There is no single, universal way to lead a team, and all business leaders naturally have different approaches to managing and directing their own teams to success. A fluid and flexible approach may work best the majority of the time, yet certain situations will undoubtedly demand a rethink and a new approach – something that could be difficult to handle, depending on your natural leadership style.
Being adaptable and take a variety of approaches depending on the situation and the individual staff you are dealing with is undoubtedly a good basic rule of thumb but there is a lot of room for manouerve within that scope and while you may cope well in certain situations, you may find yourself out of your comfort zone or how best to proceed from time-to-time. Knowing what your natural leadership style is will help you to pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses as a leader, where you thrive and where you are more prone to stumbling. Having this insight allows you to develop into a well-rounded and successful leader.
If you have an autocratic leadership style, you like your team to do things exactly your way, focus on the details, and have strict deadlines. This is great when dealing with employees who miss deadlines, or you need to resolve conflict and make decisions quickly.
However, autocratic leaders can exhaust their workers by being demanding, so it is important to explain why you put certain decisions and processes in place. This will encourage your team to follow your direction or at least better understand your reasoning.
Democratic leaders listen to their staff and look for valuable insight, but always make the final decision themselves. This open and flexible form of leadership is one that many employees respond well too.
However, democratic leaders often struggle with making fast decisions in high-pressure situations as all choices are usually made as a collaborative effort. Therefore, you must realise when your team needs to be involved with your decision making and when you need to take the lead.
The final approach is to take a delegating leadership style whereby you let your team make their own decisions and enjoy the creativity and freedom that comes with it. This helps to empower your team, encourages growth, and gives you more time to organise other things.
The downside of having a delegating leadership style is that if your staff are not experienced enough to make important decisions, your business can become chaotic. If you have a large team with multiple opposing views, it can also lead to conflict between employees.
A way to avoid this is by delegating specific, highly motivated, knowledgeable staff to make decisions, meaning you can still manage with a hands-off approach with less chance of disarray.
What’s your leadership style?