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August 3, 2016

Leadership Styles: What's Best?

Keith Jackson


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Do you look out of your office, see your underlings hard at work, and think to yourself, "What a great example of leadership I embody! Look at these people beavering away for me. I inspire them and they look up to me!"

If so, chances are you might be surprised by what they really think! And by what gets muttered about you through clenched teeth on the "shop floor."

We've probably all got stories to tell about the leaders, and leadership styles, that we've encountered in our lives and careers. But for every boss or leader who you'd walk through walls for, there's likely far more who you wanted to put through a wall.

There are organizations where the leadership manual is obviously little more than a handbook on the use of fear and intimidation, and where some leaders see bullying as a legitimate means of getting quick results.

Happily, there are also workplaces where you don't hear, "Go!" bellowed by a distant authority figure. Instead, you hear "Let's go!" from someone at your side when the going gets tough.

We asked you - our friends, followers and contacts across our social media channels - to tell us about your experiences of different leadership styles. We asked, "What leadership style have you found to be most effective?"

As always, you responded with great knowledge and enthusiasm, and we are grateful to everyone who took the time to reply and share their tips and views.

Several well-established and popular leadership styles had their advocates. Transformational Leadership, Servant Leadership and Authentic Leadership were mentioned numerous times.

But Facebook friend Mac McCaskill, a retired claims adjuster from Aberdeen, Scotland, kicked off the discussion with a rather strong-arm approach to leadership, when he wrote, "The beatings will continue until morale improves!" I'm sure a few of us can relate that!

Project manager and professional coach Robert Ogilvie argued for transformational leadership. He said, "It is very effective and evidence-based. By establishing a good culture of trust, you commit to delegating and sharing workloads and developing/training others to enhance the overall capacity of the organization."

Johnny Salguero Ycaza, from Ecuador, argued that there is no one effective leadership style. He said, "Use the right style at the appropriate time, based on what the situation requires." Marie Aston, a project manager from Gloucestershire, U.K., agreed, saying, "Leadership style should be matched to the development needs of the individual at any particular time, for any particular task." LinkedIn contributor Kathy Miller, a business growth specialist from Michigan, U.S., said: "I'm a big proponent of situational leadership - having the ability to flex one's style depending on the audience and the situation."

Business and IT consultant Balakumaraa Puvanendran, from Colombo, Sri Lanka, outlined a detailed case for adopting servant leadership. He said, "Servant leadership is a set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organizations, and ultimately creates a more just and caring world. A servant leader does not take advantage of his/her power and his status by forcing others to comply. He/she rather tries to convince them."

Our Twitter followers were also active in the discussion. Here is a selection of their views:

  • @m1dunkle: "Transformational works for me; empowering colleagues is vital."
  • @boomingperform: "A coaching leader approach, as long as they shift to "tell" where necessary."
  • @SportsMindCoach: "I lean towards a collaborative approach within sport as the knowledge and ability of the group develops."

Thank you once again to everyone who contributed to the discussion. And you can still share your thoughts and views on different leadership styles in the comments section, below.

I'll leave you with this motivational gem from one of my previous bosses, "I don't know why you're taking this so seriously, we'll have a robot to do your job soon!"


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One comment on “Leadership Styles: What's Best?”

  1. nice article i enjoyed reading it, An important part of success in life is the ability to lead. It is important that we not only be able to lead others but be willing to lead ourselves. No one succeeds in life by simply following others. Sometimes we simply must strike a bold new path for ourselves.
    Being a good leader is more than simply being at the forefront of the crowd. A leader must act. Too often in America, we simply accept that someone looks or sounds like a leader and too rarely do we actually look at the actions that leader performs -- and that is the true test of leadership.
    However, in order to become good leaders ourselves, we need to concentrate on actions rather than simple appearances.

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