The way you manage your employees has a great impact on the way they respond and how work is completed in your business. At the end of the day, the main objective is to see results and to help a company grow. The goal is to embody a leadership style that encourages employee satisfaction and maximizes productivity for the company, but it can be challenging to figure out what that is exactly.
While the following leadership styles can be linked to certain types of businesses, the biggest factors that determine a leader’s success are effective communication, knowledge authority on the product or service being sold, and delivering results. By understanding business styles and the environments and conditions where they are most likely to be effective, it can be easier for you to decide how you may want to run your own.
For Repetitive Tasks and Dangerous Scenarios
While many businesses may value the autonomy and creativity of their employees, sometimes there is little wiggle room for even the smallest errors. Take for example an assembly line that requires all products to be identical, mechanically sound, or reliable. Also, consider a high-risk scenario such as soldiers on the battlefield that likely need to follow commands in order to keep the group safe.
In these situations, an autocratic leadership style, which encourages that employees follow a superior’s demands quickly and precisely, is likely to be adopted. However, given the high-stress environment, repetitiveness, and low tolerance for mistakes, those who crave creative freedom or flexibility are likely to commit or remain loyal. The autocratic style can be compared to the promotion-based bureaucratic leadership style that must also follow strict guidelines as dictated by an organization.
For Results-Based Systems
While not as strict with procedural demands as autocratic leadership models, a transactional style is favored for business models that require concrete, measurable results. When employees produce those results and are top performers for their companies, they are handsomely rewarded typically in the form of commissions or bonuses. However, those who fail to meet goals will experience consequences that can have a financial or emotional toll. While this style is perceived as dry or less personable, many tend to favor it for being straightforward and effective for employees that don’t mind following a set system.
For Creativity and Innovation
When business thrives on creating a product that is innovative or unique, transformational leadership styles tend to be the best strategies to use. This is because they encourage employees to think outside of the box, versus adhering to strict procedures. This style works best with leaders that are inspiring, charismatic, and who have a genuine, intrinsic motivation for the success of the company. Since the big picture is prioritized and unconventional methods might be used, businesses that must focus primarily on details might not be compatible with this style. However, for larger organizations, mulling over the details and routine daily operations might be left to lower management and a separate leadership style.
When Leaders Rely on Employee Input
In some instances, leaders may need to play the role of a collaborator versus a dictator. While leaders may steer the focus in a certain direction, they must treat each employee with mutual respect and use their input to guide the decisions of the company each step of the way. In participant leadership, a strong sense of trust and rapport may be observed between management and employees regardless of rank or position. While these interactions can feel rewarding and respectful, allowing the input of multiple people is likely to result in slower processing time. Therefore, it may not be an ideal leadership style for fast-paced work environments.
When Collaborators Are Self-Driven and Need Little Direction
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum from a controlling leadership style is a laissez-faire one where management only needs to put in minimal effort to influence staff productivity. If employees or collaborators are self-motivated and already possess the skills or talent necessary to deliver results, this style can be ideal, and like transformational leadership, can encourage creativity and innovation. However, if employees need guidance, educational opportunities, and constant oversight, the freedom that comes with a hands-off approach can foster a work environment that is stagnant or unproductive.
When Flexibility Is Key
The best part of being a leader is that you are put in a position to make tough decisions and have the authority to make the changes necessary to see a company grow. Though the different leadership styles may be associated with certain work environments, the choice is ultimately yours to make.
This may mean managing your staff unconventionally, choosing a blend of methods, or shifting between styles to meet the evolving needs of your company. Though leaders are typically put in place to provide guidance, they too are constantly learning to meet the demands of the industries for which they work.
As long as leaders and employees have clear communication, mutual respect, and an understanding of the company’s goals, success is likely to follow.