Best Business Leadership styles for 2021
If there’s one common lesson we can all learn from the world’s biggest corporations, it’s that a company is as good as its leadership structure. Managers play a huge role in ensuring performance goals across the different units of the organization, often under limited resources and competing interests.
Fortunately, the stereotype of the hard-nosed, type-A manager no longer holds as the latest research into organizational behavior indicates that successful managers employ a variety of leadership styles that can accommodate individuals with many different temperaments. The most common ones are:
Visionary or Imaginative Style
The visionary manager is passionate about the organization’s goals in the grand scheme of things and inspires others through their own vision and unique perspective on their business’ value proposition. Not the kind to be bogged down by technical details, these leaders are ideal for innovative businesses looking to disrupt the industries within which they exist. While their long-term vision makes them ideal when dealing with uncertainty, they tend to lose focus on short-term goals. Elon Musk of SpaceX and Tesla is the perfect example of this leadership style.
Democratic Management Style
This leadership style is decentralized and all about involving employees in the decision-making process. Employees tend to feel empowered under this style since the delegation of responsibilities means everyone has their skin in the game. While this leadership style may aid the solving of complex business problems, it is time-consuming and may even indicate a lack of decisiveness. Ultimately, any manager must successfully maintain the balance between being democratic and authoritative when needed. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, is known to be a democratic manager.
This leadership style is all about empowering and motivating employees to achieve their long-term organizational goals instead of simply telling them what to do. Because the focus here is on teaching employees themselves how to get the job done, it tends to reduce the attrition rate and may even be responsible for a more positive, upbeat work culture. However, this focus on mentoring employees is not very popular since it is considered ineffective. What’s more, mentoring doesn’t always serve its purpose, especially across long-term, complex projects requiring coordination across different departments. Marketing guru Seth Godin is known for using this leadership style.
Authoritarian management is perhaps what most people think of when they think of managers and bosses. As the name suggests, individuals with this leadership style seldom rely on input from others and offer structure and direction in steering teams towards organizational goals. What’s more, their firm attitudes can relieve the pressure of decision-making that many employees struggle with. However, when taken too far, this only alienates staff members and may even decrease employee morale in the long run. Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, is the personification of an authoritarian manager.
In one sentence, the pacesetting leadership style can be described as “Do as I do, now!” This leader motivates employees by going over and above in meeting organizational goals and setting an example for the level of commitment expected from everyone under them. However, they often end up as the victims of their own success since the standards they set are difficult, if not impossible, for many employees to maintain. What’s more, they tend to be rigid and don’t care about giving positive feedback. There’s no better example of this leadership style than Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook.