We see them in the office, in politics, in sports. We see them every day around us organizing, commanding, controlling. We see them exercising their authority in various types of leadership . They are the leaders, people of flesh and blood whose function is to guide a group towards the objectives set quickly, decisively and efficiently.
Depending on the level of authority, the field in which they operate or the strategies they choose, leaders develop various types of leadership that fit various functions, with their advantages and disadvantages.
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Definition and characteristics of the leader
Leadership is defined as the ability to direct the efforts of a job towards the final objective with maximum efficiency. Therefore, leaders are people who have a series of qualities that give them competitive advantages over the other people in a group.
The relationship between that leader and the others is based on the concepts of authority-obedience. The leader assumes the risks of leading the group, and success or failure rests on his shoulders. The group assumes obedience as blind faith in the capabilities of the leader.
However, authority is not enough. What differentiates a leader from a boss is qualitative: the boss exercises a cold authority over his team, while the leader directs and organizes being for others a reference and a guide. That is why he has a series of specific qualities:
1. Moral leadership
The leader has to be an example for the group, because only then will he obtain obedience and discipline. The subordinates follow the leader by corporate hierarchy, but above all because they believe in him and because he inspires confidence and security.
Although psychology and leadership theories have created strategies to lead efficiently, in the end the best leaders are those who, through example, transmit their values to the rest of the group .
A leader is an organizer and a planner, but above all a guide: that reference to which subordinates look when they are lost. Therefore, especially in times of difficulty , a fundamental trait in the leader is security.
To the extent that this leader knows how to convey stability and security in the group, he will achieve a solid base from which to exploit the virtues of each one.
Defining tasks and organizing the group to fulfill them is one of the most practical traits of a leader. That is why they are usually organized and very lucid people, capable of optimizing the qualities of each one and guiding them to the task.
For a good organization and planning, the leader has to meet two conditions: a good knowledge of the tasks and a good knowledge of his team.
What differentiates a leader from a boss is his special training to motivate the group . From his charisma and his psychology, he will know how to encourage his subordinates to give their best.
That trait is so important that all the psychological techniques oriented to leadership have taken it as the most important part to develop. Everything centers on that.
Although there are more authoritarian types of leadership and others more democratic, they all need communication to a greater or lesser extent .. This is essential because it helps the leader to know his team to know how to manage and organize it.
The type of authoritarian leadership will use communication to transmit orders clearly and precisely, while the participative leader will make communication the key prop in his one-to-one relationship with his subordinates.
10 types of leadership
Psychology has developed several strategies so that the leader can carry out his guiding task with maximum efficiency. Thus we can distinguish between more authoritarian leadership profiles and others based on horizontality.
There are several types of leaders, such as the business leader, the educational leader, the political leader, the leader in a group… And all of them can be adjusted to the following typologies or types of leadership with their respective examples.
1. Autocratic leader
This is a type of leadership that has not been updated with the psychological evolution of the leader and his adjustment to new needs. However, it is very effective in crisis situations or when high efficiency is required in a short time.
Autocratic leadership is based on the unidirectionality of orders and non-interactionbetween the leader and the group. The leader issues clear and concise orders and the group obeys without question. That is why they are very necessary when you enter a critical period and you need to tackle problems such as excessive relaxation, chaos or lack of coordination.
The drawback of the authoritarian leader is that he easily generates animosity in the group and his position will always depend on his success. When an authoritarian leader imposes a heavy hand on him but does not get the promised results, his days are numbered.
The autocratic leader exercises authoritarian leadership, without room for discussion. | Image by: Felix Lichtenfeld.
2. Bureaucratic leader
It is a type of leadership almost banished from companies, although it can still be seen in certain sectors.The bureaucratic leader has zero charisma and bases all his ascendancy on the discipline and representation of a specific brand or ideology.
What characterizes the bureaucratic leader is that he is the incarnation of a political party, an administration or a business brand, and as such he conveys his ideas and values in a cold and rational way . He usually conveys the rules and regulations as strictly as his demand for compliance.
It is a type of leadership more designed for the political sphere, but some companies use it when they find themselves in a situation of little security or weakness.
3. Charismatic leader
It is an evolution of autocratic leadership and is halfway between authority and participatory democracy. Despite this, the charismatic leader has a hard time giving up power and always likes to have the last word.
But unlike the autocratic leader, the charismatic has great abilities that make him admired and respected by the group. The virtue of him is that he generates enthusiasm , either by his physical appearance, the way he speaks or the courage in his actions, and infects the group with energy and motivation.
