What Kind of Leader Are You? 7 Business Leadership Styles and How to Become a Better Leader Katie Lundin | April 28th, 2017
What does it mean to be a leader?
Truthfully, there are as many answers to that question as there are leaders in the world. And, as an entrepreneur, manager or supervisor, it’s incredibly valuable to know your own leadership style- and to understand your own strengths and weaknesses.
The most successful leaders do share some common traits. For example, they avoid toxic behaviors that can destroy their teams. They’re good listeners. And they understand the difference between management and leadership.
Management is about manipulating resources to get a known job done … Managers manage a process they’ve seen before, and they react to the outside world, striving to make that process as fast and as cheap as possible. Leadership, on the other hand, is about creating a change that you believe in.
My thesaurus says the best synonym for leadership is management. Maybe that word used to fit, but no longer. Movements have leaders and movements make things happen.
Leaders have followers. Mananagers have employees.
Managers make widgets. Leaders make change.
Peter Drucker famously summarized this by stating that there’s a difference between doing things right (management) and doing the right things (leadership).
Both management and leadership are important, but of the two, leadership has a bigger impact on the success or failure of an organization. A recent Gallup article reveals that the single most important factor in determining whether your business’s work culture is good, bad or great, is leadership.
Remarkably, 70% of the variance between lousy, good and great cultures can be found in the knowledge, skills and talent of the team leader. Not the players, but the team leader. This is one of Gallup’s most profound workplace breakthroughs.
So, what kind of leader are you?
If you know the answer to this question, you can learn how to get the most out of your natural leadership style. Or maybe, you can even consider adopting a different style that better fits your personality, business or employees.
Here are seven of the most common leadership styles for entrepreneurs and small business owners:
The Autocratic Leader
The autocratic (or authoritative) leader is the stereotypical “bossy” boss. They make decisions on their own and lay down the law. Employees’ opinions are not welcome, but their obedience is required.
The autocratic leadership style isn’t as cut-and-dried as the stereotype would suggest. While it may not be the most diplomatic approach, there are definite benefits to this leadership style.
Pros – Effective autocratic leaders set clear guidelines so that their employees know what is expected of them. This creates a framework for employees to succeed by working toward their assigned goal within those set guidelines. This is particularly useful in situations when the leader is the most knowledgeable person in the group.
Autocratic leadership also allows for rapid decision-making and decisive action since there’s no need to consult or debate with others. It also establishes a consistent vision for the company- the autocrat’s vision.
While authoritarian leadership certainly is not the best choice for each and every situation, it can be effective and beneficial in cases where followers need a great deal of direction and where rules and standards must be followed to the letter.
Cons – The downside to autocratic leadership is that it can leave employees feeling unheard and disrespected. As a result, it’s been found to quash creative thinking in the workplace. Kendra Cherry of Very Well says of autocratic leadership,
…it tends to create dysfunctional and even hostile environments, often pitting followers against the domineering leader.