5 Leadership styles and when to apply them

An effective leader motivates and guides employees, targeting their strengths and weaknesses so that both the employees and the organisation can succeed. The relationship between leadership styles and employees, therefore, plays a crucial role. Despite of this, surveys have shown that 75% of employees voluntarily leaving their positions leave because of their bosses, leading directly to issues of talent retention and churn.

Surprisingly, 36% of organisations don’t have a formal leadership development strategy — considering that to be a good and effective leader, one needs to be highly adaptable. Depending on a project, the environment, and even the psychology of the employee involved, leaders may find themselves switching between leadership styles quite frequently.

It all starts with a solid knowledge of the five major leadership styles.

Facilitative leadership

Facilitative leadership is a people-centric leadership style that puts the work process and company culture first, ideal for creative and high-pressure environments.

A facilitative leader works to build trusting relationships between leaders and employees in order to achieve their mutual goals. Facilitative leaders learn as much as they can about their employees and how they work, give clear expectations of their employees, and encourage them as they achieve these goals. Facilitative leaders are positive and motivational.

Ideally, employees should feel that they are valued and that their work matters; they should feel as though they are being listened to and that they know what to expect.

Facilitative leadership is often used best within creative and skill-based industries, in which a more rigorous or structured type of leadership style could lead to roadblocks and stress. Facilitative leadership puts people first and thus ties very strongly into people-first company cultures. It is best used when employees are already invested in producing the best work that they can for the organisation.
 

Laissez-faire leadership

Laissez-faire leadership is a hands-off leadership style that puts all members of the team in control, ideal for exceptional employees and self-motivated teams.

In a laissez-faire leadership, a leader provides very little guidance to their team. Instead, they trust that their team understands their own roles and will be able to perform their best. Statistically, laissez-faire leadership is often considered to be the least productive type of leadership — but this is usually when it is improperly applied. When applied correctly, laissez-faire leadership actually reduces much of the red tape surrounding organisational administration and can produce very rapid and effective results.

A tightly connected team full of self-starters may thrive under laissez-faire leadership. All individuals need to be personally motivated and highly competent. Laissez-faire leadership is best used when each individual member has an expertise and skill set that the leader themselves may not necessarily grasp. In this situation, over-managing employees could become more disruptive than helpful.

 

Coaching leadership

Coaching leadership creates a give-and-take atmosphere that puts a heavy emphasis on two-way communication, ideal for developing long-term and stable communication.

Sports teams are an excellent example of how a well-balanced coaching leadership style is put into effect. In a coaching leadership, the leader sets out clear goals and responsibilities for their team. However, the leader also listens to their team and provides constant communication. Leaders will provide feedback regarding an employee’s role and accomplishments and will listen to any concerns that employee has. This fosters a very strong employee-and-leader relationship, which is more likely to yield stable and consistent results.

When competent and capable employees don’t seem to be giving their job the attention that’s needed, a coaching leadership can be used to delve into their psychology and to inspire and motivate. Coaching leaderships drill down to any potential issues within a team and inspire the team to work together. They are best used to develop long-term team structures and goals.

 

Authoritative leadership

Authoritative leadership is essentially a dictatorship that puts the leader in complete control, ideal for undisciplined or high-stakes environments.

Authoritative leadership is one of the least preferred by employees, but nevertheless, it can become necessary in a variety of situations. In authoritative leadership, a leader makes all the decisions and rarely considers the opinions of team members. Team members may rebel against this type of leadership style unless they feel that the consequences of rebellion outweigh the benefits. All the team’s goals, initiatives, and strategies will be developed solely by the team leader, with very little input. The psychology of authoritative leadership can be a bit rough, with employees feeling devalued and ignored.

Though it may sound like a bleak atmosphere, authoritative leadership can become necessary when there has been a complete breakdown in structure. During times of transition or crisis, an authoritative leadership style may be necessary to make rapid-fire decisions and to keep a team together. Authoritative leadership is generally not intended for long-term use but instead as a short-term tool.

 

Democratic leadership

Democratic leadership is a type of leadership that puts an emphasis on the free exchange of ideas, ideal for most balanced working environments.

This is one of the most versatile types of leadership style. In a democratic leadership, team members are consulted regarding major decisions and projects. Communication consistently occurs between leaders and team members, and input from every individual is considered valuable.

Many teams have a tendency to default to some form of democratic leadership policy. However, it isn’t without its flaws: a democratic leadership process does take longer, and projects and teams can be stalled by a weak link.

Democratic leadership works best in strong, homogenous teams of accomplished and competent individuals. This is a solid ‘default’ leadership style, though it is particularly useful when time is not at a premium. It may need to be abandoned in times of crisis or looming deadlines.

 

All about the balance

There is no one leadership style that is going to carry you through all the teams, projects, and environments that you will encounter. Instead, the ability to effortlessly switch between these leadership styles as necessary is what makes for an effective leader. A business with satisfied and motivated employees will be able to retain the best talent and experience limited churn.

But merely knowing about these leadership styles is not enough: you also need to be trained in them. Contact TEC today to get started.

How important is emotional intelligence in leadership?

Leadership isn’t just about IQ or technical skill – in fact, these are the entry-level requirements for executive positions. When 58% of all success in jobs are accounted for by emotional intelligence, it’s a clear sign that emotional intelligence has a vital role in the workplace. It has also been discovered that people with a high degree of emotional intelligence make an average of $29,000 more per year than people with lower degrees of emotional intelligence.

What is ’emotional intelligence’?

