Leadership styles can affect every aspect of the team. Needless to say, it’s important to know what kind of leader you want to be. I graduated high school last year from the French school. Looking back now, I can analyze what kind of leadership styles each teacher had, and it’s interesting to figure out why I may not have liked certain teachers as much as others. It offers an insight as to what leadership style I enjoy most and what other people seemed to get the most out of as well.

WHAT IS THE BEST LEADERSHIP STYLE, FREDDIE?

Well, let me tell you. There’s a lot of ways to define leadership styles. There’s no standard. Psychologist Kurt Lewin developed the Lewin’s Leadership Style Framework in the 1930’s, and it provided a foundation for recognizing different leadership styles. He listed three major styles of leadership:

  1. Autocratic leaders make decisions without consulting their team members. Good to make decisions quickly. However, this style can be demoralizing, and it can lead to a lot of staff turnover. Appropriate for high risk jobs .
  2. Democratic leaders make the final decisions, but they include team members in the decision-making process. This engages people with projects. Not ideal for when you need to make a quick decision.
  3. Laissez-faire leaders give their team members a lot of freedom in how they do their work, and how they set their deadlines. If team members don’t manage their time well, or if they don’t have the knowledge, skills, or self motivation to do their work effectively, this style cannot work.

Each style has their own pros and cons. They need to be well analyzed before being used in any situation. There have been many methods to help determine leadership styles developed over the years (e.g The Blake-Mouton Managerial Grid, Path-Goal Theory, Flamholtz and Randle’s Leadership Style Matrix, etc.). Those three styles from Lewin are usually elaborated on in other, newer lists. For instance in the Path-Goal Theory the list is Directive, Supportive, Participative or Achievement oriented, however the general style of leadership across all frameworks that seems to be most popular is…

TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERS

leadership styles

fact: fire uses transformational leadership.

“Transformational leadership is a style of leadership where a leader works with subordinates to identify needed change, creating a vision to guide the change through inspiration, and executing the change in tandem with committed members of a group.”

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“Transformational leaders have integrity and high emotional intelligence. They motivate people with a shared vision of the future, and they communicate well… Transformational leaders inspire their team members because they expect the best from everyone, and they hold themselves accountable for their actions.”

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This leadership style is highly effective in a lot of situations. It has the leader working with their team, it helps keep morale high, and it keeps the leader innovative. Transformational leadership is defined by four components.

  1. Idealized Influence
    1. the leader serves as an ideal role model for followers
  2. Inspirational Motivation
    1. transformational leaders have the ability to inspire and motivate followers.
  3. Individualized Consideration
    1. transformational leaders demonstrate genuine concern for the needs and feelings of followers.
  4. Intellectual Stimulation
    1. the leader challenges followers to be innovative and creative.

This style of leadership is used by many influential people, such as Nelson Mandela, Franklin Roosevelt, and Bill Gates. People will follow a person who inspires them, therefore a  person with vision and passion can achieve great things.

PAST LEADERS 

Throughout school, I’ve experienced a lot of leadership styles. My favorite teachers were all transformational leaders. For example, during my senior year, one teacher was teaching a class he didn’t specialize in. He said that even though the students were more knowledgeable on the subject, he still wanted to learn along with us. He let us help build the curriculum by letting us suggest project ideas. It inspired us to come up with Raspberry Pi projects, building a bow for an arrow shooting competition and disassembling lawn mower engines. It was the most I had learned in all my years of school. Everyday that semester it was the only class I’d look forward to.

However, I didn’t respond well to bureaucratic leadership. Teachers that were so by the book everyone would dread their class, just painfully sitting through useless classes about nothing is not worth the time. Teachers that would just hand out worksheets like candy, not guiding us when we would ask for help (that’s not a joke, one teacher only answered questions with more questions). I had lower grades with these types of leadership styles, and definitely less fun.

By looking back and finding out generally what kind of leadership style I preferred throughout high school, I can better formulate my own style for when I am a multi-billionaire business tycoon (and everything in between). Transformational leadership is the way to go.  I want to have an active role, and help my team members as much as I can. I want to take input from team members, and I want us to succeed and innovate.

1 thought on “Leadership styles are important to be cognizant about.”

By it’s nature, leadership is often a one to many role. However, how does leadership address the issue when those they lead respond to different leadership archetypes, some the leader may not posses or be comfortable assuming? This can me an issue especially early on in startup life where the limited number of employees mean there is only one small hierarchy and limited chance for delegation or subdivision to align role expectations.

A wonderful part of the startup culture is not just the explosive growth that the business can undergo, but also it’s employees. Project processes must remain fluid and adaptable, but the people (leaders and employees alike) must also be open to change, and be willing to test their limits (mental, physical, or sometimes emotional). Empathy towards users has been a major point of modern UX approach, but empathy to coworkers and leadership is also required where different mental models, like leadership styles, don’t always align. Communication is key, and both sides need to be working towards the goals of the project, and not fall into the trap of fighting for the preference of their own comfort zone.


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