Leadership Styles: Individualize Your Approach To Maximize Effectiveness By DrFrankLayman
While speaking at Hire Heroes the topic focused on leadership and professionalism in one of the following tracks – career, business leadership, entrepreneur. During my lecture, given the constraints of time, I could only discuss a few of the many leadership styles. One of the participants asked for an expounding of the topic and that was the motivation for this blog.
Leadership style refers to characteristics and behaviors exhibited when leading a team. Leadership style can influence performance and we should all strive to be the best leader we can so we can be as effective as we can. Great leaders can create great change, motivate performance, enhance creativity and innovation in others.
Early leadership style research
Leadership styles were first more formally defined in the late 1930s by a group of psychologists, the leader was Kurt Lewin.
If you want to truly understand something, try to change it. Kurt Lewin
His team studied youth leaders in activity groups and examined behaviors and discerned three leadership styles.
The autocratic style is one in which a single person takes control and makes decisions, directing others in his or her chosen course of action. Lewin’s team found that this was the most unsatisfactory leadership style with the youth groups.
In a democratic leadership style, one person takes control but is open to group input, often allowing the group to make decisions and collectively assign tasks. This leader guides rather than directs. This was the most popular leadership style in the youth groups and garnered the greatest positive response.
With the laissez-faire approach, the person in charge stepped back and did nothing. He or she provided no direction or guidance. The group was disorganized and unproductive.
Their research supports the idea that people aren’t just born leaders but can be trained to be leaders. They also recognized the influence that the team members had on a person’s leadership style. This is important and explains why some people are effective in some situations and not others as leaders.
In the 1970s, Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard introduced the concept of situational leadership meaning that a leader adapts his or her style to the situation. Situational leadership refers to when the leader of an organization adjusts his style to fit the developmental level of the team he is attempting to influence.
Leadership approaches can be influenced by the strength and personalities of the team. A strong team may require little or no guidance, yet another team may require more guidance and support.
Overtime other styles have been identified and written about.
Bureaucratic leadership, whose leaders focus on following every rule. The extreme of this is an agent see Milgram’s work on obedience
Charismatic leadership, in which leaders inspire enthusiasm in their teams and are energetic in motivating others to move forward. The extreme the only advance their selfish interests
Task-oriented leadership, whose leaders focus only on getting the job done. Results based leadership is good and can be folded into other styles
People-driven leadership, in which leaders are tuned into organizing, supporting and developing people on their teams.
Transformational leadership, whose leaders inspire by expecting the best from everyone and themselves.
Servant leadership was developed by Robert K. Greenleaf in 1970. The servant leader serves the people he/she leads, which implies that employees are an end in themselves rather than a means to an organizational purpose or bottom line.
Modern leadership characteristics:
Modern Leadership Perspectives
Daniel Goleman discusses six leadership styles, which he argues spring from different components of emotional intelligence:
Commanding: Leaders demand compliance.
Visionary: Leaders mobilize people toward a vision.
Affiliative: Leaders create emotional bonds to their team.
Democratic: Leaders build consensus through participation and interaction.
Pacesetting: Leaders expect excellence and self-direction from team members.
Coaching: Leaders develop people for the future and team member’s future.
The Transformational Leadership Style
Transformational leadership is often identified as the single most effective style. This style was first described during the late 1970s and later expanded upon by researcher Bernard M. Bass. Some of the key characteristics of his style of leadership are the abilities to motivate and inspire followers and to direct positive changes in groups.
Transformational leaders tend to be emotionally intelligent, energetic, and passionate. They are not only committed to helping the organization achieve its goals, but also to helping group members fulfill their potential.
There exists evidence of its effectiveness in promoting well being in the team and a higher performance and improved group satisfaction than other leadership styles tested.
The Transactional Leadership Style
Transactional leadership views the leader-follower relationship as a transaction. By accepting a position as a member of the group, the individual has agreed to obey the leader. In most situations, this involves the employer-employee relationship, and the transaction focuses on the follower completing required tasks in exchanged for monetary compensation.
One of the main advantages of this leadership style is that it creates clearly defined roles. People know what they are required to do and what they will be receiving in exchange for completing these tasks. It also allows leaders to offer a great deal of supervision and direction if it is needed. Team members may also be motivated to perform well to receive rewards. One of the biggest downsides is that the transactional style tends to stifle creativity and limits opportunity for a true win-win situation to develop.
The Situational Leadership Styles
The Situational Leadership style the leaders stress the significant influence of the environment and the situation on leadership.
The situational theory of leadership suggests that no single leadership style is most effective. Instead, it depends on the situation at hand and which type of leadership and strategies are best-suited to the task. According to the theory, the most effective leaders are those that are able to adapt their style to the situation and look at cues such as the type of task, the nature of the group, and other factors that might contribute to getting the job done.
Maintain an acute awareness of their innate leadership-related strengths and areas for development – critical skill sets in working in high-performing organizations
Conduct highly effective coaching conversations by understanding when a particular leadership style has a high probability of success and when it does not
Skillfully influence up, down and across the organization by knowing when to be “consistent” and when to be “flexible”
Create more productive teams/organizations by accelerating the development of individuals that are new to their role and/or are learning a new task
Develop engaged, committed employees by effectively recognizing and proactively addressing the dynamics of performance regression
Effectively drive behavior change and business results by communicating through a common, practical language of leadership
Situational leadership theory is often referred to as the Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory.
