When managing others, each of us practices at least one of the five leadership styles – Bureaucratic, Supportive, Directive, Traditional or Collaborative. These styles can be defined as follows:
Bureaucratic: Relies on routine operating policies and procedures to accomplish tasks, while limiting interpersonal interactions.
Supportive: Builds harmonious and collaborative relationships among employees, particularly in high-stress or tense work environments.
Directive: Provides clear and unambiguous coaching and guidance, and is particularly strong with tight deadlines or crisis situations. Primarily concerned with driving results as opposed to people concerns.
Traditional: Seeks to get the best possible results without negatively affecting morale. Balances workloads, overburdened team members, and political considerations. Excels at getting good results with limited resources.
Collaborative: Builds on open communication, drawing out creative resources, facilitates learning and development, actively shows support and commitment, and provides regular feedback regarding performance. This style combines a high level of concern for execution with a high level of concern for people development.
Of the five leadership styles, the Collaborative Leader is usually most effective in the long-term. But, effective leaders must remember that each individual and situation may require a different style. As leaders, we must put on our detective hats and continuously evaluate what’s going on around us. Being an effective leader means being continually aware, alert, and flexible to meet the needs of people and situations.
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