Business & Startups

7 most common leadership styles – and how to identify your own –

Can you change your leadership style?

Above, we’ve outlined the pros and cons of the most common leadership styles in business so you can see where they can go wrong, as well as right.

Let’s say you think your approach is starting to conflict with your staff or company culture. Then comes the issue of what to do next.

Once you’ve detected the need for change, how can you alter something as fundamental as leadership style?

Ultimately, yes you can. But it requires changing your mindset, which is much easier to put into words than to practice. Doing so brings lots of points to consider:

  • Who might changing my leadership style help?
  • Who might it hinder?
  • Do others in the business agree that my leadership style needs to change?
  • What will the new style achieve?
  • How will it impact the overall business strategy?

Pretend a hypothetical tech startup is going through an acquisition. If its CEO is an autocratic leader, it might be a good idea for them to adjust their style to a more democratic method to properly gauge how the workforce is reacting to such a disruptive event.

However, only once they’ve answered all of the above questions will they be able to judge whether it is worth changing leadership style to accommodate for this scenario.

Should you change your leadership style?

Yes, but it shouldn’t be approached lightly. If you are making a conscious decision to adopt new traits then your new style will be inauthentic and will undeniably bring significant challenges.

Chiefly, forcing a style that doesn’t align with your true personality brings performance risks. This is especially true if you’re thinking long-term, as it is difficult to sustain an alternate persona past a specific project or campaign.

There are situations, however, where being inauthentic might be valuable. Particularly during specific, short-term circumstances, the benefits will likely outweigh the drawbacks. For example, by being coaching or supportive with new starters, where you might previously have preferred a laissez-faire style.

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