What’s the sign of a good leader? No brainer. Someone who employees want to follow. How you lead greatly impacts your employees' productivity, effectiveness, attitude, and even self-esteem. Whether your approach is autocratic, democratic or laissez faire, being mindful of your leadership style and its consequences is fundamental to your success as a leader.
Importance of Leadership Style
Leadership style isn't the only factor that influences an employee’s level of performance and job satisfaction, but it is an important one. And most managers aren't fully aware of how far-reaching that impact is, not only on the individual but the organizational climate as a whole. A leader’s role in an organization can encompass many things. For example, some leaders may be expected to stir things up, create a culture change. Some organizations are looking for a leader to be inactive; others, proactive. These factors, combined with personnel types and group dynamics, call for different types of leaders. Which one are you?
Think The Devil Wears Prada’s Miranda Priestly meets Martha Stewart. Autocratic leaders put performance and productivity above people. They have no trust or respect for their underlings, and rely on fear, manipulation, and bullying in order to get results. It’s a one-way communication street with the autocratic leader because she sees her role as the thinker and planner, and everyone else, the obedient doers. The consequence of the autocratic style is an environment of resentment with bad attitudes, high turnover rates, low attendance and zero morale.
A company like Google fosters a work culture that encourages hands-on contributions and direct interaction with company leaders. A democratic leader is a collaborative manager who values performance and people and invites feedback and opinions from her employees, where they can feel valued for their creativity and talents. The result of a democratic style is an open, flexible culture where productivity is high and turnover is minimal.
If you consider yourself a laissez-faire leader, the hands-off-solve-your-own-problems-but-stay-out-of-trouble type, you may not be doing your employees any favors. Practicing a delegating approach to managing people, laissez-faire leaders place the same importance on people and productivity – low. They leave the thinking to their employees, communicate only when necessary, and generally stay out of sight. Independence is a good thing, but too much can be a career-killer for your personnel. When people are left without direction, they can become disinterested, dissatisfied with their career, unmotivated and ultimately, unproductive.
Based in Wilmington, N.C., Melissa Warren has been writing professionally for more than 10 years. Her work has appeared in “Our State” magazine and other regional publications. Warren holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a certificate in professional writing from the University of North Carolina in Wilmington.