There are eight established leadership styles, but four prove to be more successful than others. Before deciding on your style, it is important to look at the types of leadership styles that work best in certain organizational structures.
Start-ups are known for a laissez-faire leadership style. Employees are considered independent, and the organizational culture is built upon trust. The boss trusts that employees will finish projects in a timely manner, even though no firm deadlines are set. The boss trusts that employees will use their skills and seek help or professional development on their own.
While this leadership style works well in a start-up context, if the company is looking to scale up, then they should investigate other forms of leadership that hold employees accountable to specific deadlines and skills. Coach-style leadership is an effective alternative.
Coach-style leadership is exactly what it sounds like. Leaders with this style view employees as essential team players. The coach-style leader develops and encourages existing employee skills. The importance of collaboration and team coherence is stressed. For start-ups looking to scale up and maintain innovation, this style of leadership is usually effective.
Traditional Leadership Styles
Established enterprise-level companies rely on two forms of leadership. The first form, authoritative leadership, is an unsuccessful leadership style that has fallen out of favor. Trademarks of this style include lack of input from employees, and strict rule-following and protocols.
A slightly less severe traditional leadership style is bureaucratic leadership. This form of leadership is not the best when it comes to fostering innovation, however it is transparent. Everyone at the company understands the rules. If a person disagrees with the rules, or wishes to make suggestions, they are heard, but changes are rarely acted upon.
Mid-Size Company Leadership Styles
Mid-level companies aren’t heavily focused on company-wide innovation, but they are invested in productivity. Leaders in this context often choose to adopt transactional leadership styles. In this style, employees know what bonuses they will receive if they meet certain goals. It is advised that unexpected awards are introduced so that employees don’t learn how to game the reward system.
Whatever leadership style you choose to develop, it is important to assess how it might align with your company’s goals and structure.