Effective Leadership Styles

Study which among the many effective leadership styles are the most suitable and effective in the context of your organization.

Leaders should Facilitate Learning
People in position of power or authority are called upon to lead effectively and help people learn and to strive for improvements and excellence.

  1. Instructional Leadership
  2. This is related to leadership in the field of education. Weber identified five functions of instructional leadership, namely,
    • defining the school mission
    • promoting a positive learning climate
    • observing and giving feedback to teachers
    • managing curriculum and instruction, and
    • assessing the instructional program

    People having authority in educational institutions need to determine which leadership styles can result in better quality of education. Some believe that a facilitative style of leadership is a better option.

  3. Educational Leadership
  4. This style encourages learning among followers. Such leaders give and receive feedback thus leading to learning and enlightenment for both parties.

However, your position may require you to adopt differing styles of leadership under different situations. Perhaps this is necessary since you may hold various positions requiring the use of different methods.

What is Leadership?
In order to determine what the effective leadership styles are, it is essential to have a basic understanding of what leadership is.

Various Types of Leadership Styles

You may ask: "What are the different leadership styles?"

You may find some of the following are effective leadership styles useful when managing people.

  1. Charismatic Leadership
  2. Some believe that charisma is inborn. This is the characteristic of a person who inspires without trying very hard. He or she appears to have a natural ability at leading others.
  3. Participative Leadership
  4. This style is important in making teams work effectively. The leader is both leader and active participant.
  5. Contingency leadership
  6. This is the type of leadership where plans are made in taking care of any possibility that something may go wrong. Risk management is part of this.
  7. Autocratic Leadership style
  8. This involves use of position, power and authority. Simply put, "What I say is the law."

    Sometimes, this style can resolve problems in situations when other styles fail to achieve the results. But it creates stressful and unhealthy conditions.

  9. Facilitative Leadership
  10. People or groups of people are given some form of autonomy in performing what they are required to do. It is necessary to provide all the supports to enable them to accomplish the given tasks. This type of leadership can help HR people to become more effective strategic business partners.
  11. Democratic Leadership style
  12. "Democratic" refers to the situation where one is given the freedom to act in the process of doing required tasks. This style is suitable where the people are mature and know all or most of the things involved in accomplishing the tasks given to them. Self-regulation ensures that everything goes according to plan based on the policies, rules and procedures.

Charismatic Leadership
As stated above, this is one of the leadership styles where a leader can inspire others. This is usually associated with demagogues. Charismatic leaders need to focus on leading others to attain the objectives of the organization. If they are not careful, this ability may go to their heads.

Under the right circumstances and when exercised properly, this is an effective leadership style.

To Max Weber (1947), the characteristics of the charismatic style include:

  • The view that the leader has "supernatural powers and abilities", and is viewed as a hero by followers
  • Personal trust and the charisma the leader exhibits
  • Promotion of followers based on personal charisma that they demonstrate

Weber distinguished transactional leaders such as bureaucratic leaders from transformational leaders such as charismatic leaders. To him, most leaders demonstrate characteristics of these three styles.

We may understand that transactional leaders are very business-like in their styles. Under certain conditions, this is one of the effective leadership styles you can use.

Exercise of Leadership under Different Situations
The kind of situation you find yourself in at a particular point in time may require the use of different sets of leadership skills.

  1. Gender and Leadership
  2. Both men and women are subject to certain rules when exercising leadership over a group of people consisting of both males and females. One of the requirements is to follow laws including those relating to discrimination in various matters and sexual harassment.
  3. Situational Leadership
  4. The leader is required to exercise different skills under different circumstances. Try to understand the leadership styles in order to play your role while wearing "different hats." Alertness to changing circumstances is required of leaders. A fast response plan is also needed.

  5. Contingency Leadership
  6. Further to what is stated above, this type of leadership gives emphasis to ensuring contingency plans are always in place. It takes care of possibilities and emergency situations.

  7. Army Leadership
  8. This is an example of leadership where very high levels of skills and high quality of safety and security standards and teamwork are a must. Others include fire service and health service leadership.

