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What are the different leadership styles and their effectiveness?

In this article I will introduce you to the different leadership styles that exist so that you can fully understand them, identify the ones you use, and decide which ones you should keep, adopt or give up.

But first, let's start with a question: "What is the difference between a good leader and a bad leader? »

In our definition of leadership, we saw that leadership is the art of creating an inspiring vision of the future, and then motivating, leading and coaching to make that vision a reality.

What will therefore distinguish a good leader from a bad leader will be his or her ability to achieve concrete results and bring the vision to life.

And his ability to achieve results will depend largely on the leadership styles he uses.

Be careful, however, because the leadership styles that I am about to present apply first and foremost to the leadership that one exercises with people over whom one has formal authority (in other words, one's collaborators).

But leadership can also be exercised with people over whom one does not have direct authority. For example, someone in a cross-functional role (such as project management) who needs to inspire, motivate, lead and support his or her colleagues to achieve objectives. In these cases, not all leadership styles will apply (especially authoritarian and leading styles).

By whom and how were these leadership styles identified?

These leadership styles were identified by renowned social scientist Daniel Goleman in his famous article "leadership that gets results".

Eager to answer the question "How do the best leaders get their results so well? "he conducted a survey of almost 4,000 American executives.

He then identified six different leadership styles and measured their impact on the leader's team climate according to six criteria (flexibility, accountability, standards, rewards, clarity, commitment) to determine the most and least effective.

How to read this article?

When reading about the different leadership styles, it is important to keep in mind that the best leaders do not stick to one style but alternate between all the styles depending on the challenges and the situation, even if they prefer the most effective ones.

I will present you with the different leadership styles from the most effective to the least effective, but be aware that even styles with a negative impact on the climate of a team can sometimes be appropriate.

To get the most out of this article, identify the style(s) you use most often, ask yourself if these are the most adapted to the situations you face, if you could try to use others, and give up or use less those with a negative impact.

This article is not intended to give you a detailed presentation of each style, but to give you an overview. For more details on the styles you are interested in, please refer to the related articles.

Visionary Leadership

A visionary leader proposes a vision of a better future or a great project that he or she seeks to implement, and asks others to accompany him or her in this mission.

For him or her, vision directs action.

He analyzes everything that happens in his department or company through the prism of vision.

When he evokes the tasks to be carried out, he shows how they contribute to the project. When he makes a feedback, or an evaluation, he explains to his collaborator how his actions and behavior contribute or not to achieving the vision.

The visionary leader can leave a lot of freedom to innovate, as long as it is in the direction of the project.

Visionary leadership is the leadership style identified as the most effective.

Read this article on visionary leadership to find out why it is so powerful, in what contexts it applies, and how to make it work best.

Caring Leadership

A caring leader seeks to create harmony and healthy, positive relationships within his or her team.

His approach is simple: "If I make my employees happy, I will get performance and loyalty in return.

He places as much, if not more, importance on the well-being and emotions of his collaborators than on the accomplishment of tasks and the achievement of objectives.

The caring leader places himself in an equal relationship with his employees.

They value transparency and the sharing of ideas. They also leave a lot of freedom: under their responsibility, everyone works as they please.

Above all, they seek to create positive emotions in their employees. So when he gives feedback on the work he has done, he makes sure that he accompanies it with a lot of positivity and encouragement.

Creating a group spirit and a cohesive community is important to him. He will therefore adopt a position as a conflict "deminer", and will take every opportunity to bring his team members together, for example by offering lunches or celebrating birthdays.

Participatory Leadership

A participative leader has two qualities on which he bases his leadership:

  • His ability to listen
  • His open-mindedness

Under his supervision, everyone has the right to express themselves. Ideas are freely exchanged and discussion is encouraged.

He seeks to develop a positive relationship with all members of his team so that they feel free to give their opinions.

He encourages creativity and likes to gather different analyses of the same situation. He also values collaboration and team spirit.

A participative (or democratic) leader does not like to decide alone, because he or she believes that many people are better able to decide together. Therefore, he always tries to involve his collaborators as much as possible in the decision-making process.

As far as possible, he seeks to obtain consensus on the decisions taken. He knows that sometimes it is up to him to decide, but he insists on giving everyone a voice.

Participatory leadership can be said to exist when the leader asks for and takes into account his team's comments on his decisions. But this is only the first degree of democratic leadership, as the leader may go so far as to let his team decide without consulting them.

Depending on the situation, the importance of the decision, and the complexity of the problem, the democratic leader will choose the right approach, but in all cases he will consult his team.

Leadership coach

A leader coach does not only see a person, he also sees what that person can become.

In this way, he helps his employees to develop and realize their potential. By making them grow, he makes the team better.

To do this, he adopts a medium-term vision. He guides his employees in identifying their strengths and areas for improvement, then creates a development plan aligned with their professional project, their aspirations and their desires.

Methodically, he agrees with them on the objectives to be reached and determines a concrete action plan to achieve them. He then accompanies them by giving them the necessary instructions and feedback.

He tries to pull each of them upwards by setting challenges and delegating interesting tasks. For him, failure is not a problem, just a step towards future success.

Read this article to discover the strengths and weaknesses of leadership coaching, as well as tips on how to use it to its best advantage.

Leadership leader

This type of leader leads by example. Very demanding of himself, he sets the bar extremely high and is very effective. He always wants to go faster and do better.

The only problem? He asks others to be as involved and efficient as he is... This can quickly become a problem because he doesn't accompany his teams very much and can lack patience with those who are less efficient.

Authoritarian leadership

The authoritarian leader reigns through fear. He does not ask, he orders.

He is the "old-fashioned" leader.

He wants his orders to be carried out immediately, hates to justify himself, and most of the time assiduously controls the work done.

He is not interested in human relations, nor does he want to transmit the vision; what he wants is for people to do what he says without arguing.
Conclusion: What are the different leadership styles and their effectiveness?
There are six leadership styles according to social scientist Daniel Goleman :

  • Visionary
  • Benevolent
  • Participatory
  • Coach
  • Leader
  • Authoritative

The best leaders alternate between styles depending on the situation, and, aware of their negative impact on the climate of a team, reserve the use of "leading" and "authoritative" styles for rare occasions.

Also, it is useful to note that these styles (non-leader and authoritative) can be adapted and used in situations where the leader does not have direct authority over the people they need to achieve their goals, get results, and realize their vision.

A leader who knows how to involve others in his or her vision, how to be caring, how to give voice to and take into account the opinions of colleagues, and how to help them achieve their vision, will have a much greater influence and ability to get those people working on the projects he or she is carrying out than someone who would not.

Now it's up to you!

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