Much is written about the different leadership styles and the relative merits of one style over another. In truth when it comes down to it most leadership styles can be condensed into 3 main categories.
Those that are predominantly directive and perhaps seen as slightly authoritative.
Those where the focus is predominantly around involving others especially in relation to key decisions.
Those where it is a very hands off style where you let people know what you want and get out of the way.
While there are many different styles available to you, to a large extent the style you adopt will very much depend on the situation or circumstances.
In those cases where you have a genuine emergency or urgency a more directive style might be wholly appropriate. Take for example a fire alarm going off in a building you work in. The priority is to get people out and to safety. So to direct them to do so so makes perfect sense.
On the other hand imagine you are trying to make some major change. In those situations you are going to have to listen a lot, consult, get others ideas so participation might be more appropriate.
In another situation you might have a team of highly competent people who don’t need step by step instructions. They are already highly skilled so you can empower them.
Of course our own preferences will also influence our default leadership style. Some people have to feel in control while others are totally fine with being hands off. It is neither good nor bad that you have a preference you just need to be alert to how it might be helping or hindering your results.
The Bottom Line: Your leadership style is not something that is set in stone. It is all about being adaptable to the situations and circumstances you are trying to deal with.
Duncan Brodie of Goals and Achievements helps professionals to become highly effective leaders. He invites you to sign up for his free audio e-course
Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 7,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.