What is your leadership style?

Have you ever heard of the expression, “he sneezed and everyone caught his cold?” This expression also extends to leadership personalities. Have you taken a moment to assess your leadership style?

There are no such thing as a bad leadership  style, but a style can be misapplied in a work environment. Read this article to learn more about each leadership style and where it works best.


What is authoritarian leadership?

Authoritarian leadership is a leadership style in which the leader dictates and controls all aspects and functions of an organization. Their activity includes the creation of policies, procedures and guidance. They solely decide the organization goals, objectives and priorities.

When authoritarian style works best.

This style works best in two environments: pre-startups and disasters.

It works best in the pre-startup or inception process because one person is needed to create a vision of a company. For example, have you heard the expression, “there are too many chefs in the kitchen?” In other words, one person’s vision for a company may conflict with another’s vision. Startup environments have a lot of moving parts during the inception process. A singular vision will help to make sure that the business has focus and does not spiral off into different directions.

This sentiment also applies to disaster environments. Disasters are not just physical events such as a flood or dire to a building, but also to public relations disasters such as a high profile employee or owner facing criminal charges. Disaster environments are chaotic environments that need a singular train of thought or direction to stabilize a situation. Both situations demand singular and identifiable leadership to bring order, clarity and direction.


What is promotional leadership?

A promotional leader is tantamount to the paperboy of the organization, enthusiastically spreading mantras. The leader chooses various mediums (verbal or written) to spread their ideas and thoughts. The whole objective is that their ideas spread like wildfire throughout all components of their organization. It is successful once their ideas are repeated verbatim throughout their organization. Their ideas are imbedded into the company culture. For example, one promotion is to make sure that “every customer walks away happy.” In keeping with this mantra, company associates willing offer concessions, discounts and promotions to ensure customer satisfaction.

When promotional style works best.

This works best when leadership wants to make a dramatic change from its current path in a short period. For example, a company which is known for less flexible hours is now adopting a new ‘work your way’ culture. They are doing this because they need to enhance their staff retention rate and recruit for new employees. For example, the boss constantly tells staff through internal messages that they should come up with a schedule that works best for them. They should work with their supervisor so that they can complete their 40 hours in a schedule that makes best for their work/life balance. Change needs to occur fast so they can meet their company goals.

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What is facilitative leadership?

Facilitative leadership shifts the burden from the leader to each individual worker resolve workplace problems.

A facilitative leader is someone who acts on the premise that a leader does not do for others what they can do for themselves
— Fran Rees —

When facilitative style works best.

This only works best in seasoned and functional organizations. This is where staff have been working well together for some time in a stable and calm environment. In addition, there is a high level of communication and trust between leaders and employees. If these elements exist, the employees will have a higher workplace satisfaction through their new autonomy.


What is conciliatory leadership?

Conciliatory leader offers trade offs or concessions in order to obtain staff performance objectives. Conciliation often employs expressions such as offering “good will” or “If you scratch my back I will scratch my back.” In these scenarios the leader and employees will acquiesce one or many things in order to meet their goals. For example, in order for the boss to make sure that the sales floor has coverage from 9am-5pm, he allow certain employees has guaranteed vacation times slots. In addition, concessions such as generous benefits package or employee amenities or common in conciliatory leadership. In return for the benefits, employees will have a reduced salary.

When conciliatory style works best.

This management style works best when there is limited or scarce staff to complete office tasks. In order words, there is a demand for more workers than available. Be careful with this as employees can use this to bargain for more things that is feasible for the management to offer.


What is judicial leadership?

Judicial leadership is characterized as a strict, rule based system. This is where decisions and actions are predicated exclusively by existing policies and procedures. In addition, disciplinary actions are planned in advanced and are outlined within existing documentation. Deviations to the plan are rare.

When judicial style works best.

This style works best in environments where even slight chaos or disruption can hurt operations. For example, group homes or hospitals need judicial leadership to ensure that patients are ensured continuous care while in their facilities. Other environments such as prisons and schools require that each person can be accounted for in a quick and systematic manner.


What is secretive leadership?

This is where a leader purposely withholds certain information from a person or groups of people in an organization. This is done to control of the flow of information amongst employees and/or the public.

When secretive style works best.

Secretive leadership is needed when knowledge of a massive change to systems operations can cause harm. For example, the Duck Company, which is known for selling exclusively hunting parafernalia will transition to selling livestock supplies. However, the Duck Company does not want to share this information to their investors until they complete their feasibility study. In addition, the Duck Company does not want to alert their competitors about their new business sales model.


What is Disruptive leadership?

Often used in startup environments as a buzz word, this is where a leader introduces ideas that are counter culture and a radical shift from their current behavior. This is different from a promotional because they do not seek to promote but rather tocompletely end existing plans and processes. Promotional uses yields a slow transition to change, whereas disruptive is usually instantaneous.

When disruptive leadership works.

This usually works during periods of disaster and chaos. This is where the organization can no loner exist using its existing model. It must pivot immediately in order to stay relevant in the marketplace.

None of these traits are mutually exclusive and a leader may find themselves shifting from one role to another. In addition, a leader can find themselves adopting two or more styles simultaneously. For example, you might find yourself employing a promotional style to promote a new company direction while using strict rules (judicial). As I wrote earlier, there is no such thing as a bad style, but styles can be misapplied. The aim is to mindful of your behavior while in a leadership function.

I hope this helped you. If you have feedback, I’d be happy to read it. Please send me a note in the comment section below.

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