What’s the Best Leadership Style?

What's the Best Leadership Style?

What’s the Best Leadership Style?

It’s probably a pretty good assumption that as a business owner you’ll never have to give an employee a life or death order. Or make a life or death decision. Thankfully very few professions compel leaders to make decisions and give orders that could lead to a subordinate’s deaths.

A military leader and a business leader are not faced with the same extremes, yet they are faced with life and death matters. In the military decisions about life and death refer to human beings. In business, decisions about life and death refer to your business.

It would seem therefore, that leadership styles needed for the military would be different than those needed in business. I don’t agree with this assumption.

Early in my life, the military defined leaders as either authoritarian or democratic.

The authoritarian leader was the type of leader who would make all the decisions. An authoritarian leader doesn’t seek feedback from their subordinates. They expect their people to follow orders blindly and without question. An authoritarian leader doesn’t really care about her people; she sees them as a means to an end.

The democratic leader is one who asks for feedback. She wants to know what her people think and whether they have a better solution to challenger. Democratic leaders know their people, their strengths, and their weaknesses. A democratic leader knows if she takes care of her people, they’ll take care of her.

The Best Leadership Style

As my leadership education matured, I soon learned a good leader was actually a combination of both the authoritarian and democratic leader. Under most day-to-day circumstances a leader will be democratic. In certain environments and under certain circumstances a leader needs to be authoritarian.

It should be pretty obvious that a full-time authoritarian business leader will probably have a high turnover of employees. On the other hand, a full time democratic leader can have just as high a turnover rate. All too often being a democratic leader means a leader who cannot make decisions. They’re good with people, but when it comes to guidance and decision-making, they fall short.

What’s the best combination? A leader who knows his people is important. Understanding their strengths and weaknesses means the leader can be sure they’re achieving and working toward their strengths. How can you know their strengths or weaknesses? That’s where the questions from last week come in.

If you could answer four or more of the questions about each of your employees, congratulations! You’re probably a leader. You cannot be a true leader; one who inspires others to follow you example if you don’t know your people.

And that’s the first principle of leadership: LEAD BY EXAMPLE

More about leadership by example next week.

Here’s to your success!

Photo courtesy of http://www.executive-coaching-services.co.uk/leadership-training.html
Keith is the resident writer and troublemaker at Empowered Pros.
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