In the 1990’s, psychologist Daniel Goleman coined five main components of emotional intelligence that affect leadership:

1. Self-Awareness
Self-aware leaders have a clear picture of their strengths and weaknesses. This skill also allows them to be aware of how they’re perceived by others. Having this knowledge, better equips them to respond in a way that delivers the results they need.

2. Self-Regulation
Self-regulation allows leaders to control their emotions when making decisions or responding to certain situations. Leaders with self-regulation rarely verbally attack others; make rash decisions or compromise core values.

3. Self-Motivation
Motivation is passion that goes beyond the material of money and status. This is about being fundamentally driven by a purpose deeper than something that might not last. Self-motivated leaders consistently work towards their goal with a high standard for the work they produce.

4. Empathy
Leaders lead people. Empathy is the ability to successfully manage a team of people by understanding their drivers and emotions. It’s through empathy, that a leader can help develop the people on their team, challenge them and give constructive feedback.

5. Social Skills
Social skills relate to conflict resolution, communication skills as well as forging strong relationships with others. Leaders with strong social skills are good at managing change and set an example to others with their behaviour.

Aside from these five core characteristics, there is also: charisma, confidence, the managing of relationships, and the regulating of one’s own expectations. These all fall under the banner of emotional intelligence. To be truly inspiring and memorable, a leader has to be able to display these characteristics.

How Jeff Bezos (Amazon) displays emotional intelligence

In 2015, Amazon found itself in the cross hairs of The New York Times, following the publishing of a lengthy critique about its rigorous employee standards and harsh working environment. It may have gone even further, if it wasn’t for the swift intervention of CEO Jeff Bezos.

Jeff Bezos was able to use the opportunity to turn the criticism around, by announcing changes within the company and directly addressing the concerns that had been raised. Rather than fighting the claims, he leaned in, and was able to deliver the changes that his employees and the public desired.

How Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google) display emotional intelligence

 One of the best examples of overall emotional intelligence comes from Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the two initial founders of Google. Now one of the largest organisations in the entire world, Google still reflects the atmosphere of a spunky start-up. Much of this has to do with their emotional intelligence. As a business grows, it’s often normal for the culture to dilute or change radically. It’s only through emotional intelligence – an understanding of the drivers of their employees, of the context of the business – that Google has been able to retain their playful company culture.

Well-known for their corporate code of conduct, “Don’t be evil” Google has developed an entrenched reputation as a well-meaning and forward-thinking corporate entity. The success behind their strategic initiatives also relates back to the emotional intelligence of their executive team and their ability to be ‘ahead of the curve’.

(Since the inception of Alphabet, Google’s motto has been replaced by “Do the right thing.”)

Do you possess emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence may very well be the line in the sand that separates a “boss” from a true leader. Through emotional intelligence, CEOs and entrepreneurs are able to inspire confidence and motivate others to follow in their footsteps. And, just like any other skill, it can be learned.

With over 21,000 members, The Executive Connection has turned the development of emotional intelligence into a science. Contact us to find out more.

 

4 ways to improve the people elements of strategic planning

Strategy and people

This is a great time of year for you to either come up with or review you professional objectives or personal goals and how they fit with some of the grander strategic goals for the business. It’s a chance for you work out which of your priorities are really critical for yourself and for the organisation.

Planning for an organisation’s future involves not just creating a strategy but also managing the human resources necessary to actually implement it. However, you also need to take responsibility for yourself.

  1. Sit, reflect and be still

When asked what the first thing he will do when he leaves office, Barack Obama simply said he wanted to be still and reflect, and I think that’s something we need to do as well. From time to time, we should give ourselves the chance to reflect and think about priority goals for us and our businesses.

That includes – although it may sound cliched – thinking about things like what we need to do to stay innovative, what could disrupt us and how could we disrupt our own industry? Consider the steps you could take to prepare for these concerns and work out what you would have to do to start achieving them.

  1. Coach your direct reports

It’s all well and good for you to be across your strategy, but communicating that to your direct reports so it can cascade throughout the rest of the organisation is an ongoing discussion, not a one-off meeting or presentation.

Each month, you should sit down with these people for a coaching session where you’re not just telling them what to do, but actually providing guidance, listening to their concerns and helping them meet their goals. It’s an approach that links personal and professional goals, helping your team understand the options open to them and which ones are worth focusing on moving forward.

  1. Understand that there’s a deficit of trust in the world

Without getting too political, a few events over the past year heavily publicised an issue that’s affecting people at all levels: There’s a shortage of trust between people and their leaders.

I think the thing that’s really going to separate regular organisations from great ones over the next year or two will be the sense of trust they can cultivate. Employees and customers have lost trust in leaders on all fronts, from those in their place of work through to politicians and media leaders as well.

Each company will have to investigate its own unique concerns, but in general business leaders should be asking how they can ensure their employees trust them and what they need to do to grow and maintain that. The days of people listening to you purely because you are the boss are over, so you’ve really got to work to overcome that trust deficit that’s out in the world at the moment.

  1. What did you overlook last year?

Creating, communicating and implementing a strategy demands a significant personal investment. Not only have you got to manage your own personal productivity, you need to be on top of how the rest of the organisation is engaging with your strategic plans.

Consequently, it’s easy to let thing fall by the wayside. One of the first things that’s often neglected is communication because it seems like it’s just easier to do everything yourself. That’s an unwinnable game, because you just can’t take on that amount of work, you have to delegate to people you know can dissipate the message throughout the organisation.

The more you overload yourself and forget to communicate, the quicker it all spirals down to impact the rest of the people you rely on, consequently eroding that trust that’s so difficult to create in the first place.


Jerry KleemanBy: TEC Chair, CEO mentor and coach Jerry Kleeman

 

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