By Debra W. Gould, MS
The word 'leadership' just might be the most overused word in management. Why? Because depending on the type of leadership being referenced, the meaning can be quite different. Many people never stop and think about it, but there are literally dozens of leadership styles.
Knowing the style you feel most comfortable with will help you become a more effective leader because you'll be using a style that fits your personality and work style.
Here are just a few leadership styles to consider:
1. Autocratic Leadership
Autocratic leaders rule alone, and don't usually take suggestions from staff. This style of leadership is largely outdated, but can be very effective when tight control outweighs collaborative efforts.
2. Charismatic Leadership
Charismatic leaders are beloved by their teams. They inspire the people they work with to do better, and they're very energetic. Charismatic leadership comes with a great deal of responsibility, and often organizations or projects can collapse if the leader leaves simply because the team puts so much faith into that one person.
3. Laissez-Faire Leadership
This style of leadership is very "hands off". Leaders let their teams or employees run the show, and they stay in the background organizing and monitoring. This style of leadership works best when the employees are very experienced.
4. Task-Focused Leadership
Task-focused leaders are concerned with one thing: getting the job done. These leaders are productive, but often suffer some of the same problems as autocratic leaders: they're unconcerned with staff needs, which often results in high turnover.
5. Servant Leadership
Servant leaders are the opposite of Task leaders. They're very focused on the needs of the team, and strive for democratic decision making. Servant leaders often lead by their values and integrity.
This is only a sample of some of the different leadership styles that can be used. If you're in a leadership position, then it's vital you identify which style suits you best.
Trying to lead one way, when your style warrants a different way will only make your actions half-hearted and inconsistent, not mention your results. Find a style that suits your unique personality and skills, and dive in.
Debra W. Gould, MS is the president of Debra Gould & Associates, Inc. based in New Orleans and provides management consulting and training services to commercial and government clients. Debra is one of the founders of The Ebony Speakers and co-author of the book, Real Women, Real Issues - Positive Collaborations For Business Success. Debra can be reached at: (504) 244-6576, email: firstname.lastname@example.org and website: www.gouldassoc.com
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