Leadership Styles: Make the Right Choice

Emerging leadership styles adapted to involved, dispersed, and diverse workforces include the ones listed below. What is often lost in the either/or debates about leadership is that theories evolved from the time in which they were formed.

Many leadership theories from the time of 9 to 5 work are retrofitted, sometimes poorly, to a connected 24/7 workforce. Current theories may overcompensate by focusing solely on the relationship aspects of leadership divorced from production realities.

The best course is to work with where you are as an organization. Identify your leadership strengths to balance relationships and production in your work environment. Choose wisely as the wrong choice or attempting to graft a leadership best practice from another organization may prove to be an expensive and time consuming mistake.

Charismatic Leadership

Charismatic  leadership styles focus on emotional influence with followers. This style is distinguished from transformational in that the charismatic leader is focused on the vision or cause and enlists and engages follower for the cause.

Charisma has generated a great deal of debate, especially in the "are leaders born or made camp." Charisma does seem to be a characteristic more born than made. If charisma is not in your strengths, don't worry. Discover what your personal leadership strengths are and master them.

 Transformational Leadership

Transformational and Charismatic Leaders share some characteristics. Transformational leadership adds to the charismatic style in that the successful transformational leader changes and shapes the values, beliefs and attitudes of followers. Followers are often motivated to perform beyond expecations.Transformational leadership increases employee performance, particularly in times of volatile conditions.

Contextual Leadership Style

Contextual leaders are those that are able to bring order out of chaos. They are able to create patterns of attention and develop networks.

Contexual leaders may compliment transformational leaders by

  • Using knowledge and information to guide actions
  • Developing internal and external networks
  • Fostering innovative performance
  • Place current actions within historic context

Systemic thinking and a path forward are contributions of contextual leaders.

Hard and Soft Leadership

Hard and Soft leadership has been a recent addition to leadership theories. Harvard Business Review recently published articles referring to this style of leadership which combines effective leadership in both relationships and tough-minded data driven decision making.

Hard and soft leadership moves beyond either/or leadership theories into the world of both/and. It brings together the past separation of leadership and management. Both functions are necessary for successful businesses.

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