Identify your management style
There are ten common leadership styles, and the most effective for you depends on your personality as well as your organisation’s culture.
- Coach: Like the head of a sport team, a coaching leader is able to quickly identify each team member’s greatest strengths, weaknesses and sources of motivation. These leaders focus on helping employees set goals, grow their skills and advance as professionals.
- Visionary: A visionary leader drives change by inspiring team members and helping to spread new ideas. They’re often gifted speakers and help build confidence and loyalty during periods of transformation within a company.
- Servant: This leader is someone who strives to help each team member feel professionally and personally fulfilled, and considers employee satisfaction a top priority. Servant leaders are helpful within organisations that need to build employee morale.
- Autocratic: An authoritarian style leader is focused on results and maximising efficiency. Similar to military leaders, they believe in near-constant supervision, strict guidelines and making decisions alone.
- Laissez-faire: This more hands-off leadership style is the direct opposite of autocratic leadership. They delegate a great deal of responsibility and provide little supervision. Generally, leaders adopt this style of leadership when they’re managing highly experienced teams.
- Democratic: A democratic leader asks for input and feedback from team members before making a decision and ensures that employees recognise that their voices are heard. They’re open communicators who often drive high levels of employee engagement.
- Pace-setter: This leadership style is focused almost entirely on performance. Employees are given specific goals and held accountable for their results. This leadership style focuses less on mentorship and more on immediate action.
- Transformational: A transformational leader is similar to a coaching leader, but instead of focusing on developing each employee individually, they’re focused on company objectives.
- Transactional: Transactional leaders are similar to pace-setter leaders in that they give employees specific goals and either reward or discipline them based on the outcome. However, unlike pace-setter leaders, this leadership style uses thorough instruction and mentorship to help team members meet their objectives.
- Bureaucratic: A bureaucratic style of leadership uses a hierarchy in which each employee has their own responsibilities, and there is little cross-collaboration. Generally, this style of leader is useful in highly regulated industries.
Become an effective communicator
Clear and consistent communication is essential to effective leadership. To improve as a communicator, you’ll need to develop two essential skills:
- Listening: When others talk, it’s not only polite to listen – it’s critical for crafting an informed response and taking the right action. To improve as a listener, make sure that you’re giving the speaker your full and undivided attention by removing all distractions. It can also help to look the speaker in the eye and take notes for improved comprehension. When you respond, try to repeat concepts or phrases that the speaker used to show you were actively listening and further increase your ability to retain the information in the long term.
- Awareness: Good communication depends not only on what you say but also your environment. Always be aware of whom you’re communicating to and where the conversation is taking place. Considering these factors will ensure that you’re using the right tone and sharing information in an actionable manner. For example, if you’re discussing a new project, you may choose to give more detailed instructions to a new employee than to a senior employee who has completed many similar projects.
Set a good example
When it comes to managing employees, it’s critical that you remember your team will often model their behaviour and attitude after you. If you’re outwardly stressed, complaining, consistently sending emails after hours and failing to take breaks, your team members may also adopt some of these behaviours. This is why you should strive to always maintain an even temper and a positive outlook and encourage a healthy work-life balance. This ensures a productive work environment with high employee satisfaction rates and positive team morale.
Successful employee management looks different for every leader and every organisation. However, by taking the time to identify your leadership style, further develop your communication skills and ensure that you’re setting a positive example for your team, you can improve as a leader and help your organisation meet its goals.