There are several different approaches to leadership. Below are some of the main classifications of leadership that we use today. They range from using authority to working with people and relationships to get the job done. It is not recommended to focus on one area alone when looking for a good model to follow. Using elements from all three will generally yield the best results. Compare your own leadership with these popular methods and see if you are putting them to work for you in the best way possible.
This type of leadership uses the authority of the position. While sometimes it can work, using only authority to lead people can cause problems.
Authoritarians give orders based on their own point of view. They simply tell people to do what they want done. You can probably imagine how this could be viewed as less effective than forming good relationships with people.
People who use only this method can sometimes be degrading, disrespectful or condescending. These are not marks of authoritarian leadership but rather personal shortcomings of the individual. Anyone who focuses on tactics like this is a poor leader and authoritarians have to be especially careful not to come across this way.
The democratic leaders get the people more involved in the project at hand. They know the benefit of getting feedback from their employees. They maintain the responsibility of making the big decisions but they also know that they need to use their other people and resources wisely.
The democratic approach also forges relationships and bonds with the people. It fosters greater motivation among the team. This is thought to be a more skilled approach to leadership.
This leadership approach delegates responsibility and workload. The delegative leader allows others to decide the best course of action based on their experience and skills in a particular area of expertise. This is a common approach to leadership. It is useful to let people who are more familiar with the smaller details take the lead within the team for certain tasks.
The leader creates the overall plan and tracks the progress. This allows him to oversee more areas of the operation by not focusing on minute details.
This approach works well when team members have the experience and knowledge to make the best decisions about specific tasks. This approach assumes a solid level of reliability of the team member in question.
A Well Rounded Leader
A well rounded leader is one that implements traits from each of the three approaches above. They can adjust their leadership to meet the requirements of the situation. This takes practice and diligence. They know that their job is important and complex and they constantly make the effort to do the best job they can.
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