06 Sep

The importance of employing the correct leadership approach

leadership approach


Do you have a particular style when leading your team? Have a look at 5 different approaches to leadership.

There are numerous approaches to leadership that can be used to define your style of leading a team. If you’re still on the lookout for a leadership approach that works for you, then this article will certainly assist you in making the right decision.

The key thing to remember when determining your particular leadership style, is to consider your strengths and weaknesses and recognise which skills will need to be developed to lead a team efficiently and successfully. Challenges may arise and situations will have to be adapted to, but this is actually essential for a team to grow and achieve its goals successfully.

What is a leadership approach?
According to the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), a leadership style is the way an individual chooses to lead other people and how they use their power and authority.

The leadership approach you decide to take should be based on the following:

• Demands of the situation
• Staff requirements
• Challenges facing the organisation as a whole

For example, if a marketing team has to roll out a campaign for a potential client, there are certain leadership styles that will need to be adopted to ensure:

• The correct strategy is chosen
• All tasks are completed effectively and on time
• The campaign brings “something special” to attract the potential client for future projects

5 Leadership Approaches:

1. Autocratic Leadership
Perhaps the most traditional form of leadership, autocratic leadership holds all authority and power and makes decisions for the company without consulting employees. It is then up to employees to implement the strategy or task in a speedily fashion with little or no flexibility. This leadership has a library of pre-determined guidelines, procedures and policies that need to be followed religiously.

2. Democratic Leadership
A 180 degree change from the autocratic style, democratic leadership involves staff in the decision-making process and is centred on each contribution. While the democratic leader holds the final decision, staff are given authority to act and feel satisfied that their contribution makes a difference to the end result.

3. Strategic Leadership Style
A strategic leader makes decisions based on fundamental change in the organisation which can include solving potentially devastating problems or prescribing a set of habits that will increase the momentum of workflow.

A 2015 PwC study found that after analysing the leadership styles of over 6 000 senior executives, only 8% of them were pronounced strategic leaders. The study also found that women were more likely to be strategic leaders (10% of the women vs 7% of the men).

4. Transformational Leadership
Transformational leadership can often be thought of as ‘coaching leadership’ as it is all about initiating change in organisations, groups, the leader and others.

This type of leadership helps motivate staff from all levels to do more than they originally thought they could, usually through motivation from the leader.

Transformational leaders also set more challenging expectations, achieve higher performance and have committed and empowered staff.

5. Transactional Leadership
A popular leadership style, transactional leadership gives staff immediate and tangible rewards for completing certain tasks or projects. This form of leadership can sound like minimal effort on the leader’s part, however, the focus is on exchange and a task and reward type scenario.

Transactional leaders need to be clear, voice their expectations and provide feedback to staff on work performance and projects completed.


How to determine your own leadership approach
In truth, you can’t. Leadership approaches are designed with the employee and the situation at hand specifically in mind. The most appropriate form of leadership also depends on the functions of the leader and what they need to achieve.

There are, however, certain leadership and personality tests and assessments you can take to determine the type you may be at this current moment. These tests include Emotional Intelligence, Brain Hemisphere Dominance, Jungian Assessments (natural predispositions), Type A and B personality indicators, the VARK test, the New Enneagram test, etc.


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