Whether you’re a head teacher, a senior or middle leader or a corporate executive, as a leader, you set the tone and model the behaviour for the culture you want to create in your organisation. To do this you have to ask yourself: What do I value most? What is my natural leadership style? How can I use my natural talents to benefit the organisation and my colleagues?
Everyone has their own leadership style. Some take a modern servant leadership approach and focus on developing their teams; others are charismatic leaders who inspire their teams to take action. The good news is that these styles are not mutually exclusive and the best leaders adapt based on the needs of their work and the people they’re leading.
Let’s explore some of the most common styles in modern organisations.
1. Servant: The servant leader is one who truly cares about the needs of their employees. Iconic leaders of nonviolent movements for civil disobedience such as Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela could all be considered examples of servant leadership. However, millennials have a strong preference for modern servant leaders who take genuine interest in both their professional and personal development, and are willing to become mentors.
2. Innovative: Innovative leaders are big picture thinkers who are willing to shake things up to achieve the desired outcome. Many of the most iconic and innovative leaders of today are in the tech industry but there are plenty of others across a wide range of industries, from fashion to education. What do innovators have in common? They have no patience for stagnation. They like to take stock of processes, and when something isn’t working innovators are willing to try new things and find something that does.
3. Pace Setting: Pace setters are visionaries who set the pace not just for their organisations but for the direction of their entire industry. They dream big and inspire those around them to take action to accomplish the seemingly impossible. Where the servant leader focuses more on people development, pace setters are often more demanding in their quest to do things better and faster. Still, the people who thrive most under pace setters are those who work well under tremendous pressure, are self-motivated, and need little direction for execution on big picture ideas.
4. Charismatic: These leaders inspire the people around them to greatness. They have a “let’s do it together” attitude and use the power of personality to inspire passion and action in others. Much like innovators and pace setters, charismatic leaders are often visionaries; however, sometimes they drop the ball when it comes to execution. These leaders need the balance of others around them who can execute on big ideas and get things done.
5. Laisse Faire: People who adopt a laisse faire leadership style are usually excellent at delegating. They know how to communicate their vision, and prefer to give their teams the tools they need and the space to get it done. Laisse faire leaders often like to surround themselves with a highly-skilled, self-motivated team they don’t have to manage too closely. People who need more guidance and direct mentorship don’t usually thrive under this leadership style. However, laisse faire leaders believe the members of their team to be capable, and the expectation that people can and will do what they say what they do can be a proving ground for new leader
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