All great leaders have different approaches to the way they communicate with those they lead. A leader’s style can range from being participative to transactional. There are also poor leadership styles as well that can be detrimental to the overall direction of a given group. Being aware of what type of leader you are, not only helps you grow your leadership capacity, but also give you a stronger understanding of how you should communicate from your position.
A laissez-faire leader is a bit relaxed, noninterfering supervisor. The Laissez-Faire leader tends not to give specific feedback to those who are under their supervision. This type of leader is normally found when they have a team of highly-experienced and trained group members. This drawback of this leadership style is that some highly-skilled employees feel more trusted but the less skilled employees produce poorer work. This type of style is quite dependent on the situation of your group you are leading.
The Transactional leader leads through rewards and punishment. When an employee does positive work toward the organizational goals, that work is often rewarded with pay increases, public recognition, and advancement, while poor performance in this regard, leads to corrective action, reprimands, and termination. Most work environments function with this transactional leadership style. Leaders set organizational goals and the employees agree to follow the set goals. Leaders that have the ability to work individually with team members who do not meet the requirements of these goals. Those who do meet or succeed the goals normally receive rewards because of their hard work. This creates an incentive for team members to strive for better results.
This style of leadership is that of modeling and encouraging others on the team to pursue positive goal oriented results. It is a style that pushes new leaders to emerge and grow, as well. Coaching and teaching are synonymous. The more you teach, the more you lean. A coaching leadership style also leaves room for their group members to build on their personal strengths which in turn makes team members generally more successful. Often leaders who coach make the mistake of believing that coaching is more about giving advice than asking questions. By asking questions you give up power but gain authority. In other words, you are leading by empowering so that the team becomes more self-sufficient.
This is also known as the Democratic leadership style. Participative leadership is a style that is very collaborative and cooperative. Participative leadership is working with a group to create the best plan of action. Each individual of the working group is recognized as having a voice while their unique giftedness is utilized. The participative leader values the input of the team while recognizing that she is ultimately responsible for the final outcome. The greatest asset to this leadership style is that group members feel valued which boosts overall morale and the team of workers they feel as though they have a voice in the decision-making process. One could posit that the overall group will be more likely to accept and adapt to new changes as they feel more included in the decision-making process. Typically, a participative leader validates the suggestions of group members, even if their suggestions were not used. This occurs by filing a minority report. This preserves dignity and if the outcome is not deemed positive, other’s voices are not lost.