Styles of Leadership
It is important to evaluate styles of leadership so that organizations can justify having leaders and ensure that leaders are keeping those they lead productive and content as they go about the work of the organization. Consequences of poor leadership can be a poor work product, attrition of employees, and harm to the organization and to the human beings that work there. Human beings who have negative experiences with leaders can have a diminished sense of self-esteem whereas positive experiences can increase self-esteem (Hudson, 2013).
The Best and the Worst Type of Leadership Styles
There are numerous leadership styles based upon the style approach and the situational approach which center around how leaders relate to those they lead and how they direct or organize tasks. There is a continuum of leadership styles but most generally agree that there is a worst one and though leadership may be situational there is an ideal best leadership style.
Apathy – The Worst Leadership Style
While it could be assumed that the worst leadership type would be authoritarian characterized by being demanding, overbearing, and not engaging in human relations (Northouse, 2015). This is not the case. The worst sort of management style is the apathetic managerial style referred to as impoverished management or a laissez faire style of management characterized by a leader being uninvolved and uninterested in those they lead. An apathetic managerial style not only does harm to the individuals being lead but to the whole organization resulting in nonproductive or underproductive individuals (Skogstad et al., 2014). In addition the effects of apathetic leadership in an organization can have effects lasting as long as two years (Skogstad et al., 2014). Apathetic leaders can cause chaotic thinking, affect confidence, and stifle personal growth of those they lead (Hudson, 2013).
Transformational Leadership – The Best Leadership Style
The best leadership style has been called team management, constructive leadership, or transformational (Northouse, 2015) (Skogstad et al., 2014). It is characterized by high levels of interaction and directed and clear task explanation and direction towards followers. This type of leadership can result in brief but not sustained job satisfaction (Skogstad et al., 2014). However, this leadership style has the ability to increase the self-esteem, personal value, and security of followers (Hudson, 2013).
The Continuum of Leadership Styles
While the above styles are the best and the worst leadership styles. There is a continuum of leadership styles that are used in various situations. For example, in a family with young children the leadership style might be highly supportive and highly directive because the children are learning new skills and need instruction and support. In addition, in the coaching of a sport a highly directive and highly supportive leadership style may be used to teach skills that can facilitate a win and support players to have the confidence to win. In a workplace, the continuum of leadership styles are used based on the type of duties that need to be fulfilled. For example, skilled employees with lots of commitment may need high support and low directives. Finally for a community event or volunteer organization where individuals are passionate for a cause they might need a leadership style that is highly directive such as how many doughnuts to sell, where to pick them up, and drop payment off with very little support from a leader.
Hudson, D. L. (2013). Attachment theory and leader-follower relationships. The Psychologist-Manager Journal, 16(3), 147–159. http://doi.org/10.1037/mgr0000003
Northouse, P. G. (2015). Leadership: Theory and practice. Sage publications.
Skogstad, A., Aasland, M. S., Nielsen, M. B., Hetland, J., Matthiesen, S. B., & Einarsen, S. (2014). The relative effects of constructive, laissez-faire, and tyrannical leadership on subordinate job satisfaction: Results from two prospective and representative studies. Zeitschrift Für Psychologie, 222(4), 221–232. http://doi.org/10.1027/2151-2604/a000189