Leadership Styles: Which one are you?

Once upon a time in the world of leadership, a book was published that defined as succinctly as it could be, the difference between transformational and transactional leadership. And what it meant to be a transformational leader. The year was 1978, the book was titled Leadership, and the author was James MacGregor Burns.  

Are you a transactional or a transformational leader? Or let’s go one step further and add two other leadership styles to the mix, as there is a leadership style that sits before both transactional leadership and transformational leadership.  

So, what’s your leadership style? Remembering that transformational leadership is the nirvana of leadership and that there are times when you might need to demonstrate the other leadership styles. On purpose, not by default. And with the right intent. Also remembering that under pressure, leaders can tend to revert to a ‘lower-level’ leadership style… 

Tepid Leadership  
Tepid leadership (a TGG descriptor) is about hands off leadership. The leader who is tepid would describe themselves as having an ‘autonomous’ style. ‘My team is self-managing,’ they might say. ‘They are all good at their jobs, and they don’t need me interfering.’ Yes, but they do need to you understand what is happening in the team. In a textbook on leadership, this style would be defined as laissez-faire. 

Transactional Leadership  
Transactional leadership is based very much on the exchange. Or a contingent reward. This leadership style is conditional, and you will hear transactional leaders say, ‘if only they would do what they are supposed to, I would reward them.’ These leaders are very focused on process and procedures also. They expect strict compliance with business practice and are on the lookout for variance or non-compliance.  

Trust-less Leadership  
Trust-less leadership (another TGG descriptor) is about overly hands on leadership. Aka micromanagement. The trust-less leader might say that ‘if you want it done properly, you need to do it yourself,’ or ‘I have to keep showing people how to do their jobs, when will they ever learn.’ Trust-less leaders miss getting the best out of their teams, as they don’t allow them to shine, and be their best. A textbook definition might call this leadership style authoritarian. 

Transformational Leadership  
This leadership style, in short, is about developing more leaders. Inspiring followers to achieve extraordinary outcomes for themselves and the team. In 2015, Wendy Quinn described that transformational leadership focuses on individualised consideration of each team member, they create intellectual stimulation, they provide inspirational motivation, and a role model idealised influence. These leaders engage hearts and minds. 

What leadership style are you? And what could you do to be more transformational?  

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About Anton

Anton has dedicated his working life to helping leaders to upgrade their mindset, upskill their leadership, and uplift their teams! With a focus on helps leaders to better lead under pressure. Anton is an entrepreneur, speaker, consultant, bestselling author and founder of The Guinea Group. Over the past 19 years, Anton has worked with over 175+ global organisations, he has inspired workplace leadership, safety, and cultural change. He’s achieved this by combining his corporate expertise, education (Bachelor of HR and Psychology), and infectious energy levels.
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