Last month, I described four leadership styles that emphasized control over empowerment. This month, I describe five more styles of leadership, all of which emphasize empowerment over control.
In the pacesetting style of leadership, the leader displays excellence through his or her own archetypal behavior. The leaders “sets the page” for others to follow by defining excellence. The leaders often chooses to perform similar tasks as the res tof the group members and seeks to model the ways that the tasks should be performed.
This style does not offer the level of contact with group members that some of the other empowering styles do, but this leader certainly exhibits more permission-giving behavior than the despotic, pervasive, proscriptive and normative leaders described last month. These leaders act as deans within an academy of experts.
The difficulty with this model lies in disseminating the leader’s behaviors to other members of the organization. This model can also be destroyed with a single lapse of integrity by the leader. Because rules are also more easily established than character, this style is slow to implement.
Many are familiar with the democratic style of leadership in which the leader maintains the mantra “majority rules.” This style of leadership promotes a sense of justice for those inside and outside the organization, and thus, is the most easily implemented.
Its limitations are found in its inability to assign import to different ideas or inputs. Thus, these leaders quickly discover that crowds, easily influenced by one leader one day, are just as easily influenced by another the following day—especially those who use methods of subterfuge.
To the extent that each individual accepts an appropriate level of responsibility for his or her involvement within the organization, this leader’s style will be effective.
Coaching is another style of leadership in which the leader serves the needs of immediate subordinates or group members. These leaders usually encourage entrepreneurial activity.
Such encouraging, however, usually pushes the limits of the leader’s available time as well as the available resources within the organization. Neither loners nor traditionalists make good coaches. This style’s effectiveness is based on the leader’s ability to inspire and motivate others and garner additional resources to meet the needs of the mentored.
In the consensus-building style, the leader grants veto power over new ideas to every member of the group. This style is effective to the extent that the leader can instill a sense of team commitment to goals greater than the sum of individual capabilities. Otherwise, the least common denominator is prone to mediocrity.
One strong benefit is that it builds ownership of decisions, allowing easier implementation of agreed-upon ideas. In implementing this style, people often underestimate the power of peer pressure within the system created by the leader, and thus they are resistant to the leader’s style during the early stages.
In the humanitarian style of leadership, people’s needs are paramount to the organization’s tasks. Individuals’ idiosyncrasies are allowed to take precedent over performance issues. The leader allows the brilliance as well as the incompetencies of individuals to flourish beyond any previously defined norms or expectations.
While building loyalty within the organization, it also creates a chaotic culture which many may find disturbing. This style often leads to conflicts between current practices and the history of the organization, unless the leader heads a start-up group or organization.
Jeff Woods is executive minister for the American Baptist Churches of Ohio.
Read “Leadership Styles: Part One.”
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Better Than Success: 8 Principles of Faithful Leadership
We’ve Never Done It Like This Before: 10 Creative Approaches to the Same Old Church Tasks
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