STYLES OF LEADERSHIP

A top attribute sought by hiring managers, leadership is an essential skill in driving career advancement. Considering how high it correlates with organizational success, this shouldn’t surprise anyone – companies committed to developing employees to have high leadership potential are four times more likely to outperform those that don’t. As such, it’s important to take charge by establishing a clear personal leadership style – this will motivate your employees and help inform how this business handles demanding situations.

A leadership style can be broadly defined as the patterns of behavior consistent across how you as a leader make decisions. To get an idea, think of how colleagues might describe your working relationship – how would you come off during an elevator pitch?

An online course on Leadership Principles from Harvard Business School lays out three frameworks through which your leadership style can be examined:

  • Motivation – The stimuli or incentives that drive you to personal action
  • Functions – The practices you employ to mobilize workers and accomplish tasks
  • Imprint – The way you come off to those you work with

You can hone your style using these three frameworks and become more effective in your role. You can help to identify your leadership style by building self-awareness through honest reflection and assessment, from colleagues and yourself. You want to be open to feedback to identify areas for improvement and personal growth, and really nail down your most vital functions as a leader.

Here are the three primary styles of leadership:

  • Approachability – Being an approachable leader means exhibiting authenticity and warmth. You’ll forge deeper professional connections by conveying openness and showing empathy in your interactions. This leadership style requires high emotional intelligence. This is a skill you’ll want to develop anyway as it is the highest predictor of workplace performance.
  • Credibility – A credible leader is one who demonstrates competence, humility, and resolve. They are highly knowledgeable and able to set plans in motion. This leadership style requires a high amount of trust between you and employees, as well as strong-decision making skills.
  • Aspiration – An aspirational leader has the ability to set high expectations which employees feel genuinely motivated and confident to pursue. This style of leader can bring out the best in themselves and their employees.
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