Leadership Styles & How They Affect a Workplace
Industries, organisations and companies might have different goals and functions, but what they all have in common is that they all have leadership structure. To run successfully, a business needs to adopt the best leadership style in management in order to reach business goals.
By understanding leadership and management styles, an organisation can create and implement guidelines for the type of managers best suited for you, which will lead to more engaged employees, lower turnover and better business outcomes.
Below are several different leadership styles that cover many industries in business and management. While there is no one style that is more effective than the other, there are different leadership styles suited for different workplaces.
Democratic Leadership Style
A democratic leader may be the one responsible for the final decision but not before they take into account the perspectives of the wider team. They often consult with their employees to get their thoughts and opinions in order to improve decision making and adopt a coaching management style to help individual employees grow professionally. This can help to keep a team engaged and all employees feeling valued. A democratic leadership style is commonly seen and used in smaller work environments but are always encouraged in larger, office environments.
In industries that involve office working environments, a participative leadership style that seeks to include all staff members in the decision-making process can increase employee’s motivation and productivity. However, the overall working process can be slowed down due to this inclusion. A participative leader also has the potential to adopt a collaborative management style where ideas are openly discussed about how to approach potential problems.
While a transformational leadership style is a form of democratic leadership and focuses on pushing employees to greater heights. A transformational leader will promote growth by pushing employees out of their comfort zones and consistently motivating and encouraging them to raise the bar. There needs to be realistic and clear expectations set in order to avoid employees feeling burnt out by constantly pushing themselves. Transformational leaders, when followed correctly, have the potential to individually increase employee engagement.
Autocratic Leadership Style
A common leadership style in corporate culture, autocratic leadership styles feature a top-down approach with leaders making the majority of the decisions. While a more authoritarian style may have a more controlling work environment, autocratic leaders are often appropriate for large companies that have large teams of employees in order to maintain productivity.
The word 'authoritarian' can have negative connotations but when applied to management styles, it means that the roles and expectations of employees are clearly defined. Teams are more supervised and leaders are given the authority to make decisions on behalf of team members. While a productive workflow can lead to greater output and reaching company goals, a company's culture under an authoritarian style can make employees feel dissatisfied with their workplace.
This style of autocratic leadership is viewed as more of a management style where employees agree to follow leaders in exchange for a transaction. In return for effort and compliance, employees are paid and rewarded making the transactional leadership style in labor-extensive work environments one of the most common.
Laissez Faire Leadership Style
With a laissez faire leadership style, leaders are only present when delegating work to team members. After that, employees are given a flexible level of freedom to control their workflow. This allows for more creative thinking, better management of time and a strong sense of trust between leaders and employees. Industries such as advertisement agencies and start-up companies commonly have a laissez faire approach to leadership.
Under this management style, employees have less constraints and more freedom to approach their specific tasks. Qualities such as problem solving, innovation, creativity and teamwork are all fostered to increase employee engagement with their work and the organisation as a whole. The only time a leader will intervene is assigning work and reviewing which has the risk of losing productivity if work is assigned to an underperforming employee.
This leadership style is all about leaders setting goals and mobilising their team towards the execution of that vision. They also fill a role model position and choose to lead as an example in order to get the most out of the team. These leaders are generally hands-off but remain involved in the working process from start to finish to provide constructive criticism and motivation. This leadership and management style, while it can increase employee engagement, is largely industry-specific like tech companies and those where innovation is required.
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