Business

How The Right Style Of Leadership Can Help Your Business

Business projects, particularly engineering, can be complex, even on a smaller scale. Many technical specialties and disciplines are needed to achieve the desired results and guarantee adequate reliability and efficiency.

You may assume a leadership role at some point in your career. Whether you are leading a project, a team, a meeting, or a whole department, you may consider adopting a specific leadership style.

In business, “manager” and “leader” are often used interchangeably to refer to someone in an authoritative position.

Leaders offer a clear view of the future growth of a company. On the other hand, managers oversee teams performing tasks required to accomplish an organization’s mission.

Organizations require managers who demonstrate effective leadership styles to motivate employees and encourage innovation. Organizations also look for professionals with leadership qualities who are familiar with the leadership styles used by managers.

That said, developing leadership traits is a crucial way for professionals to add value to the projects they undertake. One way to learn more about leadership, particularly in engineering, is to opt for a relevant master’s degree like uOttawa’s online Master’s in Engineering Management, which offers an industry-centric, leadership-strengthening experience. The degree combines management skills and engineering to build students’ skills in leadership and engineering management.

Read on to learn about the importance of leadership styles, their characteristics, benefits and more,

What is the importance of leadership in business?

It has been said that all business elements lie dormant without leadership. Strong leaders help organizations maximize efficiency and productivity and achieve business objectives. On the other hand, weak or non-existent leadership shirks productively and jeopardizes a business’ health.

That is not to say that leadership is one overarching characteristic that cures all ills; many other elements must also exist for a company’s leadership to be adequate.

It is also worth considering that many effective and not-so-effective leadership styles exist. Just because one manager is sociable while another is more refined does not mean either style will be better than the other.

Above all, leaders are valuable in communicating and formulating new strategic directions while motivating employees to increase dedication to organizational objectives. Continuous leadership skills training is crucial to ensuring that leaders are making good progress. The importance of leadership is demonstrated in numerous ways, discussed below:

· Guidance

Managers must be able to offer meaningful advice and guidance to employees. Whenever needed, managers must be willing to show employees how to execute their occupational tasks more effectively and efficiently. Moreover, managers should also offer the support employees need to develop and grow. Guidance is not about ordering people around. For exemplary leaders, leadership is about explaining and teaching how to do something. Sometimes, people need extra help, and leaders must be able to take the steps necessary to offer aid. This can be done by setting a good example.

· Motivation

As mentioned, great leaders help motivate employees to work hard and satisfy organizational goals. This can be done via various means. Some managers may inspire others to work hard, while others may let employees know the repercussions of not working hard.

Both styles inspire motivation, and one may offer better results than the other based on the organization’s culture and the manager’s style.

· Initiating action and introduction to change

Leaders initiate action by establishing who will carry out what tasks, how to complete such tasks and when the responsible employee or employees will accomplish them.

An organization can fail – no matter how solid the other aspects of the leadership are – without a defined plan and good communication between managers and relevant parties. Managers must be capable of initiating rapid action to use human resources to fulfill business goals.

Other than that, executives must effectively direct their teams on the actions that will drive the most impact for change. Management can demonstrate why a change is necessary and what the next steps should be by leading the charge themselves.

· Morale improvement

Good leadership is linked with good morale. According to a SurveyMonkeystudy, 43% of individuals feel more confident when they are appreciated. Exemplary leaders show appreciation for work that helps progress the organization toward its objectives. Based on the survey, this boosts confidence. Whenever management praises and recognizes hard work regularly, morale improves among employees.

Good leaders – whether managers, executives or directors – can drive employee performance by boosting their confidence and creating a positive, uplifting and productive working environment. When employees feel overburdened and stressed, job satisfaction and productivity suffer.

· The fulfillment of employee and organizational needs

To ensure efficiency, aligning employee and organizational needs is one of the most crucial things a manager must do. Employee interests, talents and scheduling needs can benefit or detract from a company based on how well a manager or other leadership figure aligns such factors with organizational goals. The best leaders always find ways to align each employee’s requirements with the company’s goals.

Such individuals also establish a personal connection with employees. If someone notices that a leader fully understands their concerns and feelings, they are more likely to follow in their footsteps.

· Assigning responsibilities

Leaders may either delegate too much or too little to employees. Good leaders know what to delegate and handle to ensure productivity in their organization. Appropriate delegation is also crucial for employee satisfaction, as employees may exploit a manager who delegates too little and dislike a leader who delegates too much.

· Conflict resolution

Strong leaders listen carefully and empathetically to concerns among employees and address them as soon as possible. Making individuals feel heard can ward off future issues. Moreover, leaders may gain insight into the challenges faced by people in their organization by learning conflict resolution skills.

A good leader will direct troubled or disputing employees toward practical solutions, proving to the team that they genuinely listen to their concerns.

