Leadership comes in many styles and forms. The best leaders use a mixture of styles in order to achieve the best results and pull the best performance from each individual under their leadership.
The worst leaders tend to believe that they can only use one style to be effective. Unfortunately, their effectiveness and power dwindles as they continue to be resistant to any type of change. Three main types of leadership styles exist authoritarian, democratic, and delegative.
Authoritarian is a very strict leadership style. This type of leader believes they are correct regardless. In some cases, this style is essential, for example, during a crisis or emergency situation, such as dinner rush in a restaurant or a pending lawsuit in a corporation. During this time, the leader reacts through years of training to achieve the appropriate action from their underlings. These requests are made as a statement in a firm and assertive tone.
Sometimes, this style of management is mistaken for an aggressive style. However, aggressive leadership, including yelling and demeaning remarks, is unprofessional and not considered to be a valid style of management.
The Democratic style of leadership promotes an environment of mutual respect. Situations and resolutions are not put to a vote, but they are discussed by at least a few members of the team. As a leader, it is impossible for you to know everything all the time. Good leaders will rely on their employees because they have empowered and trained them to be successful in the business. Democratic leadership builds a team atmosphere in which all members feel ownership.
Delegating leadership can be dangerous to rookie leaders or leaders taking over an existing group. With this style of leadership, the leader must trust the members of his group to analyze situations correctly and decide on the proper solution. If you have properly trained the members of your group, then this is not a problem for you. However, if this is not your situation, the delegating style could be used to undermine your authority as the leader or to possibly remove you as the leader.
Regardless of the style of leadership that you use at any given time, you, as the leader, are responsible for all decisions made for your group, whether those decisions were made by you, your team or your individual team members.
Effective leaders have less stress and more success simply due to the fact that their leadership style empowers the individuals under them to learn, excel and perform, while ineffective leaders believe that they must do everything themselves in order for it to be done right.
By David Gallagher