You might be tempted to believe that leadership is about you. It’s about you reaching a certain goal in your career path, receiving a certain title, proving your capabilities. Yes, there are many qualities you possess that put you in a position of leadership. But ultimately, leadership—effective leadership—is not about you. It’s about the people you are leading. Your employees should help you identify a leadership style that is sure to be effective. Not because that’s the style you’re most dedicated to or the style that naturally fits your personality, but because it’s the style that meets the needs of your followers. Consider a past leader that has impacted you the most. What was it about them that made you want to follow them? Perhaps it’s because they motivated you personally—as if they were leading you specifically. Before you can better understand those you are leading, let’s discover the four primary styles of leadership.
4 Leadership Styles
The four primary styles of leadership indicate that no style is better or more effective than the other. It doesn’t highlight a specific style or raise up a particular kind of person. Instead, it shows how different people are. How different styles of leadership are necessary to successfully lead different kinds of people.
- Diplomats: This style values harmony above all else. Diplomats are dedicated to preserving unity and keeping the group together, encouraging interpersonal relationships. Diplomats are typically kind, social, and connect deeply with their employees.
- Stewards: Rules, processes, and cooperation are most important to these leaders. Stewards believe that the team is only as strong as its weakest link. To guarantee cooperation from every member of the team, Stewards will only go as fast as the “weakest link” allows. This leadership style celebrates consistency and every member knowing exactly what’s expected of them.
- Pragmatists: This style values achieving goals above all else. With a “high risk equals high reward” mentality, these leaders will forge a path through tough obstacles and lead their team to new heights. Pragmatists are known for having high expectations for themselves and those following them.
- Idealists: Creativity and growth mean the most to Idealists. These leaders are open-minded and care about how they and their team are learning and growing. Idealists are charismatic and intuitive, drawing others to themselves. They are visionaries who see the big picture and genuinely believe it’s possible to achieve grand destinations others aren’t sure about.
How to Know Which Style to Use
How do you know which leadership style will impact your team most effectively? Ask! Talk to your employees individually to better understand what motivates them, what their goals are, and what they need from you. Let your team know that you’re interested in growing as a leader. To improve your leadership, you’d like to know one thing you could do differently. This lets your employees know you’re going to take their responses seriously and won’t scoff at any potential criticism.
Here’s an example of how to interpret the responses you receive:
“I’d like you to better understand my personal needs.” - Diplomat
“I’d appreciate more consistency and predictability.” - Steward
“I’d like you to challenge me more often.” - Pragmatist
“I’d like more opportunities to learn and grow.” - Idealist
Learning more about your employees or the people you’re leading is the best way to hone your leadership style. While people may argue that one style is more beneficial than the others, the best leader can marry the styles and effectively reach each member of their team.
Front Line Leadership exists to help your managers and supervisors connect with their team to foster healthy communication, reduce conflict, and increase employee satisfaction. We’ll help your leaders be more effective so that everyone wins. To learn more about our unique leadership program whether in-person or online, contact Front Line Leadership today.