If you are a leader looking to take inventory of your strengths and weaknesses it can be confusing to navigate. A simple Google search of “leadership in business” or “leadership styles” will result in an onslaught of different answers and opinions about how to effectively lead. This is because there are a variety of ways to lead with varying levels of effectiveness depending on where you are and what your ultimate goal is.
At The Centr our purpose is to simplify business. Therefore we have consolidated leadership styles down to the three that we consider to be most prominent in the business world. These leadership styles are; Authoritarian, Laissez-faire, Democratic. Authoritarian is as it sounds, it is a very black and white form of leadership where as the leader “what I say goes.” Many large corporations still use this model of leadership as a means to maintain compliance within large employee bases but it is also used within smaller businesses as well. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Laissez-faire leader. Laissez-faire in French means to “leave alone” so it is no surprise that this leadership style is very hands off. This leader allows things to unfold with little to no involvement. Finally, the Democratic leadership style is one that seeks to work together with employees to extract the highest potential.
As leaders we are more than the leadership style we embody. Our values and morals keep us grounded so that we can be agile in our leadership approach. This agility is important because life is in motion. Our approach to leadership will have to adjust based on where our team is in its formation but our values can and should remain. So where is your team in its formation?
Using the four elements of team formation you can understand which phase of formation your team is in which will help you see, understand and practice the necessary leadership style.
- Forming: There is a lack of clarity of a team’s purpose and individual roles.
- Storming: There is conflict as people try to establish their role on the team.
- Norming: Things start to level off. There is agreement within the team and clarity of roles.
- Performing: There is a clear strategy and shared vision.
As you can see based on the four phases above, the phase your team is in can dramatically alter your leadership approach. For example when your team is in the forming stage it might require more of an authoritarian type of leadership style as your team is still lacking direction and understanding of the ultimate purpose and goal. Whereas when your team enters the performing phase you may be able to employ a more laissez-faire type of leadership as you have already put in the effort to empower your team to perform. Ultimately, what leadership style you currently use is not what defines you–your leadership style will change as time passes and your teams change. This change is one to anticipate and welcome because with it comes growth. What is most important is that we retain our values which will ground us despite any expected or unexpected changes that come our way. Have you taken time to define what your business values are?