The different types of leadership styles

Below are the most common leadership styles in business and how they work:

· Coaching

Managers who embrace this style focus on mentoring and training their employees. A coaching leader can quickly identify their team members’ weaknesses, strengths, and goals to help each move forward. This type of leader exhibits empathy and often allows members to set goals via challenging projects and then offers regular feedback to promote confidence.

These individuals are adept at establishing clear expectations and motivating work environments. This style is one of the best for both employers and the employees they take under their wings. However, this is also one of the most underutilized styles, mainly because it is very time intensive.

· Pacesetting

The pacesetting leadership style is best for faster results. Many managers in tech companies adopt this style, demonstrating how employees should go about their tasks by example. Pacesetting leaders focus on performance and often establish high standards, holding their team members responsible for completing their objectives.

Note that this type of leadership can also lead to burned-out employees. There is also the risk of miscommunications or a lack of clear instructions in a fast-paced work environment.

· Visionary

Such leaders can bring about progress and introduce periods of change by inspiring employees and earning their trust to implement new concepts. Visionary leaders also develop strong organizational bonds. They aim to foster trust among colleagues and direct reports alike. The visionary leadership style benefits small yet fast-growing or larger organizations going through mergers, transformations or any corporate restructuring.

However, visionary leaders may overlook crucial details or other opportunities since they are too focused on the bigger picture.

· Servant

Those who use this leadership style operate on a people-first mindset and feel that team members are more likely to produce good-quality work when they feel fulfilled (professionally and personally). Due to their emphasis on worker satisfaction and participation, these types of leaders are more likely to receive more respect.

The servant style is a great type of leadership for companies of any size and industry but is most prevalent in non-profits. Such leaders show exceptional skill in boosting employee morale and helping team members re-engage with their duties.

Servant leaders may experience burnout as they often prioritize their team members’ needs above their own.

· Laissez-faire

The laissez-faire style works opposite to the autocratic leadership style, primarily emphasizing delegating numerous tasks to team members and offering little supervision, sometimes none. Because laissez-faire leaders do not spend time managing employees, they often have more time to work on other projects.

Managers usually take on this leadership style when all the members of their organization are experienced, well-trained and require little supervision. This can also lead to decreased efficiency if employees are confused about their leader’s expectations. Some team members may also need consistent stimulus and boundaries to produce satisfactory work.

· Autocratic

Also referred to as an”authoritarian” leadership style, this type of leader mainly focuses on efficiency and results. These individuals often make decisions with a small, trusted group (or even alone) and expect team members to do precisely what they are asked. These leaders are also seen as military commanders, considering their social skills, confidence and work methods.

This style is best suited to organizations with stringent guidelines and compliance-focused industries. It is also helpful when used with employees needing a great deal of supervision, such as recruits with minimal experience.

This leadership style, however, may threaten to stifle innovation and make employees feel confined.

· Democratic

The democratic style (also called a“participative” or “collaborative” style) is a mix of the laissez-faire and autocratic styles. A democratic leader usually asks for input and then considers feedback from their employees before making a decision. A democratic leadership style is often said to foster higher levels of employee engagement and work satisfaction since team members feel heard and valued.

Since this type of leadership encourages participation and discussion, it is ideal for organizations focused more on innovation and creativity, e.g., the tech industry. This style can also prove inefficient as it can take a long time and resources to organize group discussions.

· Transformational

The transformational style of leadership is similar to the coaching style in the sense that it prioritizes goal establishment, clear communication and team motivation.

Nonetheless, transformational leader commits mostly to organizational goals instead of concentrating their energy on each team member’s individual goals. Since such leaders focus most of their time and energy on overarching objectives, this style is best suited for teams that can take care of multiple tasks without constant oversight.

Transformational leaders often overlook minor details when focusing on the bigger picture.

· Transactional

A transactional leader prioritizes performance above other factors, like a pacesetting leader. When choosing this leadership style, the manager establishes preset incentives. These incentives usually come as monetary rewards for success and disciplinary measures for failures.

However, in contrast to the pacesetter leadership style, transactional leaders also direct their energy toward instruction, training, and mentorship to accomplish goals and profit from the reward.

While such leaders are suitable for companies or teams with specific goals to achieve, e.g., revenue and sales, this is not the best style for encouraging ingenuity.

· Bureaucratic

Bureaucratic leaders follow the same school of thought as autocratic leaders in the way that they expect employees to pursue the objectives and rules precisely as spelled out.

This leadership style is more about fixed objectives and goals within a hierarchy where each team member is assigned a preset list of duties. That means itis very little to no creativity or collaboration involved. This leadership style works most effectively in regulated healthcare, finance or government industries.

 This style does not encourage creativity and may leave employees feeling restricted.

Developing your leadership style

A practical leader does not expect management to come with a prescription in which they apply a sufficient dose of an already-established response to a combination of circumstances. While managers can learn leadership, they must also be versatile enough to improve and transform their roles with time.

Knowing what style to assume in a workplace comes with practice, determination, and emotional intelligence. It may help to know that many leaders borrow from various styles to approach multiple goals at different career periods.

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