There has been an increasing call for leadership development programs for the past decades, but the need for leadership innovation has never been more crucial and urgent nowadays—especially in business management.
As the challenges of our generation call for quick and decisive company leaders who are proactive and flexible to the ever-dynamic terrain of the new normal, leadership training becomes imperative.
Individual members of a company possess a remarkable degree of uniqueness that comprises the totality of the entire organization. This means that individual members subscribe to varying leadership styles, and require different leadership skills. This adds to the complexity of leadership needs—but must be considered anyway.
Check out below the leadership styles and leadership skills that need to be considered in a leadership training program.
Leadership Styles to Identify
Leadership training plans must first identify the leadership styles of the individual members. However, knowing the leadership styles of the participants or beneficiary organization is like familiarizing the terrain before waging a war—it is extremely challenging, but achievable.
Check out the following leadership styles that must be considered before conducting any leadership training.
1. Autocratic Style
This is also called the authoritarian style of leadership wherein someone who uses a command-and-control approach governs the entire team. This is a typical leadership style of the past. Commonly, the leader radiates a “Do as I say” environment (Martinuzzi, 2019). The boss has absolute control over any decisions and team members are not asked for input. The latter is just expected to comply with all the decisions and orders.
This type of leader is someone who is focused almost entirely on results and efficiency. Most of these leaders are extremely goal-oriented and end focused.
The advantages of this leadership style include the following:
- quick decision-making process
- clear expected outcomes
- determining performance indicators
- lesser strategy implementation errors.
This leadership style is commonly effective in organizations with strict guidelines or industries that are compliance-heavy. This can also be beneficial when supervising employees who need thorough monitoring like the newbies.
However, due to these benefits, certain drawbacks are expected as employees feel like they are not personally valued, resulting in shallow and weaker motivation among team members. This may result in a greater risk of rebellion and unstable governance.
2. Authoritative Style
A visionary or authoritative type of leadership refers to a management style wherein the leader sets the goals, administers the processes, and directs all the steps to take to achieve those goals with meager or no input at all from the members.
Authoritative leaders lead their entire organizations toward common goals. Leaders work with their employees or team members nearly every step of the way leading and coaching them to success.
This style tends to approach leadership like a mentor guiding a mentee. Instead of telling their team to follow instructions and do as they say, authoritative leaders put themselves in a situation where they employ a “come with me” approach. They have a firm and clear understanding of the challenges to overcome and the goals to reach and have a vision for achieving success.
Authoritative leaders foster motivation. They guide their employees with regular feedback and motivation to continually encourage them to work better and harder.
3. Pacesetting Style
Pacesetting style is one of the effective leadership styles in reaching short-term goals. The leader sets a high-performance benchmark and expects excellence and self-direction from team members. This leadership style works best to produce results from a highly competent team.
The pacesetting leadership style is motivated by the need to be initiative and result-oriented. “Do as I do, now” is the perfect phrase to describe most pacesetting leaders as they require that their members observe the highest standards.
What is good though about this leadership style is that they make sure that they lead by example. This is why it is difficult to say no to this type of leader. Unfortunately, most of them lack tolerance and would quickly replace you if you don’t perform.
One reassuring thing about these leaders is that the company can rely on its ability to achieve results quickly. Its downside is that it produces a negative work atmosphere resulting from overwhelmed employees.
And since there is so much emphasis on “fast” results, you could expect unclear instructions from the pacesetting leaders which will lead to the overall inefficacy of the business operations.
4. Democratic Style
The democratic style of leadership or shared leadership is a leadership style that builds consensus through participation. Democratic leaders believe in the sharing of power so they would always encourage creating consensus from everyone’s input.
As a result of this consensus, team members feel appreciated and fulfilled because their voice is heard and their contribution plays a vital role in achieving their shared goals. Shared goals lead to shared experiences where a sense of belongingness and owning one’s organization emerge. Although, this doesn’t mean that each decision must always be made within the group. Depending on the specified roles and responsibilities, certain decisions may spring from the creativity and will of the leader.
