The concept of leadership in the business world is paramount. Leaders are responsible for directing and managing people, teams and projects, and their leadership style can greatly influence the success of the business. There are different leadership styles, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Leaders need to understand how their leadership style can affect their team and their company. In this article, we explain what leadership is, the different styles, and how to know your leadership style.
What is leadership?
Leadership is a complex and multifaceted concept that encompasses the ability to lead, influence and motivate others to achieve a common goal. It is an interactive process between leaders and their team, requiring the ability to communicate effectively, make strategic decisions and manage interpersonal relationships.
Leadership is not reserved for business leaders or top executives but can be found in all aspects of daily life, whether at home, at school, or in non-profit organizations. Ultimately, leadership is the ability to get things done and mobilize people to achieve a common goal.
What is the difference between leader and leadership?
Although the terms leader and leadership are often used interchangeably, there are some differences between the two:
- A leader is a person; leadership is a process.
- A leader demonstrates qualities and traits necessary to lead others, while leadership is the application of these qualities to achieve common goals.
- A leader is a person who guides and influences others, while leadership is the sum of all the actions, behaviours and skills that give the leader the tools to guide their team.
- Leadership is a skill that can be developed and improved with time and experience, while a leader may intrinsically be one.
- A leader may be charismatic, an expert in their field, or simply a person who can make decisions and communicate effectively, while leadership involves specific skills such as effective communication, strategic decision-making, problem-solving, conflict management, creating positive interpersonal relationships, and the ability to inspire and motivate others.
While some people may be naturally gifted in leadership, it is also possible to develop the skills necessary to become a good leader. Leadership is an ongoing process that requires practice, learning and constant improvement.
What is the purpose of leadership?
The purpose of leadership is to guide and motivate team members to work together to achieve a global vision. It aims to inspire and influence team members to do their best and achieve their ambitions.
Leadership plays a crucial role in achieving organizational goals, as it can make the difference between success and failure in an organization. True leaders can create a clear vision of where they want to go and mobilize their team members to work together to get there.
One of the key objectives of leadership is to stimulate the motivation and commitment of team members. A good leader can create a positive work environment that encourages team members to excel and work together to achieve goals. They are also able to recognize and reward the contributions of team members in order to increase their motivation.
In addition, leadership aims to foster the professional and personal development of team members. By providing constructive feedback, leaders enable employees to identify their strengths and weaknesses and develop key skills to achieve their professional goals.
Finally, the ultimate goal of leadership is to create a culture of excellence and innovation within the organization by creating an environment that fosters creativity and innovation and encourages the adoption of new ideas and approaches to succeed and adapt to market changes.
What are the different leadership styles?
The different leadership styles may reflect the leader’s choices and preferences in communication, decision making and team management, but also the economic situation of the company or the market, such as in times of crisis.
The authoritarian leader
The authoritarian leader, also known as directive leadership, is a command-based leadership style in which the leader has total control over the decisions and actions of the team. This leadership style can be effective in times of crisis when decisions must be made quickly or to address rapid change. However, it can be counterproductive in the long run, as it can lead to decreased motivation and dissatisfaction among team members.
The Participative Leader
The participative leader is the democratic leadership style that creates consensus through participation and collective intelligence. The leader works closely with their team to make decisions and solve problems. This leadership style fosters participation and promotes team members’ creativity, leading to better performance and improved motivation, commitment and employee loyalty.
The Delegative Leader
The delegative leader, also known as laissez-faire leadership, is a leadership style that relies on delegation and initiative from team members. It is a relevant choice in highly skilled and autonomous teams where employees are aware of their responsibility. However, it can also lead to unclear leadership or a lack of direction.
The Head Leader
The head leader style is one that is less authoritative, but characterized by impatience. The head leader sets high standards in terms of performance and demands. They also tend to scold employees who lack confidence. It is a style that is sought after to get quick results from a high-performance team.
The Visionary Leader
In the visionary leadership style, the leader creates an overall vision and inspires team members to work together to achieve a goal. For many, this is the ideal style. It inspires the collective and the individual by encouraging creativity and innovation.
