Leadership Styles: Which type of leader are you?

While all small-business owners have their own particular method of inspiring employees, most use one or more of the following five leadership styles. Identifying how you lead can help you more effectively run your company. Which of the following leadership styles sounds most like you?

1. Participative

Also known as democratic leadership, the participative leadership style focuses on culling opinions from all employees in order to make a decision that reflects the majority’s opinion and desires. While the leader offers guidance and support, the decisions are primarily consensual among all involved, and the leader makes final decisions based on the majority’s vote.

2. Authoritarian

Authoritative leaders inform employees of a common vision and goal for the company and detail employee responsibilities designed to make reaching that goal a reality. There is a clear division between employees and the employer, and the employees are clear on the desired result. They are often given guidelines but allowed to fulfill their obligations as they see fit.

3. Laissez-Faire

In French, the term laissez-faire means “let it be,” which best describes this leadership style. Such a method involves leaders delegating decision-making and tasks. They keep abreast of what is occurring in the company and are available when advice and input are needed, but take a hands-off approach and let the employees work on their own.

4. Transformational

The transformational leadership style focuses on the leader that actively communicates with employees to motivate them to increase productivity and efficiency. The leader focuses on the big picture for the company, such as corporate goals—leaving the day-to-day details to management.

5. Servant

As the name implies, servant leaders tend to stay out of the limelight, often leading from behind and allowing the focus to be on the employees. Such leaders make service a top priority and often highly value integrity and generosity. Decision-making tends to be a group effort in such environments.

The servant leadership model tends to work well for organizations such as nonprofits that are committed to a particular cause, because the mission becomes the center of attention. Such a leadership model does not work for all types of businesses—especially those with tight deadlines.