Are There Many Leadership Styles?

Are There Many Leadership Styles?

Regardless of what techniques or communications methodologies that leadership coaching teaches people, every manager or leader has their own distinctive style in which they behave at the workplace. The behavior and demeanor of a leader is a significant factor in the kind of relationships he/she will have with subordinates. The manner in which a leader carries himself and communicates within the workplace is known as his/her leadership style. Every organization requires a different kind of leader. In companies where there is a focus on the day to day operations, leaders will need to have a particular set of traits that keep workers motivated and inspired. Conversely, businesses that are premised on client networks will need to have leaders that can communicate effectively, to both clients, and their teams.

Two different leadership styles

The style of a leader may not necessarily relate a leader’s philosophy but rather describes a type of behavior that employees are witness to. Different personalities respond differently to different leadership styles. That being said, leadership styles are often categorized under two broad banners – transformational and transactional.

The transformational style of leadership uses a set of communication techniques that appeal to an individual’s higher values and beliefs. Such leaders will package projects and tasks as serving a grander purpose, of personal and/or societal growth. This kind of leadership style is meant to inspire individuals toward integrating a set of values, and basing personal and professional direction on them. Leaders who have transformational styles typically tend to cultivate subordinates who are extremely loyal.

The transactional style of leadership, on the hand, appeals to the business side of a subordinate. Leaders provide incentives for individuals to perform particular tasks, or work within certain parameters. For example, a leader may negotiate a deal where an employee receives bonus compensation for working odd hours. These kinds of leaders use barter and incentive to their advantage.

Relationships in the workplace

Transactional leadership differs from the transformational style, in ensuring that a distance is maintained between leader and subordinate. Subordinates of a transformational leader are likely to more loyal, because this kind of leader facilitates personal growth as well as professional. Individuals become grateful for the wisdom of these leaders. Transactional styles of leadership do not engage subordinates on a personal level.

Some of the greatest leaders in history have adopted the transformational style of management. This kind of style is difficult, because it requires leaders to have exceptional knowledge, as well as an unwavering conviction in their beliefs. It is no surprise then, that transactional leadership styles are more commonplace.

Career growth

Another key difference between the two management styles is the kind of need they appeal to. Transformational leadership styles encourage individuals to think of a ‘future self’ and then work towards fulfilling that image. As such, they are encouraged to plan for the longer-term, and base their decision making on grander commitments. Transactional styles of leadership look toward motivating individuals to fulfill business objectives in the short term. This kind of leadership style does not look to build a framework of thinking that allows individuals to better themselves professionally, but follows the rules of the conventional professional relationship of leader and follower.

Creating leaders

Perhaps the most important distinguishing feature between transactional and transformational management is the kind of mentality cultivated within employees. Since transformational leadership styles call out to an individual’s higher purpose, it encourages them to think laterally, and beyond the present organizational culture. They are given room to be creative and innovative with their ideas, and turn into prime candidates to become future leaders. The relationships cultivated may resemble the leader-protégé model.

Transactional leadership styles fail to manage this because there is no exchange of skills or knowledge. Subordinates are not exposed to any higher level of learning that would otherwise come with experience, and as such, stagnate professionally.

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