“Leaders become great not because of their power, they become great because of their ability to empower others”
Have you ever heard of a leader setting out with a goal of becoming a leader? Good leaders do not set out to become leaders, they set out to make a difference. To such, it’s never about the role, its about the goal. It is in fact the way in which a leader accomplishes the goal or purpose.
Leadership is about influencing people so that they will strive willingly towards the achievement of group goals. Most people in organisations assume leadership positions, not by virtue of their abilities but by their experience as managers.
Though managers and leaders have a common role to play in their roles, their style of thinking and operating sets them apart. In fact it also paves the way for their individual and organisational success.
The primary role of managers is to facilitate the success of the goal. This they achieve by making sure the right resources are available at the right time to the right people.
They make sure systems and processes are in place to ensure individuals and teams are equipped to take up their job and succeed in it. They foresee challenges and work towards solutions to enable people overcome the same.
On the other hand, leaders may or may not have titles in the organisation. Anyone who has the ability and the strength to think of innovative and creative solutions, work towards a bigger goal and empower people along is a leader. The typical four styles of leadership are:
Supporting: This style predominantly is low on direction and high on support. Leaders with such style are easily approachable. They are the people’s leader. They blend well with teams, show concern and empathy towards team matters and issues.
They believe in the strengths of teams and believe in collective decisions rather than a top-down approach. This kind of leaders automatically earn the respect of teams.
They are usually quite liberal with compliments, they meet teams often and prefer working in groups. This style of leadership may not work well for all kinds of employees, though it works extremely well for those who are highly competent though variable in commitment.
Delegating: This style of behaviour predominantly is low on direction and low on supportive. Leaders with such style can easily delegate. They can take up more work because of their ability to delegate across teams, because of the training imparted and the trust the leader has in his teams.
This leadership style works well when the teams are highly competent and are highly committed. The teams can work with little supervision.
The challenge with this kind of leadership is that the leader may at times fail to support the team enough as one may feel that the team will figure out solutions.
Continued working under such leadership style may make the teams feel less valuable.
Directing: This style of leadership is high on directive and low on support. It is usually taken as the dictatorship style of leadership, which may not always be the case.
This style is usually adopted by those who are very clear on the objectives or the goals to be achieved, who are good at putting processes, structures and defining the roles of the teams.
However, this leadership style is most appropriate when the followers have low willingness and low ability for the task at hand. Leaders adopting this style take decisions that are in the best interest of the goal and inform such decisions to the teams.
The focus is on the success of the goal or task on hand. This is a top down approach and can lead suffocation in the teams if the leader does not consciously communicate with the teams and improve the team’s ability.
Coaching: This style of leadership is high on directive and high on support. It is usually adopted when teams are highly motivated and willing but do not have the required ability to perform in their roles.
Leaders who adopt this style, are still in complete control of the goal, they define the role, the processes and structures but they adopt a more participative approach where the teams are involved if not equally in the decision making process.
The leaders use situations to coach and bring out the strengths in the team. While succeeding in the goals or a task is a priority, the leader also focuses on grooming the teams to be able to handle challenges in the future.
The leader spends time listening, advising, mentoring and giving opportunities for the teams to perform.
Each style has its own ups and downs. It is important for you to identify your own strengths, what you are good at, more importantly what you are not good at, and who are the people whom you work.
The situations where one leadership style works may not work in others. So there is no one way to succeed as a leader, constantly keep innovating and improving yourself to bring in the best in you and others.
Remember leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure the impact lasts even in your absence.
Sriram is the founder and chief mentor at Kuza Biashara Limited. Sri chairs Entrepreneurs’ Organisation for Africa. He can be reached @Sbharatam or firstname.lastname@example.org.
source : http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/corporate/Leadership-styles-to-help-you-achieve-business-goals/539550-2861616-487cmi/index.html