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Selecting The Right Business Leadership Style

Jan 3, 2008
Are you currently an organizational leader? Perhaps you are simply aspiring to be a leader or have suddenly been thrust into a new leadership position. In any case it is valuable to reflect for a few moments on the leadership style you currently practice or examine the possibilities available before you adopt a style that fits your personality as well as the group and tasks for which you have responsibility.

First it is important to identify leadership styles. While there are a myriad of combinations and circumstances that might dictate particular styles and strategies, essentially there are three basic styles. They are the directive type of leadership, participative style and delegating style. No one style is the panacea for every leadership challenge, so the knowledgeable and perceptive manager combines and utilizes the elements of each to fit the particular leadership situation demanded by the circumstances of the time.

The directive style of leadership is most commonly thought to be the most practiced and probably is, but it often does not fit the situation and may in fact lead to the failure of a team to accomplish a task if directives are simply issued and follow-up is not conducted to thoroughly insure that the directives are properly understood and acted upon.

The participative style of leadership demands the most time of a leader as it requires direct involvement in most cases. The leaders exerts the most control over situations if practicing this style since it is a more hands-on approach. A change in direction or a new approach to solving a problem can quickly be implemented utilizing the participative style of leadership.

The delegating style of leadership is dependent on a thorough understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the individual or individuals that have been delegated the authority to lead on one's behalf. It is critical to understand that authority can be delegated, but responsibility always rests in the hands of the leader.

This simple primer on leadership style should make it abundantly clear that there is ample opportunity for a leader to practice each style of leadership on an almost daily basis. Like a fighter that moves left, right, circles, jabs, punches and counter-punches, the successful leader adopts the style necessary to accomplish a particular job or task required by circumstance. No one style should dominate the life of an effective leader. Combining the elements of each business leadership style is sound advice for a current or aspiring leader.
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