What Kind of Leadership Hat Do You Wear?

Leadership, like everything else has become more encompassing. Today, with multiple generations working in one workplace, a technology explosion, significantly increased competition, and lower employee retention levels – the average employee now stays at a job 2.6 years – leadership is also demanding significant change. In the past, one leadership style was adequate, today, a variety of leadership styles should be used to maximize leadership effectiveness (Goleman).
Here are the six Leadership Styles… which one are you?

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1. COMMANDING:   The ‘do what I say approach’ from the Baby Boomer area is now rarely excepted. The only time it should be used is when you are in major crisis and only short term. Let’s face it… no one likes be ordered to do anything. Asking is a much better approach than those who bark out orders. And the same goes when one doesn’t perform. Wreaking ‘Holy terror’ is no longer acceptable in the workplace.

2. VISIONARY:   The leader states ‘the goals, objectives and vision for the future’ and allows people to choose how they will achieve it. Although this style works best with experienced employees, creating a vision, is a mandatory necessity for all leaders.

3. AFFILIATIVE:   The leader puts his ‘people first’. There is a high focus on giving praise which can build trust, loyalty and morale, which in turn creates strong teams, especially when trust has been broken.

4. PACESETTING:   The high performing leader leads the pack in promoting ‘high performance standards’. This style works well with experienced high performance teams, but can overwhelm those who are not as independently motivated. Feedback is rarely given by this leader, which can leave employees feeling lost and confused.

5. DEMOCRATIC:   The leader is about ‘group decisions’. Everyone has a voice. Nice to include everyone, and get buy-in, but if done all the time, you are likely to be slowed down by endless meetings, and some employees will feel their leader is unable to make decisions independently.

6. COACHING:   The leader is all about ‘employee personal development’. With this being a career request of most millennials, it is a very important leadership focus, especially in lowering retention levels, however, maximizing one’s personal and professional strengths and improving their performance, takes time and can only be done by those who want to focus on personal improvement. Some people are simply happy where they are.

The fact is that today’s leader must know and understand ALL of these Leadership styles and have a thorough understanding of which style works best, and when. The situation, the experience level, and attitude of the employees can all have a dramatic influence on the results. Leaders today must wear many hats. And more importantly know how each hat can be used most effectively.

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