What makes a good leader?
A good leader is someone who inspires and motivates others to achieve their goals. Vision, emotional intelligence, integrity, adaptability and decisiveness are some of their key characteristics. They lead by example and are trusted by their team, and they have a clear vision of what they want to achieve.
Leadership is a complex and multifaceted concept that can be approached from different perspectives. One way to categorize the different styles and frameworks of leadership is by looking at the different approaches that leaders take when leading their teams or organizations. Here we will look at the frameworks and various styles of leadership.
Frameworks in Leadership
One common framework for understanding leadership styles is the transformational leadership model. This model suggests that leaders can inspire and motivate their followers to achieve a shared vision or goal. Transformational leaders focus on creating a sense of purpose and meaning for their team members, and they work to empower and develop their followers. They are often charismatic and passionate, and they can inspire others to take ownership of their roles and responsibilities.
Another popular framework for understanding leadership styles is the situational leadership model. This model states that the most effective leaders can adapt their leadership style to the specific context or situation they are facing. For example, a leader may use a more directive style when working with a new team that needs guidance but may adopt a more participative style when working with a more experienced team that is capable of taking on more autonomy.
A third framework for understanding leadership styles is the trait theory of leadership. This theory posits that certain personality traits or characteristics are commonly found among effective leaders. For example, leaders who are confident, resilient, and optimistic are more likely to inspire and motivate their followers. However, critics of trait theory argue that leadership is not solely determined by individual traits and that situational factors also play a critical role in leadership effectiveness.
Another essential aspect of leadership is the ability to create a culture of innovation and creativity within an organization. This is often referred to as “innovative leadership.” Innovative leaders are able to create an environment that encourages creativity, experimentation, and risk-taking. They can build teams that are agile and adaptive, and develop a sense of ownership and accountability among their team members.
Transactional leadership is yet another framework that views the leader-follower relationship as one of exchange. The individual agrees to obey the leader by accepting a position as a member of the group. In most cases, this is an employer-employee relationship, and the transaction revolves around the follower performing required tasks in exchange for monetary compensation. The main advantage of the following leadership is that it clearly defines roles.
Styles of Leadership
Leadership styles refer to the different ways in which leaders interact with and direct their followers. Understanding different leadership styles are important because different situations call for different types of leadership. A variety of leadership styles exist, but autocratic, democratic, and laissez-faire are among the most common.
In Autocratic leadership, the leader makes all the decisions and gives all the orders. This style is often used in situations where quick decisions are needed, such as during a crisis. Autocratic leaders are typically seen as strong and decisive, but they can also be seen as controlling and unresponsive to the needs and opinions of their followers.
Some experts argue that this type of leadership style, which resembles that of a dictator, can be harmful rather than beneficial in the long run. It results in low employee morale, which in many cases leads to attrition.
Democratic leadership has leaders involving their followers in the decision-making process. This style of leading is often used in situations where input from multiple perspectives is needed, such as in a team setting. Democratic leaders are typically seen as collaborative and responsive to the needs and opinions of their followers, but they can also be seen as slow to make decisions and lacking in decisive action.
Some businesses also operate with a democratic management style, offering a participative leadership approach. Google is one, with its founders likening their leadership style to being “proud parents—offering advice and love, but not daily nagging!”. Jack Dorsey, the former Twitter CEO, was also often credited with having the characteristics of a democratic leader.
Laissez-faire leadership is a style in which the leader gives their followers a high degree of autonomy and freedom. This is often practised in settings where the followers are highly skilled and capable, such as in a research setting. Laissez-faire leaders are typically seen as hands-off and non-interfering, but they can also be seen as disinterested and uninvolved in the direction and progress of the team.
This style is particularly effective in situations where group members are more knowledgeable than the group’s leader. The laissez-faire style allows them to demonstrate their deep knowledge and skill surrounding that particular subject.
Another popular leadership style is servant leadership where the leader focuses on putting the needs of their followers first and developing a passion for helping people grow. Servant leaders lead by example by prioritising the needs of the team above their own. These are people who love to teach others, who willingly take on a mentorship role and who try to make the path easier for new hires or junior staff.
This can be seen in some primary industries, for instance, as medical practitioners work to benefit their patients and assist their peers and teammates in providing that care. In the business world, this means seeing that employees, customers, and all other stakeholders thrive through their service.
Evolution and Adaptation of Leadership
The digital age has transformed how we live and work, and leadership is no exception. Leadership in the digital age is multifaceted and requires a new set of skills as well as a different mindset. Leaders must be able to collaborate with team members, be agile, demonstrate emotional intelligence, and have a strong understanding of technology.
While each leadership style has its strengths and weaknesses, most experts believe that successful leaders are those who adapt their style to the situation at hand. As a bespoke CTO search advisory, Purple Quarter has been instrumental in profiling the right tech leaders for years now closely interacting with and understanding potential leaders’ capabilities based on the scientifically derived IP – Behavioural Metrics Model (BMM). This has been crucial for tech-first companies in varied stages as the requirements for leading technology teams widely vary. Along with their core expertise, it is the leaders’ ability to make things work as the situation demands. The key is to understand and evaluate different leaders’ capabilities and styles in the scheme of the company’s culture and set vision.
A good leader shapes a culture of innovation and creativity within their organization. Leaders who have honed their skills and adapted their leadership style to meet the demands of their industry will be able to successfully guide their teams through challenges. Ultimately, the goal of leadership is to create a positive, productive and innovative work environment that enables employees to reach their full potential and contribute to the success of the organization. Only effective leadership can accomplish this.
Authored by Richa
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