Well, we are finally here – this is the final article in my Leadership Style Blog Series. In this post I will attempt to bring everything together in a summative discussion.
One of the key things to take away from this blog series is that although each individual leadership style should be considered in its own right, it is the leader’s ability to adapt and utilise each style to suit the situation that makes them an effective leader. Leaders have different personalities, different job roles, different staff, different knowledge, experience and skill-sets. Therefore, it would not be right to exit this blog series without putting this information into context and summarising how all these individual leadership styles interact and overlap.
There is no preferred leadership style
Throughout this blog series we have explored eight different leadership styles. I would like to make it clear that there is no single ideal leadership style that every leader should adopt. Similarly, there is no single leadership style that leaders should avoid using. Different people in different situations need to use the most appropriate leadership style to invoke the actions and outcomes that are required.
Different leadership styles should be used for different situations
Effective leaders have the ability to use different leadership styles in different situations. For example, if a member of staff is underperforming the leader may adopt a task-orientated leadership style to ensure the person has clarity and understands exactly what is expected of them. Similarly, if a leader enters a room and witnesses staff putting themselves at risk by using equipment in an inappropriate manner they may adopt an autocratic leadership style to take control of the situation to maintain the welfare of employees.
Even within a specific situation different leadership styles could be used
This adds yet another level to the notion of there not being a single preferred leadership style. Let’s look at the example used above for the underperforming staff member. A leader could approach this situation in many different ways: they could be autocratic and impose demands on the person; they could be task-orientated providing clarity; they could be relationship-orientated to gain a better understanding of the underlying issues; or they could adopt the approach of servant leader supporting the staff member to achieve their objectives. The style the leader adopts will be largely dependent on their personality, experience and the nature of the staff member being dealt with.
The leadership style is sometimes dictated by the nature of the job role
Certain leadership styles are frequently observed in different business sectors. For example, head chefs are typically seen barking autocratic orders at their staff in this deadline-ridden environment. Similarly, when it is literally a matter of life or death, military leaders will traditionally adopt an autocratic approach to leadership. However, take the example of Google where the majority of staff are highly skilled and highly motivated. At Google most staff follow a laissez faire leadership style where they have the freedom to work where they want, with whom they want and when they want. There are obviously exceptions to the rule but it appears that some leadership styles naturally align themselves with specific business sectors more than others.
Understanding the different leadership styles is essential
The majority of leaders with find themselves in a business sector that does not overly align with one particular leadership style. In this environment the leader will find themselves constantly jumping from one style to another as they address the ever changing obstacles of their typical workday. If a leader has a sound understanding of the different leadership styles that are available they will be in a better position to offer appropriate leadership to suit every situation. Knowing when and how to be supportive, instructional, caring, task focused and charismatic can greatly enhance a leaders overall effectiveness.
Where possible leaders should work to their strengths
The natural personality and past experiences of the leader will have a significant impact on their chosen leadership style(s). If you are fortunate enough to be born with bundles of confidence and charisma charismatic leadership will come naturally to you. Similarly, if you are a caring and supportive person you may feel more natural adopting a relationship-orientated approach to leadership. Good leaders work to their strengths but also work hard to develop the areas that do not come quite so naturally to them. Extending on from the previous point, it is essential to understand the different leadership styles but it is also essential to know what you do best and what you need to work on.
I sincerely hope you have found my Leadership Style Blog Series interesting and enjoyable to read and I encourage you to post comments where relevant and also explore some of my other articles by visiting my social responsibility blog. If you would benefit from a blog series on a different subject please let me know as I am always keen to write content that is relevant and helpful to my readers. If you missed any of the articles from this blog series you can view the full list of posts by clicking here.