You can’t have a successful business without sound leadership, and to become a great leader you’ve got to be committed to highlighting your strengths and overcoming your weaknesses.
Successful leaders have varying styles, and what works well for one might not highlight your strengths, or worse, it might accentuate your weaknesses. There are also different styles for different situations. In other words, after you’ve decided on an overall style that works well for you, you can adapt that style as the situation dictates.
Here are 10 leadership styles, not all of them good. You can use them to decide what kind of leader you want to be, and what kind of leader you don’t want to be.
- The dictator. Napoleon might have leveraged his skills to the maximum in order invade countries and bring power to France, but that doesn’t mean adopting his dictator style will help you build office place relationships and accomplish long-term goals. Far from it.
- The authoritarian. You can adopt the authoritarian leadership style when you want to persuade others to buy in to your goals and mentality. This style effectively says, “Come with me, because I know the way.”Authoritarian leaders are direct, confident, and considerate. They also provide subordinates with insightful “whys” behind the decisions they make.
- The team captain. One person does not an organization make. As a team captain, you understand that the power of your company begins and ends with your employees. That’s why you’re committed to sharing the load and accomplishing as a team what individually is beyond reach.
- The visionary. It has been said that leadership is the capacity to turn vision into reality. As a visionary leader, you make it a priority to continually sell and reinforce your vision for the future. You lead with dreams — both yours and your employees’ — thereby turning nay sayers into fellow visionaries who are fueled by passion for, and commitment to, company goals.
- The people-come-first leader. The people-come-first leader understands that employees respond better when they feel as if their views and opinions are respected, and that their contributions are valued. That’s why this type of leader is always willing to give credit where credit is due, thereby capturing their employees’ hearts and getting them to fall in love with the company.
- The democratic leader. The democratic leader continually aims to obtain a consensus, or at least a strong feeling among employees that they have a voice in the decision-making process. If you help an employee feel that their input is as valuable to the company as their output, you’ll have taken a significant step toward maximizing their productivity. Be sure to check out Bring Out the Leader in Each Employee for more tips and tricks.
- The pacesetter. In the pacesetting style, you set high performance standards for yourself and encourage your employees to do the same. Unlike the coercive style, this approach says effectively, “Do as I do.” Also read Gaining the Skills of a Leader for some good advice.
- The promoter. Promoter leaders focus on personal development, rather than immediate tasks, in order to develop consistently high performers. They also establish and communicate responsibilities and work parameters. Employees perform better when they’re encouraged to perform, and when they understand what is expected of them.
- The autocrat. You probably want to avoid becoming an autocratic leader. Autocrats believe that the key to being an effective leader is to focus less on subordinates and their needs and more on work-related issues. In doing so, you use your position to prescribe solutions and direct others to comply. With this type of leadership, you’ll usually have more subordinates with low levels of job satisfaction than you would as a democratic leader.
- The considerate leader. Considerate leaders do what any considerate person would do, but in the context of leadership. Because you concern yourself with employees’ interests and well-being, you’re sensitive toward their feelings, needs, and goals. Before making decisions, you seek suggestions from your employees and consider what effects those decisions will have on the team. By openly praising and privately correcting subordinates, you establish a working environment in which people trust, respect, and follow you.