Hershey and Blanchard’s Leadership Styles
Hershey and Blanchard suggested that there are four primary leadership styles:
Telling (S1): This style involves the leader telling people what to do and how to do it.
Selling (S2): This style involves more back-and-forth between leaders and followers. Leaders “sell” their ideas and message to get group members to buy into the process.
Participating (S3): In this approach, the leaders offers less direction and allows members of the group to take a more active role in coming up with ideas and making decisions.
Delegating (S4): This style is characterized by a less involved, hands-off approach to leadership. Group members tend to make most of the decisions and take most of the responsibility for what happens.
Leadership and Maturity Levels
So how exactly do leaders and managers determine which style of leadership to use? The right style depends a lot on the maturity level (i.e. the level of knowledge and competence) of the individuals or group.
Hershey and Blanchard’s theory identifies four different levels of maturity
M1: Group members lack the knowledge, skills, and willingness to complete the task.
M2: Group members are willing and enthusiastic, but lack the ability.
M3: Group members have the skills and capability to complete the task, but are unwilling to take responsibility.
M4: Group members are highly skilled and willing to complete the task.
The Hershey-Blanchard model suggests that the following leadership styles are the most appropriate for these maturity levels:
Low Maturity (M1) – Telling (S1)
Medium Maturity (M2) – Selling (S2)
Medium Maturity (M3) – Participating (S3)
High Maturity (M4) – Delegating (S4)
The SLII Model
The Situational Leadership II (or SLII model) was developed by Kenneth Blanchard and builds on Blanchard and Hershey’s original theory. According to the revised version of the theory, effective leaders must base their behavior on the developmental level of group members for specific tasks. The developmental level is determined by each individual’s level of competence and commitment.
Enthusiastic Beginner (D1): High commitment, low competence.
Disillusioned Learner (D2): Some competence, but setbacks have led to low commitment.
Capable but Cautious Performer (D3):Competence is growing, but level of commitment varies.
Self-Reliant Achiever (D4): High competence and commitment.
SLII also suggests that effective leadership is dependent upon two key behaviors: supporting and directing. Directing behaviors include giving specific directions and instructions and attempting to control the behavior of group members. Supporting behaviors include actions such as encouraging subordinates, listening, and offering recognition and feedback.
The theory identifies four basic leadership styles.
Directing (S1): High on directing behaviors, low on supporting behaviors.
Coaching (S2): High on both directing and supporting behaviors.
Supporting (S3): Low on directing behavior and high on supporting behaviors.
Delegating (S4): Low on both directing and supporting behaviors.
The main point of SLII theory is that not one of these four leadership styles is best. Instead, an effective leader will match his or her behavior to the developmental skill of each team member for the task at hand.
Purpose Driven Leader
“The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.” – Robert F. Kennedy
Purpose-driven serve the purpose (the “something bigger”) the reason the organization exist. d
Decisions are made and actions are taken based on the purpose.. In other words, effective leaders align themselves with the purpose by doing this leaders run the avoid the risk of falling victim to pursuit of selfish interests and greed.
Man’s Search For Meaning Victor Frankl
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. Viktor E. Frankl
He who has a why to live can bear almost any how. Friedrich Nietzsche
Meaning takes place in progressively larger goals rooted in deeply held beliefs.
I believe the most important attribute for a leader is being principle-centered. Centering on principles that are universal and timeless provides a foundation and compass to guide every decision and every act. I’ve based my life’s work on promoting principles and teaching the power that resides in principle-centered leadership. Principles are not my invention; they are self-evident and are found throughout the world. If you look at all enduring philosophies, religions and thoughts, you will find principles such as integrity, compassion, trust, honesty, accountability and others at their core. I simply translated these principles into a framework of habits, which when followed with consistency and frequency transforms one’s character and allows one to earn the moral authority necessary for enduring leaderStephen Cove
Leader’s should pause to keep Integrity, Humility, and Generosity ever present in their encounters, approaches, and decisions.
Trust Based Leadership Style
This is a style I am advocating. It comes from the work of my friend Dr. Aneil Mishra and his wife Dr. Karen Mishra from their work Trust Is Everything and Becoming A Trustworthy Leader.
Trust based leaders are the ROCC to creating a trust based culture
Leaders create organizational climates in which people trust leaders, leaders trust their people, people trust each other and people trust themselves to use their judgement, make choices and act within the corporate intent. Trust advances productivity, innovation, and engagement in the team as it advances satisfaction and results.
What’s Your Learning Style?
As you can see, there are different ways to conceive of leadership styles. The leader’s personality and the teams’ personality also contribute to effectiveness and performance.
There are many leadership styles to utilizes. Personally my advice is to learn them and then learn your team. Know their heart and goals so that you can individualize your approach and maximize your effectiveness as a leader.
Your Leadership paradigm needs to be a part of your true inner self displayed in a way that it can be received without translation. DFL
The purer your Leadership is of sincerity, transparency, and truth the purer it will be received and responded to. DFL
Please also see my Blog Legacy of Leadership and considering investing in my Book
Success Through Logical Thinking
Author of: Contemplative Growth and Development; Daily Reflective Growth;
Reflections To Success; Success Through Logical Thinking