How To Find A Leadership Model That Works For You

leadership model
Models of Leadership

Aristotle’s Cafe is all about empowering people to become leaders in their own right. But how do you know which leadership model is right for you?

Read on to discover more…

What is the first thing that you think of when you hear the word leadership?

Do you think of a particular person or approach?

Do you have a clear definition? Can you associate yourself with it?

You may already be in a leadership work role and have developed your own style. Or you may be considering ways in which you can take on a leadership role.

With advances in technology and globalization, organisations are constantly needing to adapt and evolve. Depending on each set of circumstances, different models of leadership may be required to reach successful outcomes.

So, what are the prominent models of leadership?

leadership model examples

There are a myriad of books and websites that tell us all about the theories of leadership models. Read the following examples of the 10 most common leadership models and consider the benefits and drawbacks of each:

Autocratic Leadership

This style of leadership usually involves closed room or trusted group decisions. These leaders often create a set of instructions for teams to follow. An example of this would the military, where the clarity of decisions is essential for operations.

Benefits of Autocratic Leadership:

  • Suitable for workplaces that require strict guidelines or compliance regulations
  • A good approach for people who need supervision.

Challenges of Autocratic Leadership:

  • No capacity for creativity or consultation
  • Leaders must be accountable for their mistakes

Bureaucratic Leadership

Leaders adopting this model tend to work in hierarchical organisations. This model of leadership is similar to autocratic in terms of adhering to rules and procedures and creating a specific set of responsibilities.

Benefits of Bureaucratic Leadership:

  • Effective in regulated industries, such as government, health care or finance
  • Clearly defined roles

Challenges of Bureaucratic Leadership:

  • Little collaboration or creativity; slow organizational change

Coach Leadership Model

A coach leader can identify a team’s strengths and weaknesses. They also recognise how to motivate others to improve and promote personal growth through setting clear goals.

Benefits of Coach Leadership:

  • Creates an extremely positive, competent and motivated workforce
  • Promotes trust

Challenges of Coach Leadership:

  • Can be time-intensive
  • Leader must also be motivated to learn

Democratic Leadership

This style of leadership is a hybrid of the autocratic and laissez-faire approaches. A democratic leader requests input from others and considers the contributions and feedback prior to decision-making.

Benefits of Democratic Leadership:

  • Others feel that their contributions and voices have been heard
  • Results in high engagement and job satisfaction.

Challenges of Democratic Leadership:

  • Requires a high level of emotional intelligence to be successful
  • Lengthy decision-making process
  • Leaders may encounter some uncertainty and may struggle to make their own decisions

Laissez-faire Leadership

This leadership model could be considered the opposite of an autocratic style. The laissez-faire leader delegates many tasks to team members with experience that require little supervision.

Benefits of Laissez-faire Leadership:

  • No micro-management
  • Time to focus on other projects

Challenges of Laissez-faire Leadership:

  • May create uncertainty if expectations are not clear
  • Some team members may need motivation

Pacesetter Leadership

These leaders are focused on results and performance outcomes; they are highly effective with short term goals. As the name suggests, they set the pace as an example for others to follow.

Benefits of Pacesetter Leadership:

  • Fast-paced energy and high standards
  • Team accountability

Challenges of Pacesetter Leadership:

  • Not suitable for team members who seek reassurance, feedback or mentoring

Servant Leadership

The servant leader is people-focused and strives to encourage collaboration and build morale. This leadership model can be found in many organisations but features frequently in not-for-profit organisations.

Benefits of Servant Leadership:

  • High level of respect and engagement
  • Encourages empathy

Challenges of Servant Leadership:

  • The decision-making process may take longer
  • Leaders may require retraining for this approach

Transactional Leadership

Like a pacesetter leader, this model of leadership has a clear focus on performance. The transactional leader will offer mentoring and training to achieve goals which are aligned with specific performance indicators.

Benefits of Transactional Leadership:

  • Clear rewards, such as monetary incentives
  • Suited to teams driven by sales

Challenges of Transactional Leadership:

  • Low performance could result in disciplinary action
  • Not suitable for creative industries

Transformational Leadership

This type of leadership shares some similarities with servant leadership. They differ in the respect that servant leaders focus on people development, whereas transformational leaders inspire others towards a shared goal.

Benefits of Transformational Leadership:

  • See the bigger picture
  • Clear communication
  • Delegation of tasks to a motivated team with little supervision

Challenges of Transformational Leadership:

  • May lose sight of reality or truth
  • Leader may not consider finer details

Visionary Leadership

Visionary leaders demonstrate that they can inspire trust in new ideas in periods of change. In this model, goal setting, communication and transparency are paramount.

Benefits of Transformational Leadership:

  • Promotes innovation and creativity
  • Everyone working towards a shared goal

Challenges of Transformational Leadership:

  • Focus on the future may neglect current needs
  • Possibility of other ideas not being considered

Which style should you adopt?

By understanding the different leadership models, and how they relate to particular outcomes, you can deploy whichever model applies best to your set of circumstances. In a leadership role, there is always more to learn and many ways to continue your development to become a more effective leader.

So, what are the characteristics of successful leaders?

In this TED Talk above, Matt Beeton offers three essential features that all great leaders have in common.

And here’s the good news …

You don’t have to be in an official leadership role to be a great leader.

Leadership is not limited to a title or status within an organisation or workforce. The skills needed to become a leader can be developed in a range of different life situations that involve engaging with other people. Inspiration can be found all around us and within us.

Consider the following questions:

Who do I consider to be an effective leader? What makes them a good leader?

What kind of leader am I? What kind of leader do I want to be?

By reflecting on these questions and selecting the appropriate leadership model, take your next steps towards successful leadership and make a real difference to your team or organisation.

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