Different styles of leadership and how to find a style that works for you
A leadership role in any industry can be a challenging but exciting opportunity to pursue. If you are considering advancing in your nursing career, a leadership position may be a lucrative option for you. Understanding what leadership is, the roles of a leader and the different types of leadership styles to choose from will help you advance in your career. There are several different types of leadership styles. Your working style and personality will help you choose an option that is most suitable for you. This knowledge can help you add value to the organization you work in and help you lead teams efficiently.
Leaders motivate people in their organization to collaborate and work towards a goal. Leaders are also capable of effectively communicating ideas to others and motivating them to grow personally and take on responsibilities that contribute towards growth. Effective leaders are mentors to others. If you want to be a successful and inspirational leader, it is essential to understand that all leaders have critical thinking and decision-making skills. These skills help them manage the resources of the organization for maximum growth.
What are leadership styles?
Every leader has a different working style. Leadership styles refer to the behaviors, characteristics and methods of a leader when they manage, motivate and direct teams. Leadership style determines how leaders will create strategies, respond to various changes and implement their plans to manage the well-being of teams and stakeholder expectations. When you think about all the leaders that inspire you, you will be able to notice subtle differences in the way they lead their teams. Having a clear leadership style is important because it will provide you with a firm foundation based on which you can make important decisions.
Why are leadership styles important?
If you are planning to grow your career into a leadership role, it is crucial to know and develop a leadership style. When you have a leadership style of your own, you will be able to directly influence your team in an effective way. Leadership styles can help you determine your strengths and develop strong leadership skills. Some leaders may be able to easily categorize their leadership style and it may be apparent in the way their team members view them. Not all leadership styles are perfectly defined, and many leaders may exhibit traits from multiple different styles. If you are unsure of your current leadership style, asking for honest feedback from your team may be a useful exercise. This will help you understand which leadership characteristics work best for you.
Most common leadership styles
There are dozens of different leadership styles, and it may not always be easy for you to choose one that suits you. Knowing some of the most common styles and what they involve can be a great foundation to start with. Below are some of the most common leadership styles:
Authoritarian or autocratic leaders have a clear vision of their goals and the process to achieve them. These confident leaders can set clear expectations and guidelines on how and when tasks must be done. Autocratic leaders set expectations and expect their team members to accept their decisions and follow them. Autocratic leaders are focused on achieving the best results for the organization through established actions. In certain cases, they may make important decisions with a group of peers. An autocratic leadership style may work well in highly regulated industries where predictable, consistent results are important. This style also works when employees need clear rules and guidance to complete tasks.
Leaders following this particular style may push their employees to work fast and achieve the set goals. They lead by example, set high expectations and motivate everyone to dive in to get the work done. The pacesetting leadership style is energetic and fast-paced. These leaders work hard to achieve results when working against tight deadlines. Pacesetting may not always work in all circumstances and for all employees because it results in a high-pressure and stressful environment. This type of leadership style may work when employees are highly motivated and like to see results quickly. It works well when important deadlines are to be met in manufacturing and production environments.
Visionary leaders that are committed to the big picture are known as transformational leaders. These leaders know exactly where the organization is going and how to get there in the most efficient way. They set employee expectations based on their vision to create an energizing and engaging atmosphere. Transformational leaders empower and motivate team members to focus on organizational achievement as well as professional development. They ask employees to provide feedback and share ideas to achieve these goals. This leadership style works well in growing organizations where a clear direction is needed. It is also needed in business transformations, acquisitions, and restructuring.
Leaders that focus on the development of their employees are known as coaching leaders. These leaders provide direction and motivation to their employees so they can achieve their potential and contribute to the growth of the organization. They provide regular feedback to their team, motivate them and provide them with direction. They nurture their strengths and provide them with ways to improve their weaknesses. Coaching leaders are focused on the long-term development of their employees and often provide them with challenging tasks to promote their growth. They believe that an organization can grow when its employees grow. This type of leadership style works well when leaders have time to work with employees individually. It works well with teams that are open to challenges and changes.