  9. Recreational Leadership
  10. Leaders may sometimes appear entertaining and funny. This leadership style may fit into the entertainment industry.

  11. Team Leadership
  12. The leader of a working group or party needs skills in handling each team member temperament and needs, and the needs of the group. Good intra-relationships (within), understanding, cooperation, collaboration and partnership are necessary.

  13. Servant Leadership
  14. This type of leader believes that he or she is serving for the good of others or groups of people. The ultimate objective is still the same, that is, success of the group or organization.
  15. Primal Leadership
  16. This refers to a primitive type of leadership, old-fashioned or outdated. It is important for leaders in this position to modernize their leadership style.

You may find that a combination of these leadership styles is suitable for your position.

Effective leaders are required to make strategic plans that ensures the success of organizations.

Leadership Styles Differ in their Results and Effects

Even if we may define the styles chosen as effective leadership styles, we cannot always predict the results.

Some examples of the differing effects and / or results are as stated below. Determine which types are more effective in the situation you are needed to exercise leadership.

  1. Transformational Leadership
  2. Collaborative Leadership that brings people or groups together to reach a decision that is beneficial to all parties concerned. Members share belief in the same system.
  3. Motivational Leadership emphasizes the importance of motivation in making leaders and leadership succeed. The leader must try to discover what motivates his or her followers.

  4. Inspirational Leadership which is related to transformational leadership in order to make people perform better. This is related to motivational leadership.
  5. Strategic Leadership
  6. A good definition sounds like this:
      "Individuals and teams enact strategic leadership when they think, act and influence in ways that promotes the sustainable competitive advantage of the organization." ("Becoming a strategic leader: your role in your organization's enduring success" by Richard L. Hugh)

    Strategic leadership can refer to positions and skills that put into practice strategies that make the organization a success.

  7. Creative Leadership
  8. Creativity in leaders is important in a dynamic world. Try to read what the creative thinking "guru", Dr. Edward de Bono, had written on the subject.

Standards Required in the Exercise of Leadership

Leaders need to follow certain standards especially in the exercise of power. It has been said that "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

People in position of authority whenever they are exercising it and for whatsoever reason or reasons need to adhere to "principle-centered leadership." This means that effective leadership styles may ultimately fail if "the followers" go away. What will happen if your people terminate their service?

Authentic leadership requires moral leadership or ethical leadership based on high standards of leadership ethics.

This means that when exercising leadership over others, we need to follow ethical principles where we choose the right and moral way of doing things over might and wrong or unethical methods.

An example is Christian leadership or Church leadership. Other religious beliefs require their leaders to follow similar ethical rules.

Leadership and Organizational Capabilities Situations under which leaders are called to demonstrate effective leadership styles include:

  • Sales Leadership
  • This refers to the situation an organization has a superiority over other organizations in sales performance. This indicates that it has adopted the right set of strategies in attaining such level of achievement.
  • Development Leadership
  • This can refer to the leadership capability in the development of the organization or any aspect of it. It can also refer to the leading position of an organization such as in development of a product that is of better quality than similar products developed by other organizations. An example of this is research and development capabilities that are superior.

Other Areas Requiring Effective Leadership Styles Capability

These can include:

  • Future Leadership
  • Development of future leadership capabilities is essential especially for organizations that plan to carry out activities on a global scale. It appears, though, that this is one of the areas that are not given priority. Usually, the focus is to concentrate on the things at hand.

  • Student Leadership
  • Why must we concern ourselves with student leadership?
    We need to remember that students will one day become part of the workforce. Giving them a head start will go a long way in addressing the leadership problems faced by organizations. It is never too early to learn the principles of effective leadership.

Effective Leadership Styles are Required in Human Resource Management

Senior management teams, managers and supervisors are all leaders. When equipped with the right and up-to-date skills they can help provide the necessary leadership to your workforce in propelling your organization to higher level of success.

Even if you conclude that you know all the effective leadership styles, you still need to determine which one is the most suitable one under different circumstances.

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