That is why it is difficult for a charismatic leader to delegate functions: he believes he is far above the rest and has assumed a supposed messianic role that he cannot renounce.
4. Democratic leader
It is also called participative leadership and is closer to the modern concept of leader that is being introduced in companies today. Its main characteristic is that it gives the group great decision-making capacity, while renouncing part of its authority.
For this you need a great preparation in psychological techniques of group management, since democratic and participatory leadership offers a series of risks to be taken into account. If not handled properly it can lead to weakness , chaos, confrontation and poor results.
However, the great advantage is that it allows team members to feel an active part of decision-making and that gives them the motivation to work efficiently.beyond economic motivation. Exercised intelligently and skillfully, democratic leadership can evolve into a charismatic type of leadership.
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5. Laissez-faire leadership
It is based on the French expression laissez-faire (let it be done), and therefore it is about a leader who assumes a passive role and gives all the autonomy of decisions to the members of the group. In this case the leader has a supervisory role.
The dangers of this type of leadership are obvious: if the members of the group lack experience and initiative , the development of their activity can be chaotic and disastrous . But when they have preparation and push, it can be a success.
In fact, this is based on psychological studies that ensure that when a person is trained and has great virtues in the development of an activity, a very rigid leadership is counterproductive, since it ends up acting as a corse or limiter of the creative impulse and efficiency. .
6. Natural leader
It is a type of charismatic leadership, since it generates admiration and veneration in the group, but what makes it special is that the natural leader is not recognized as such. In other words, he does not have a specific position that gives him specific responsibilities.
However, his capacity for persuasion and his resolution skills give him an intrinsic ascendancy among the group. In other words: the natural leader is one whom the community blindly follows without having to hold office.
Within companies there are natural leaders who accumulate very good results, and their voice is heard with more force even than the official boss. In society we can also easily detect it, because their opinions are always heard and respected even when they do not have any position.
leadership It is an evolved form of leadership that is increasingly fashionable in companies, and consists of the system of rewards and punishments, that is, of transactions. In this case, the leader motivates his team through material or immaterial incentives.
In this case, concrete and momentary effort is rewarded, instead of focusing attention on a final objective. It also assumes that, in some way, the worker strives for a purely lucrative and individual reason and is disassociated from the general interest . On the contrary, it is a very effective and pragmatic type of leadership. In this leadership, a close communication between leader and subordinates
is usually used , so that the system of rewards and punishments is flexible and is assumed as an equal treatment in which both parties benefit. 8. Transformational leadership
This type of leadership devised by the expert James V. Downton, has been considered the most efficient of all. Based on the experiences of great leaders such as Martin Luther King or Franklin D. Roosevelt, it focuses on the fusion of the leader and his subordinates with him as one man.
On a practical level, this means that the leader and the errands motivate each other to achieve the common goal. The leader must have a moral exemplarity that generates loyalty and motivation to the subordinate, and from there develop close communication between both parties.
Among the various advantages of this type of leadership is its ability to generate high expectations, its motivation to achieve common goals, its creation of equity within the team (no one is above anyone else), its ability to generate involvement in the group etc.
leadership They are leaders with a more authoritarian profile whose activity is aimed at guaranteeing the efficient fulfillment of the task . It basically focuses on that and the rest of the qualities of a leader subordinate to that. That is why they tend to be cold and distant.
Leadership can be group-oriented, person-oriented, or task-oriented. | Image from: Pixabay.
Their great virtue is their great ability to set goals, define tasks and organize the team. His orders are always clear and precise and require disciplined compliance. If exercised correctly, it gives good results and offers efficiency.
His obsession is to increase productivity, but this Stakhanovist mentality often demotivates workers, since task-oriented leadership neglects the well-being of employees.
leadership It is a type of leadership opposite to the previous one that emphasizes the construction of a team. According to this philosophy, focusing on results is counterproductive, and instead it usually gives good results to focus efforts on building a good team, motivating it and training it..
This is a leader of a democratic type that gives a lot of capacity for participation to the subordinate and allows the team to take over. Through this strategy he manages to generate the idea that they are an active part of the project and success and failure are shared , so that his ability to work goes beyond a simple economic motivation.
On the other hand, he is in danger of forgetting or moving away from the real objective of a company, the final result. For this reason, companies increasingly combine people-oriented leadership with task-oriented leadership.
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