Leaders that ask for employees’ input and feedback before making decisions are known as democratic leaders. These leaders may discuss a problem with their team members and ask for their suggestions before deciding on the best course of action. Democratic leaders want to have a discussion and a dialogue that motivates group participation. They want to ensure that everyone on the team supports the ultimate decision made by the team. This leadership style can be very effective in organizations that benefit from inspiration and creativity. It is effective when managers have the time to assess the processes and make decisions that will affect long-term goals and tasks.
Leaders that always put their employees first are known as affiliative leaders. They are aware of the needs of their employees and support them in every possible way. This leadership style focuses on forming collaborative, happy relationships, and harmony within the team. Employees are asked to participate in decision-making along with the leader. Affiliative leaders may use helpfulness and praise to build the confidence of team members. This leadership style may work well in organizations with conflict and low morale. It can also work well in high-stress environments. These leaders must be able to utilize strong communication skills to resolve conflicts in the organization.
Leaders that provide minimal direction and guidance are known as delegation leaders. These leaders allow team members to solve problems in their own way. These leaders must still set clear expectations and limits before delegating tasks to employees. Decisions are made by employees, but the leader is always available to discuss and solve problems when needed. They monitor the performance of their teams and provide them with feedback. This leadership style works well with employees that are highly qualified and have a self-starter mentality. The delegative leadership style works well in organizations where employees need to work on individual projects or when creative solutions are required for problems.
Choosing a leadership style that suits you
There are many different leadership styles to choose from, so it may be difficult to know where to start. Here are a few tips to help you understand yourself better and find a style that will align with your personality and your goals:
Getting to know yourself better is one of the best ways to discover a leadership style that will work for you. There are several different ways you can do this, including writing exercises, quiet contemplation and making a list of your strengths and weaknesses. If you are seeking leadership roles in nursing, discussing your goals with like-minded people in the nursing industry is a good way to learn more about yourself. Master’s Entry in Nursing Practice (MENP) degree programs by Elmhurst University can also provide you with the knowledge you need to understand different leadership styles that work in the nursing field.
Make a list of your values
When you take the time to understand yourself better, you will also know what values are important to you. A good leader needs to work and make decisions quickly. Knowing your values and personal challenges will make it easier for you to make decisions. Think about the important events, common themes, and trends in your life so far. Create an outline to gain a better understanding of your core values, strengths, and weaknesses.
Learn from other leaders
Observing other leaders and learning more about their leadership styles can help you find a style that resonates with you. Watch leaders in client conversations, presentations and in team meetings. Take notes and try to see if their working style resonates. Envision yourself adopting the same leadership style and think about whether it will work for you. There may be a common theme among all the leaders you admire the most.
Practice different styles
One of the best ways to see if a particular leadership style will work for you is by practicing it. Make a list of all the different styles that you are most attracted to. Make notes about each style and then try to incorporate it wherever possible. Observe how you feel and how you come across to those you interact with. This will help you find a style that seems the most natural for you.
Find a mentor
If you are unsure about this process, seek out a mentor or a coach. There are several different ways in which this can help you. If you know someone at work who would like to mentor you, approach them with your request. You can also find like-minded colleagues and peers to mentor you and work with you as you try to figure out which leadership style fits you. Sometimes you need outside perspective and feedback to see things clearly.
Ask for feedback
An effective way to see if a particular leadership style works for you is by seeking feedback from others. If you are working with like-minded colleagues or studying with peers with the same goal, this can be a very effective strategy for you. Practice your leadership style and make a list of questions to ask your colleagues. Ask them questions and listen attentively to their responses. Receive feedback with an open mind so you can make the most of this exercise. Take notes and spend some time studying them to identify areas where you can improve the most. You can reciprocate by providing feedback on their leadership style. Be sure to build trust with your colleagues so you can help each other grow.
There are also several leadership assessments and quizzes available online if you are not yet ready to take the leap and approach someone for feedback. If you are interested in understanding your surface qualities, habits, and basic strengths, this can be a good starting point for you. You can take these results and form a plan based on them to develop the right skills and strengths to adopt a leadership style that will work in your favor.
The leadership style you choose must be based on several important factors. Consider your personality, your working style, and your core values before you make your decision. You may also have to alter your leadership style based on the situation and your team members. This will enhance your effectiveness and help your team members and your organization. A good leader always thinks of the big picture and the overall goals of the organization.