You walk into work. It’s 9.01. You’re late, by a minute. Never mind the fact that you have been at work at least fifteen minutes early every day for the last year. But it’s a big deal. Your boss explodes and starts ranting about punctuality and how disrespectful you are as an employee. You can’t believe it. Didn’t you stay late last Friday to finish off tasks for Monday, when everyone else went out for drinks? How about the fact that you will work through lunch if you have to or pick up the slack when a colleague is away? Your boss has such a short memory…
Is this your experience? Or have you had an experience like this – where the boss only sees what’s wrong, and never acknowledges what’s right? This is an example of ‘Command and control’ leadership. Leadership like this is not the way of the future.
Throughout my working life I’ve encountered many different leadership styles. Command and control is just one of them, and let me tell you, I do not work well under this kind of leadership (and I imagine most people do not).
To what leadership style do you respond best? Here are a few leadership styles to get you thinking…
- Transactional Leadership is focused on goals, objectives, organisation and structure. A transactional leader monitors the performance of team members, and clearly explains roles and responsibilities.
- Transformational Leadership is a style where leaders provide support and recognition. A transformational leader sets clear goals and high expectations. They inspire others and encourage people to be the best they can be.
- Laissez-Faire Leadership is a delegative style of leadership however, provides very little guidance. A Laissez-Faire leader offers tools and resources required to complete the task, however, team members are expected to solve problems on their own. The leader will still take responsibility for the group’s decisions and actions though.
- Charismatic Leadership is a style where leaders know how to inspire and motivate a team. A charismatic leader wins a team over with his/her personality and charm, rather than power or authority. These kinds of leaders are good at paying attention to their team, and pick up on emotions and concerns affecting both individual team members and the team as a whole.
Different leadership styles can play a significant role in how you respond to and perform at work. It affects how you feel about going to work each morning, how productive you are when you get there and your sense of value. It is important for leaders to know how much of an impact, either positive or negative, their behaviour can have on the team’s performance.
If we are in a leadership position, we have a responsibility to be the best we can be. Yet, we may sometimes demonstrate a certain leadership style that we are not aware of, and that does not yield results. It is important to encourage honest, open dialogue with team members so that we can better see our blind spots and make positive changes. The better we are as leaders, the more team members can trust us and are inspired to perform at their best.
Tara Ridsdale – THINKA Co-founder, Design