Styles of Leadership

People have always been fascinated with the behaviour and characteristics of leaders. The body of knowledge that covers the subject is immense. My own experience leads me to believe that it is the impact that a leader has and the effect of that leadership that we most need to be concerned with. This impact is almost always the consequence of the style that the leader uses to move a team or individual forward toward a goal. As managers and leaders, there are many styles that you may wish to consider when leading teams.

Although not exhaustive, the following list represents a few practical leadership styles, condensed from the many, which are relatively easy to remember and apply.


Management by Objective
An approach where you set the objectives drawn from your vision and encourage the team or individual to use their own capabilities to reach those objectives. The outcomes should be challenging but not to the point of becoming overwhelming.


Management by Exception
This approach suggests that you have a light touch on the team, setting them an outcome and only intervening when you see that the outcome will not be reached.


Charismatic Influence
If your vision is one that generates passion and fulfils a motivating purpose that generates its own commitment. Many Not for Profit organisations use this style of leadership, but they are by no means alone.


Contingent Reward
Rewards are given based upon the people demonstrating the behaviours you want. Unfortunately compliance does not always reflect commitment and the reward may eventually no longer motivate.


Intellectual Challenge
Allow people to stretch themselves and feel a degree of self worth and achievement from using their own ideas.


Individual Consideration
This is an approach where you consider the needs of the individual rather than that of the team. Leadership here is often in the form of coaching and mentoring.


Deciding on the style to use is very much based upon your assessment of the individual or team and will require some emotional intelligence. It will reflect the way in which a person or team is motivated.

Often the style you choose will need to be tailored or a combination of styles may be needed in any given situation. Don’t be afraid to try different approaches.

Measure your success by the responses you get and any change in behaviour you see.

By reflecting on the style you choose and the impact you have you will be able to hone your leadership ability more easily.

Remember leadership is about moving people toward a goal and although the shortest distance is between 2 points is a straight line, the most interesting journeys tend to meander.

We all have opportunities to show some level of leadership. These leadership tools may give you are few options to perform that role more effectively.

Dare to Aspire

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