The democratic style is often credited with fostering high levels of employee engagement and workplace satisfaction which promote employee retention. Ultimately, this contributes greatly to company stability and longevity.
5. Coaching Style
This leadership style works best when helping people and building long-term strength as the management develops people for the future. This one-on-one style focuses on developing individuals, molding them to improve their performance, and helping them to connect with individual and organizational goals.
Those who abide by this leadership style are able to identify the strengths, weaknesses, and motivations of their team members. This type of leader often assists team members in setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bounded) goals and then provides regular constructive feedback with challenging projects to promote growth. They are able to set proper and clear expectations and foster positivity around them. . A leader who coaches views people as a talent to be developed. The leader who uses a coaching approach desires to unlock and enhance people’s potential.
6. Affiliative Style
This style highlights the importance of teamwork and helps create harmony in a group by building interpersonal relationships.
This leadership style creates emotional bonds and harmony. Leaders who have the affiliative style of leadership believe that “people come first”. Because of this, you can expect this type of leader to value personal relationships with their team.
They also make an effort to nurture the emotional needs of their people by ensuring that everyone experiences unity and harmony with one another in the workplace or any organization.
7. Laissez-Faire Style
This leadership style is the opposite of the autocratic leadership type, focusing predominantly on distributing several tasks to team members, and providing little to no supervision. If a team is composed of highly experienced and well-trained employees, the team does not usually require rigid supervision. Managers then would adopt this leadership style that is highly dependent on trust.
This might have an adverse effect though on the performance of the team. If a leader becomes too complacent, the members might confuse this as sort of a “permit” to be complacent as well.
Consistent monitoring and regular feedback should be observed in this leadership style.
Leadership Skills to Develop
Another element that leadership training providers need to consider is the leadership skills that must be developed. What you need to learn or enhance will change as you move to higher levels and face new challenges.
The following are the set of essential skills that leaders in any organization or company must obtain no matter what position or roles you are playing.
Training managers and leaders to become effective communicators is vital to the entire organization. Good leaders are generally good listeners.
They can communicate well enough to extract vital information, negotiate, and even relate with people on a personal and professional level with ease.
And since they can communicate their thoughts and ideas well, they are often assertive in a way that does not appear as aggression. Their ability to build rapport and maintain healthy relationships with their peers and subordinates often comes from working on their communication skills.
Critical Thinking Skills
Critical thinking enables leaders to understand the impact of their decisions on the organization as a whole and guarantees both alignments with organizational goals and individual accountability for results.
The “new normal” is an uncharted territory of the competitive landscape. Global instability in the area of politics and economy accentuates the need for this leadership skill to ensure success in this generation.
Conflict Resolution Skills
Conflict is inevitable due to our individual uniqueness. It is even an indicator of any healthy and growing relationship. After all, two people can’t be expected to agree on everything at all times.
Dealing with conflict correctly is crucial as it provides an opportunity for growth, consequently strengthening the bond between two people or any involved parties. By training leaders to be great at conflict resolution, an organization can de-escalate conflicts without too much fuss and the need for a bigger venue or more resources.
Healthy responses to conflict are exemplified by the (Darlington, 2009):
- capacity to recognize and respond to important matters
- readiness to forgive and forget
- ability to seek compromise and avoid punishment
- belief that resolution can support the interests and needs of all parties
These can be developed among leaders with the right provisions for an effective leadership training program.
Leadership activities could be in the form of meeting openers or conference break activities (Craig, 2020). Leadership activities can be modified depending on the context of an organization. It could be in a form of sports, cross-cultural experiences, social groups, internship, volunteering, student government and organizations, passion projects, (Craig, 2020) experiential games (Cserti, 2020), and other activities that opts to develop leadership.
Bearing these elements in mind, you are now guided towards successful implementation of leadership activities that will cultivate teamwork and set an avenue to practice leadership skills on or off-site, may it be physical or sedentary types of leadership activities.