When it comes to being a leader, there are countless ways to go about doing your job. The problem that many leaders encounter is how to filter the many types of leadership in order to find the style best suited for them. In order to facilitate this process, it can help to categorize the various types of leadership into four general groups:
1) Directive leadership
In this particular style of leadership, the leader develops a highly structured environment, frequently equipped with very specific rules and procedures. The purpose for this is to ensure that the task is completed exactly as the leader desires.
The leaders that fall under the “directive leadership” category are useful mostly in situations where the followers prefer an authoritarian leader, or where the followers are inexperienced. This style is also useful when the task at hand is vague or complex or non-negotiable like in the army.
2) Supportive leadership
This approach leaves the majority of work and creativity to the followers, rather than to the leader. Leaders use this style when the work tasks are dangerous, tedious and stressful.
Supportive leadership is constructive when the leader trusts her followers, and is confident that the followers are capable of accomplishing the task at hand. It is also practical when the task is simple and does not require a lot of direction from the leader.
3) Participative leadership
Participative leadership is the type of leadership wherein the leader and the followers work together in decision making and goal setting. Leaders lean toward participative leadership when their focus is directed toward strengthening their team.
This style is appropriate when the assignment is complex, but feasible. It is useful when the leader seeks to engage her followers in order to broaden or exercise their abilities.
4) Achievement-oriented leadership
This style incorporates the “directive” and “supportive” types of leadership. It comes into play when the leader sets complex but achievable goals for her followers. Leaders may choose this style when seeking to obtain spectacular results from their followers.
It is ideal for simple tasks that still require structure and direction from the leader.
Given these four types of leadership, you are now more capable of making practical decisions based on your particular needs. It is not imperative that you choose only one style, as each of them can be useful in various situations. Which will you choose to employ?