“A good leader should be…”
This is an interesting question. Usually, we talk about leadership as a general term, but similar to people, there are different styles of leadership.
Leadership is a practice that is fluid. A good leader should be able to adapt his/her style to the situation at hand. Also, as we grow as leaders, our style may change.
OK, now we know that leadership styles are not set in stone, but that doesn’t answer the question “What is my leadership style?”
So what are the 8 leadership styles?
#1 Transformational Leadership
Always pushing the team for continuous improvement.
A transformational leader is constantly innovating/improving the way the team works. He/she has a growth mindset and is always pushing the boundaries of what the team can do. This type of leadership is highly encouraging for companies with the same growth mindset. Focus is on the outcome of what the team produces, not the output.
There is a pitfall tho. Transformation leaders might lose sight of their team members’ personal goals and learning curves. A transformational leader needs to be able to coach his/her teams properly to make sure he/she doesn’t lose his/her team.
2# Autocratic Leadership
In summary, the complete opposite of the democratic leader. When we talk about autocracy, the first image that comes to mind is a dictatorship, and that is pretty much it.
This style of leadership is reserved for those who don’t trust their team and think they know everything. No opinion is asked. No vote is done. People below the leader are there to work and do whatever they are told to do. Coders are there to code, testers are there to test. Managers do the thinking.
Fortunately, this style of leadership is not even considered leadership anymore. Nowadays we just call this old school management, and its fading away.
#3 Democratic LeadershiP
As the name says, democracy is the key. In this style of leadership, the leader makes the decision based on the input of the team. This works well and is often called the Bottom-Up approach.
Usually, problems or challenges are presented to the team. After everyone has an understanding of the problem or challenge, the leader opens a forum of discussion where everyone can share their concerns or ideas. When the discussion ends, the leader may choose to take their feedback and use it to make the decision or set up a vote for the all team to decide on the direction to take.
Although this leadership style is democratic, the leader is the one accountable for the decision. This also means that in the end, he/she has the final saying.
#6 Coach-Style Leadership
This style is similar to a sports team coach. The goal is to nurture the individual strengths of each team member. By doing so, you increase the overall strength of the team.
Instead of the common “T shape” ideology, this leader focuses on specialization. He/She believes that it is better to have different people in the team with different expertise.
A lot of the focus is on team building and team spirit. Focusing on improving each and every element of the team. Coaching them. Offering guidance. And providing constant feedback.
#5 Transactional Leadership
Most times we call them managers. This type of leadership is the one that rewards employee output. Sometimes even the outcome.
When you work with a transactional leader, it is common to receive an incentive plan. A career ladder. A clear plan of roles and responsibilities. And a list of what will be required from you in your current position.
A transactional leader may reward you from delivering all the stories in the sprint. On the other hand, a transformational leader would only reward you if those stories were delivering value to the customer. It is often called the carrot in front of the horse method. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying it doesn’t work, but there is a limit a horse will run to try and eat a carrot.
#6 Bureaucratic Leadership
Well, I saved one of the worst ones for last. Don’t get me wrong. Autocratic leadership is much worse, but this one is not far being. Unlike the autocratic leader, the bureaucratic one may ask for their team’s input. Just to quickly disregard it, if it doesn’t align with company policy.
This is the BY THE BOOK type of leader. If something falls out of the user manual, it cannot be done.
Unlike the autocratic leader, if you work with a bureaucratic one you may feel that it is less controlled. But this is only if what you do is BY THE BOOK. If you try to be innovative and think outside the box, well, let’s just say that it will not fly well with this leader.
So now that you know the 6 types of leaders out there, which one is the one that most suits you?