Leadership (Part-Five)

I think it should now be clear that skilled leaders have a way of getting the best out of their staff, followers or teams. It is important to understand that people are different and one leadership style does not apply to all people.

If we looked at a football coach who coaches an under ten team, an under 18 team and a top league team he will speak differently to each team and use different techniques to motivate each team. The same principle applies in the work environment and even in the same department. Different people have different education levels, work experience or motivation levels.

As we go through the most common leadership styles be aware that they are styles are not ranked in order of importance, because as stated above there is not a right or a wrong style as it depends on many factors.

Transformational leadership:Unlike other leadership styles, transformational leadership is all about initiating change in organizations, groups, oneself and others. Transformational leaders motivate (not force or threaten) others to do more than they originally intended and often even more than they thought possible. They set more challenging expectations and typically achieve higher performance.

Statistically, transformational leadership tends to have more committed and satisfied followers. This is mainly so because transformational leaders empower followers.

The transformational leadership style is similar to the coaching style in that it focuses on clear communication, goal-setting and employee motivation. However, instead of placing the majority of the energy into each employee’s individual goals, the transformational leader is driven by a commitment to organization objectives.

Because these types of leaders spend much of their time on the big picture, this style of leading is best for teams that can handle many delegated tasks without constant supervision.

Many high-level members of the military, CEOs of large international companies, and sports coaches are known to be transactional leaders. Transactional leadership also works well in policing agencies and first responder organizations.

Autocratic leadership: This style is necessary within organizations and companies that demand error-free outcomes. Autocratic leadership is vital in many workplace environments. While autocratic leadership is one of the least popular management styles, it’s also among the most common. The autocratic leadership process generally entails one person making all strategic decisions for subordinates.

Autocratic leaders have significant control over staff and rarely consider worker suggestions or share power. Ruling with an iron fist is rarely appreciated by staff, which can lead to high turnover and absenteeism. There can also be a lack of creativity due to strategic direction coming from a single individual.

This leadership style can be useful in organizations with strict guidelines or compliance-heavy industries. It can also be beneficial when used with employees who need a great deal of supervision, such as those with little to no experience. This leadership style is best suited to environments where jobs are fairly routine or require limited skills. It is also common in military organisations.

Example:  Restaurants: People go to restaurants with big expectations. Whether it’s fast-food or an upscale establishment, customers expect consistent service, well-mannered hosts and efficient servers. Whether they order the burger and chips or a seven-course gourmet meal, customers expect their food to be good. Dining establishments need an autocratic leadership style to meet these expectations. Even the most cheerful and lively restaurant runs on slim margins that can tolerate minimal mistakes.

Ridley Scott said- “I think, at the end of the day, filmmaking is a team. But eventually, there’s got to be a captain”

The writer is a Kigali Based business consultant and strategist.


E-mail: john@gmskigali.com



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