick decisions.

Transformational Leadership

If you’re this type of leader, you’re always pushing your team to do better and do more.

Goals and targets are the focus and continuing to drive people out of their comfort zone and help them see what they’re capable of is a key trait. Another trait is the ability to inspire, empower and motivate people towards a common goal.

This can help drive significant growth, both in your company and your team. However, you can lose sight of supporting your employees’ specific individual needs, and the constant change and disregard for “the way things have always been done” can upset a few people!

Coach-Style Leadership

Think of a sports team and how the coach teaches, supports, and helps each member succeed in their own specific areas. The coach then creates a team from this collection of talented individuals, which is greater than the sum of its parts.

The coach-style leader operates exactly the same way, building a team within an organisation that has excellent communication, works well together, and allows people to play to their strengths.

My Style – Servant Leadership

I’ve spent a lot of time leading and being led. I’ve also researched, read and listened to some of the foremost experts in the field of leadership.

And, for me, the leadership style I am most in tune with and what I aspire to be, each and every day, is a servant leader.

Servant leadership can be summed up as two steps, “serve first and lead second.”

When done well, it creates a strong team and culture where everyone feels trusted and empowered.

It’s how I choose to lead Attain and this style of leadership, I feel, has been instrumental in our growth and the amazing culture that we have.

However, it’s not an easy leadership style to emulate. It’s challenging and involves always putting my own needs and wants behind that of my team.

Conclusion

Leadership is a massive area of interest for me and a critical part of any organisation.

There are so many different types of leadership styles, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

We’ve looked at a few that don’t tend to work so well – particularly in a fast-paced, ever-changing world – and some that are effective in helping teams achieve success.

Of all the different styles, servant leadership is the one that resonates the most with me.

Over the next few month’s we’re going to look at servant leadership in more detail – what is and what it’s not, how to be a servant leader, and the incredible impact it will have on your company’s culture.


Sharn Piper – CEO
M: +64 27 733 4333
E: sharn@attainnz.com

Having successfully led numerous sales teams, built multiple successful businesses I know what it takes to create a sales process that is robust, repeatable and produces consistent results when applied in a consistent way.

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