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Leadership Styles and Signatures...



What leadership style are you?

What leadership signature do you have and importantly, what is the difference?


Let's deal with the leadership style question first.


As you may be aware many different leadership styles are used when describing a leader. To keep this simple and to cover the most popular styles often attributed to leaders I have come up with the following list of four predominant types:

  1. Authoritative: leadership refers to a management style where the leader is in complete control. An authoritarian leader sets the goals, determines the processes and oversees all steps it takes to reach those goals with little or no input from team members.

  2. Affiliative: leadership adopts a people-first approach and is usually effective when there's a need to mend bad feelings in a group or motivate others during heavy workloads and stress. It is also the task of an affiliative leader to create harmony in the workplace generally.

  3. Democratic: leadership is a style of participant leadership, a leadership style in which group members take a more participative role in the decision-making process. Employees meet to discuss and resolve issues by giving everyone some opportunity to contribute to decisions.

  4. Coaching: leadership is a style that involves recognizing team members' strengths, weaknesses and motivations to help each individual improve. It is characterized by the use of open questions to allow people to self-reflect and arrive at their answers and solutions as well as developing clear and transparent communication and feedback loops to drive proactive change.

When looking at these styles it would be most likely that you may align with one style more than the others and this is true of most leaders and individuals. You may recognise it as your dominant trait.


However, the real skill is to be able to know when to dial back your dominant trait and activate other styles to enable you to get the best outcome at the time in the most efficient way.


Now let's look briefly at the concept of your leadership "signature".

Broadly, speaking this can be how you amalgamate the different leadership styles we have discussed into something unique to you...your 'signature' leadership style if you will.


It would be a worthwhile investment of your time to take a moment and reflect on what qualities or characteristics you would want your signature leadership style to say about you and then ask some people you lead what they would say are your signature traits, strengths and vulnerabilities.


Now the fun begins...especially if the responses are different.


NB: I have also provided a link below to an article by Daniel Goleman on leadership results where he provides some insights into more emerging leadership styles.

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