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Understanding types of leadership and when to use them

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what are types of leadership

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Identifying the many types of leadership has been the subject of studies for decades. One of the first theories, the Trait Theory, that explained the behavior of leadership roles within companies was in vogue until the 1940s.

It claimed that leaders were born that way, and could be identified by their strong and sociable personality, intellectual skills, and even their physical appearance such as their strength and “good looks”.

Despite its past popularity, the theory has now become seen as weak in identifying the types of leadership needed and is considered outdated given how business has changed.

For specialists, leadership can be acquired through the use of habits and training. What defines outstanding leadership ability and leaders is not given from birth. Instead, it comes through experience and behavior by engaging in the world and other people.

This change in thinking has opened up a range of possibilities. Models for generating leaders and new types of leadership, which we demonstrate below:

How about some tips on how to be the best?

What are the types of leadership?

From democratic models of leadership to that practiced in more autocratic companies. We have selected the main types of leaders so that you have the chance to identify yourself among them. Finding out what is the difference between a leader and a boss.

The different types of leaders

Currently, the most common types of leadership are democratic, liberal, and autocratic. Based on the current theory, Decision-Making Styles of Leaders. However, they are not considered the only ones that exist in the labor market.

Within any company, it is possible to find leaders who act like parents, while others stand out for their technical knowledge, etc. To improve their performance, managers need to know what type of leader they are and in which category they fit.

1. Autocratic leadership

Toxic boss leadership is based on the total centralization of authority, in which the leader focuses all decision-making only on himself. His position becomes an instrument of coercion towards the staff, whose only motive is fear of punishment or dismissal.

The execution of tasks and the search for results are what matters in an autocracy. This model is still common in many companies, but in the face of market changes and with professionals seeking fulfillment and professional growth, it has proven unsatisfactory and no longer guarantees talent retention or productivity.

2. Liberal leadership

What is a liberal leader? In liberal leadership, the leader shows total confidence in his team. In his management, he gives his colleagues all the freedom to make important decisions and his participation in managing events is almost nil, which therefore prevents the team from following the examples of a liberal leader as a role model.

This attitude also often leads to problems. Delegating all the tasks and responsibilities to a team without any supervision or guidance, often in crises, can directly damage the company’s performance and results.

In many cases, employees who work under liberal leadership feel lost in the execution of their activities, do not manage their time or productivity well, fail to develop professionally, and may lose their sense of authority and respect for their leader.

3. Democratic leadership

In democratic leadership, “balance” is the keyword. This model allows each employee the freedom to make decisions and share their ideas, but without taking full control of the company.

The democratic leader interacts equally with his team, promotes training, and assists the progress of those led. Their position is to advise each member when necessary, recognizing the merits and creating an open space for debate.

Given the current labor market scenario formed by Generation Y professionals, this type of leadership has proven to be very effective. Its strategy drives the search for individual results and learning, without compromising productivity and professional responsibility.

4. Motivational Leadership

Motivational leadership is based on encouragement and optimism. Leaders who follow this model do not get discouraged in a crisis. They encourage those around them and can easily control what is not going well.

In this type of leadership, the team finds a healthy environment to express their ideas and make decisions. They trust in their capacity and are motivated by a perceptive manager, who believes and recognizes the work developed and can take control when faced with problems.

5. Paternalistic leadership

In paternalistic leadership, the leader assumes the role of a father. The interpersonal relationship with his or her employees is usually very strong, but this leadership can assume ambiguous behavior that is very dangerous for the company. A paternal leader can be extremely permissive, as in the liberal example, or very strict, as in the autocratic one.

This lack of balance can compromise the necessary professionalism in the relationship with the team or create a strong sense of domination, which affects the freedom and self-confidence of these employees.

6. Technical leadership

Technical leadership has a powerful influence on company performance. Thanks to the knowledge and analytical capacity of the leaders, those who act under its control trust their performance and know they can count on them to execute successful procedures and achieve the desired results.

7. Charismatic leadership

Charismatic leadership is one of the easiest to recognize. These leaders can bring lightness to the work environment, gain the appreciation of the staff, and manage the team with humor and equality – from the senior members to those who work in lower hierarchical positions.

He leads by example. He seldom needs to use his power to make sure that they meet demands and his decisions are respected. His profile allows employees to work with more enthusiasm. However, the leader also needs to find the ideal point to avoid assuming a permissive posture – common to liberal leadership.

The ideal leadership

Discovering the ideal leadership for making happy employees and a company successful is the dream of ten out of ten managers. However, the truth is there is no single formula for this.

All leadership types present benefits and problems, according to events, the staff involved and the demands of the company.

For example, In front of an inexperienced team, giving up command or responsibilities may compromise the whole performance of the company. On the other hand, in a place that prizes innovation and creativity, focusing only on technical leadership may generate stagnation.

It is up to the leader to understand the aspirations, competencies, and needs of his/her colleagues without surrendering the interests of the organization he/she represents. It is not necessary to assume a democratic, motivating, or autocratic profile all the time.

A union of characteristics based on all of them forms the ideal leadership, according to the situation and benefits that they can bring to the company. The most important thing is that the leader acts with sensitivity and authenticity.

See some more tips for the ideal leadership:

What are the types of leadership that you consider most appropriate? And do you recognize yourself in any of these types of leadership? If you are looking to improve yourself as a leader, it is very important to train yourself to do so.

Here are some advantages that over a thousand companies around the world have chosen:

Facilitating information exchange and communication between departments

Share KPIs with agility and transparency;

Enhance corporate governance;

Integrate people, operation and strategy;

Use meritocracy and management by sight to motivate and manage teams;

Employ the main strategic planning methodologies, such as BSC, OKR and SWOT.

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