A leadership style is something that you can learn, but it should feel natural to your personality too. While most people focus on what type of leader they want to be, this article identifies the leadership style of your boss.
It will also help you be aware of, the conflict that arises when the person you work for doesn’t align with who you are.
Just like personality tests allow you to identify careers that play to your strengths, this list of leadership styles will help you assess which type of leader lights you up and which one brings you down.
There are 8 generally agreed on leadership types. Try to see which one your boss falls under.
1. The Coach
When you have a Coach as a boss, he or she quickly recognizes each team members strengths, weaknesses and motivations. This leadership type is all about setting and reaching goals. He or she wants to help you excel and will advise you on what you should do.
Being a coach takes time and an investment in people that most supervisors don’t have time for or want. The coach leadership style is one of the most effective ways to lead, but it can also be a lot of work. If you are working for a coach, learn to appreciate the time and effort he or she is giving the team.
This leadership style is great for teams that have clear goals, i.e. sales, manufacturing, supply chain. But the Coach is not a fit for teams that are more autonomous and have many functions in one team.
2. The Visionary Leadership Style
Visionary leaders have a powerful way of bringing new ideas to the table without alienating the old guard. A visionary is successful because people trust him or her to do what is best for the organization. They are usually passionate and stick to their way of doing things, despite other people’s uncertainty.
This leadership is a big plus for small, fast-growing companies (startups), or large companies undergoing a massive corporate restructuring. Visionaries hold steady in the wake of change and people are happy to have the solid leadership.
If you have this type of boss, make sure you agree with the vision or at least withhold your judgment. Visionaries, while exciting and innovative, get miffed at people who don’t see the potential greatness that changes could bring. Go with the flow or get out of the way.
3. The Servant
Servant leaders are among the most respected leader type. They put people first and refuse to ask anyone to do something they wouldn’t. They believe that when their team members feel personally and professionally fulfilled, they’re more effective at their jobs.
There is a feeling of collaboration and we all matter on this team. You’ll find this leader style in service organizations such as non-profits or education, and sometimes government. If your team has good morale and is focused on service, your boss is likely a servant leader. He or she regularly asks for honest feedback on how to improve the services and products the team offers.
4. The Authoritarian (Autocrat)
Results and efficiency matter to this leadership style. These type of leaders are not interested in hearing what the team has to say. They rely on a small group of advisors who then carry out instructions for the rest of the team. This is a top-down leadership style that resembles the military.
While many people do not enjoy this type of chain-of-command environment, it is useful for companies that have strong compliance needs or many workers who have no experience and need a heavily supervised workplace.
If you are a creative or collaborative employee, stay away from this leadership style. It will crush your soul. If you are having surgery, this kind of work environment ensures that your surgeon has gone over the operation’s rules and processes thoroughly.
5. Laissez-faire or hands-off Leadership
This leadership style is the anti-autocratic. They fancy themselves as laidback. Their biggest claim to fame is delegating as many tasks as possible to team members and providing little to no supervision. In theory, because a laissez-faire leader is not managing people, he or she can work on other projects. In reality, he or she can be lazy or be seen as lazy.
This leadership style can work for a team who is experienced and wants to be left alone. But this type of leadership can create confusion and a feeling of disconnect with the boss. Not knowing what the expectations are or how to prioritize projects can be frustrating for team members who need clear directions.
6. Democratic Leadership
The democratic leadership is a happy medium between the autocratic and laissez-faire types of leaders. With a democratic leader, you get a vote. He or she asks for input and considers feedback before making a decision. While the process can make employees feel like their thoughts matter, in some industries this leadership style bogs down the decision-making process.
If you are on a team that is on the same page and can reach better ideas through a group discussion, then bravo! This leadership style works.
7. The Pacesetter
If you work in an industry that needs fast decisions and has to keep up with the pace of business, the pacesetter leadership style may be prevalent. This leadership style is effective for getting fast results. These leaders set high standards and expectations. If you can’t meet the bar, then it’s time to move on. This work environment can be challenging, but highly rewarding.
When something isn’t working or can be streamlined, the pacesetter will make the changes to keep the pace.
8. Bureaucratic Leadership
Bureaucratic leaders are cousins to the autocratic leaders. So they are ineffective and will squash any creativity or innovation in its tracks. They expect their team members (subordinates, because there is no teamwork) to follow the rules and procedures as written. Surprise, you’ll find this style of leadership in bureaucracies a.k.a. government agencies. The focus is on a fixed set of duties within a hierarchy.
Collaboration and ideas are frowned on. What matters is that you are punctual, follow the rules and keep doing things the way they have always been done.
This style of leadership is rarely effective and sends brilliant employees running for the hills, or at least it makes them wish they could quit their job.
Leadership Styles Can Change Based on the Situation
No one is locked into a certain leadership style. Some styles may feel more natural to you, especially if your boss was a certain style. As an employee, you have to decide what kind of leadership you’re willing to work for and which ones are deal-breakers.
Knowing which leadership styles appeal to you will help you make better choices about who you want as a boss. Good luck and lead the way.