Born leaders are a rare commodity. Others who attain success at the helm of organizations or business ventures likely have worked hard at getting where they are, studied diligently, and learned what not to do. When it comes to what leaders should do, there's no single right way forward. Styles of inspirational, caring leadership are both diverse and numerous. Here, we break down the top five types of leader. Which one will you be?
The Hands-off Handler
The type of leadership employed by this leader is also sometimes called laissez-faire leadership. Similar to its sibling term used to describe a style of governance, laissez-faire leadership involves far less interference or aid than other styles. It relies on those it leads to be empowered to execute the functions of their jobs and be highly self-reliant. The ideal group for such a leader is relatively senior, seasoned or highly skilled individuals who don't need direction and affirmation at every step (or even every week). This style is likely not to be a good fit for entry-level employees or those who thrive on regular boss check-ins and encouragement.
On the other end of the spectrum is the autocratic leader, who makes organization-affecting decisions alone and simply dictates commands to workers. But before you write it off completely as a style that's certain to get your photo pinned to the dartboard in the break room, know that this style of leadership does have its usefulness -- in the right time and place (for example, a crisis situation during which it is most expedient for everyone in the company to simply take and follow instructions). In the long term, however, it would be difficult to maintain successful autocratic leadership -- or keep your headshot off the bullseye.
The democrat is the ideal that most people probably think of when they consider great leaders. A sort of midway point between the hands-off handler and the autocrat, the democratic leader makes the decisions but first asks the team for opinions. While they may not ultimately 'side' with their employees every time, democratic leaders consider the input of those whom the choices will affect.
Here's another one that may spring to mind when you think of the word "leader." The visionary is the classic big-picture person who can captivate and enthrall with charm and charisma. They ask for and listen to their team's concerns and ideas and maintain frequent communication, which is a cornerstone of their management style. Visionaries are often at the C-suite level, where their innovative thinking and high-level plans for the organization instill optimism and energize the business.
The servant leader's motto is "Team first, self second." Similar to the democratic style, the servant leadership style takes into account the opinions and perspectives of team members before making decisions. But it goes deeper than that; the servant leader aims to foster trust and empower independent decision-making where appropriate. They aim to build a sense of community among the people they manage so that individuals are more inclined to be engaged with the work and more likely to innovate.
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