There is no one perfect way to lead a team. What works for one person or group might not work for another. This is because every individual and team is different, with their strengths and weaknesses. Some might work better under a more democratic leadership style, while others prefer a more autocratic approach.
However, certain leadership styles can be more effective in particular situations. Therefore, the best way to lead must be tailored to fit the specific situation and people involved. There are, however, four common leadership styles that tend to be effective in various cases. These are:
This style is characterized by a leader who is clear about what needs to be done and gives clear directions on how to do it. This can work well when there is a need for quick decision-making or when the team is new and needs guidance.
Some drawbacks of this style include the potential for the leader to seem bossy or unapproachable. It can also lead to a dependence on the leader, making it difficult for the team to function without them.
A relatable example of an authoritative leader is Madeline Wuntch from the popular television show Brooklyn Nine-Nine. A real-life example would be the late Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, known for his clear vision and distinct authoritative leadership style.
This style is more collaborative, with the leader involving the team in decision-making. This can help to build a sense of ownership and buy-in from the team. It can also lead to better decision-making as more perspectives are considered.
However, this style can take longer, as all team members must be consulted. It can also be challenging to reach a consensus, which can delay decision-making.
A relatable example of a participative leader is SMRT CEO Hoon Ping Ngien from Singapore, who emphasizes and is a firm believer in teamwork and active participation from employees. He believes that for optimal organizational performance and building an organization that lasts, a leader needs to engage the hearts and minds of staff, lead by example, and serve with passion and commitment.
This style delegates tasks and responsibilities to others, giving them the freedom to complete them as they see fit. This can be effective when working with experienced team members who know what needs to be done and how to do it. However, this style can lead to feeling uninvolved or unimportant. It can also lead to problems if tasks are not completed properly or on time.
A relatable example of a delegation-style leader is the famous CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk. He is known for delegating tasks and giving his employees the freedom to complete them as they see fit. This has enabled him to focus on the bigger picture and strategic decisions.
The transformational leadership style is focused on motivating and inspiring employees to achieve higher performance levels. This can be done by setting a vision and challenging team members to reach it. Transformational style can be effective in various situations as it can help employees feel more engaged and motivated.
However, this style can be challenging to maintain, as it requires a lot of energy and commitment from the leader. It can also be difficult to implement if the team is not receptive to change.
A relatable example of a transformational leader is Oprah Winfrey, known for her ability to inspire and motivate others. Another real-life example would be Mahatma Gandhi, considered one of the most transformational leaders in history.
Which leadership style is best?
There is no single answer to this question, as it depends on the specific situation and people involved. However, the four common leadership styles are effective in various situations. The best way to lead is to tailor the style to fit the specific situation and people involved.
For example, if you are leading a team of experienced professionals, the delegative style may be more effective. If you have a team with difficulty adapting or lacks motivation, the transformational style may be more suited in such cases.
It is also important to remember that leadership styles are not static. Leaders can and should adapt their styles to fit the specific situation. The best leaders are flexible and adaptable, able to switch between styles as needed.
Of course, these are just four of the many leadership styles out there. And while there is no one perfect way to lead, the best leaders are usually those who can adapt their style to fit the situation and the people they are working with.