It takes great leadership style to build great teams. The best leaders have distinctive leadership styles and are not afraid to make the difficult decisions. They course-correct when mistakes happen, manage the egos of team members and set performance standards that are constantly being met and improved upon. Whether you want to build a high performance team in the workplace, local community or competitive sports, you need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the people in your team and what gets them going. Beyond that, you need to understand the different styles of leadership that there is to build effective teams.
Leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King and Winston Churchill represent some of the different leadership styles that are worth their weight in gold. While it may seem like there are as many leadership styles as there are leaders, psychologists and business experts have identified the main types of leadership styles that are most effective. Here are five of the top leadership styles you can use to build an awesome team, depending on the situation that you’re in.
1. Transformational Leadership
Transformational leadership is a style of leadership that focuses on transforming individuals. This style is about taking people through a journey of initiatives that lead to positive changes in the way they do things. You identify a needed change that adds new value, create a vision to guide individuals to meet the change and inspire and motivate them to carry out the change and be the best they can be as themselves, as well as a team.
This leadership style is one of the best to use in business situations. It encourages engagement from everyone in a team and leads to high productivity. The downside of the style is that the aspect of transformational change sometimes results in work being done, but not quite reliably. When work is not done reliably, other leadership styles should be incorporated to address the shortcoming and ensure routine work is done reliably.
2. Democratic Leadership
Democratic leadership, also known as participative leadership, is a style of leadership that is very open and collegial in the way it builds and manages a group of people. Members of the group take a more proactive and participative role in the decision making process, but the final decision is made by the democratic leader. Everyone is given a seat at the table and ideas are shared and discussed freely among team members. Creativity is encouraged and valued, as is engagement in projects.
The benefits of this leadership style is that team members feel more in control of their destiny and, therefore, tend to be more motivated to work hard. Team members also enjoy greater levels of job satisfaction because they are involved in decision-making processes throughout. The style is usually a good fit when you want to build skilled teams, especially in the service industry where new ideas allow for more flexibility to ever changing customer demands.
The downside of democratic leadership is that participation takes time. It can slow decision-making and be a hindrance in situations where speed or efficiency is essential.
3. Servant Leadership
Servant leadership, a term coined by Robert Greenleaf in the 1970s, describes a style where a leader’s primary role is to serve a group of people, such as employees. The leader leads by example with generosity. He or she has high integrity and is focused on meeting the needs of the team. Unlike most other leaders, the “servant leader” prefers to stay out of the limelight and lets the team take all the credit for their hard work.
Servant leadership helps create a positive corporate culture and can lead to high moral among team members. It is often the best approach to leadership in situations where leaders are elected to serve a committee, organization or community, such as in politics. The downside to servant leadership is that it demands high levels of integrity and takes time to apply correctly. You can easily find yourself falling behind other leaders who use other leadership styles.
4. People-Oriented Leadership
People-oriented leadership is a style that takes into account people’s strengths and talents. Leaders using this style place people in positions that take advantage of their talents and positive characteristics. The leader is focused on organizing, supporting and developing individual team members, as well as improving the welfare of the whole team. People-oriented leaders treat members of their team equally, are friendly and approachable and readily available to anyone who needs help or advice.
This participatory leadership style builds popular, fun teams that everyone wants to be part of. Team members are often more productive and willing to take risks because they know the leader will provide support if they need it. The downside to this style of leadership is that it can be too focused on individuals that important tasks or project directives are overlooked and suffer.
5. Task-Oriented Leadership
Task-oriented leadership is the opposite of people oriented leadership. Task-oriented leaders focus only on getting the job done. They define the work that needs to be done, plan and organize how the work will be done, create and assign roles to do the work, put structures in place to manage performance and monitor the progress and standard of work.
The benefit of this leadership approach is that it builds a team that delivers results within set deadline. The style is especially useful for team members who are unable to manage their time well, either due to personal or work distractions or their own limited capacity to work without direct supervision. The downside to the approach is that leaders tend to be autocratic and not concerned about their team’s well-being. The team can suffer problems like low motivation and employee retention.
So, which leadership style or combination of styles work best for you?