The Collaborative Leader
The collaborative leader builds emotional bonds and fosters a team approach to cohesion, well-being and development. The leader then encourages open communication and collective problem solving. This style is sought after to resolve conflicts, develop team spirit and foster cooperation between individuals.
The Leader Coach
In this style, the leader encourages the professional and personal development of team members by providing guidance and resources to help them achieve their ambitions. They focus on strengths and talents to encourage self-confidence and risk taking.
What do the experts say about leadership styles?
Today, it is recognized that each of these styles can have a place at some point in the life of an organization. However, research tends to show that leadership styles can be summarized into two broad categories: transactional and transformational leaders.
The Transactional Leader
Leaders who favour the “transactional” style opt for a more traditional management approach that emphasizes supervision, organization and performance management. Good employees are rewarded (reinforcements) while those who do not meet expectations are reprimanded or punished. It is therefore a “transaction” between employees who perform the work required and the superior who recognizes or reinforces the expected behaviours. Control systems (auditing) are implemented and ensure that the relationships between the players (hierarchy) are transparent. The leader provides guidelines for employees to perform their work within well-defined guidelines (discipline).
The Transformational Leader
Leaders who favour a “transformational” style exert their influence by fostering employee commitment to organizational goals. They focus on empowering their employees. Power is shared with employees who come to respect and trust them. Transformational leaders (1) act as role models for their employees (2) motivate them by offering an inspiring vision of the future (3) stimulate their innovation and creativity by challenging preconceived ideas and (4) act as coaches for each employee.
What is the best leadership style?
No one leadership style is universally considered the best, as each style has its advantages and disadvantages, and each situation requires a different leadership style.
However, the transformational leadership style is usually considered the preferred leadership style. Visionary leaders are individuals who have a clear vision of the organization’s future are able to communicate that vision with conviction and inspire team members to work together to achieve it.
These are often inspiring and motivating individuals who can transform an organization. By creating an environment where team members are encouraged to be creative and innovative, the transformational leader can help the organization achieve exceptional levels of performance. The transformational leader often has a strong influence on the culture of the organization and can guide it in a positive direction.
What are the 5 levels of leadership?
The first level of leadership is positional. Leaders at this level have been appointed to a position of leadership, but they have not yet earned the respect or commitment of their team members. Team members follow the leader simply because they are obligated to do so under their position.
At the second level, leaders begin to gain the respect and trust of their team members. They have developed a trusting relationship with them and have begun to build personal relationships. Team members follow the leader because they want to, not because they have to.
At the third level, leaders have begun to produce tangible results. Team members follow the leader because they know they are capable of achieving the goals set and leading the team to success.
At the fourth level, leaders have earned the respect and admiration of their team members. They have become respected and valued leaders because of their character, integrity and personality. Team members follow the leader because they trust the leader and their judgement.
At the final level, leaders have reached the ultimate level. They have succeeded in positively influencing the lives of others and have earned the respect and admiration of people outside their organization. Their team members follow the leader not only for the results they produce but also for who they are and what they stand for.
By understanding John Maxwell’s five levels of leadership, leaders can assess their own level of leadership and work to advance to the next level. Leaders who have reached the level of the respected person have a lasting impact on their organization as well as the people around them.
How to find your leadership style?
Here are some tips for finding your leadership style:
- Assess your personality and values: By understanding what is important to you, you can find the leadership style that best resonates with your personality and values.
- Assess your leadership skills: It is important to understand your leadership skills to identify areas for improvement. Ask for honest and constructive feedback from your colleagues and team members to understand your strengths and weaknesses as a leader.
- Experiment with different leadership styles: Try experimenting with different leadership styles to find the one that works best.
- Be authentic: The most effective leadership style is the authentic one. Be yourself and use your personality and skills to guide your leadership style.
How do you measure your leadership skills?
The ID-Leadership Test is an excellent assessment tool that accurately measures key aspects of leadership needed for recruitment, succession development and coaching. Based on the latest leadership theories, this questionnaire assesses essential leadership factors such as leadership style, source of motivation, purpose and suitability for work environments.
Test ID-Leadership (Ldr) is designed to help you see the leadership experience of your candidates, assess their potential and obtain suggestions for concrete development and coaching actions.