What is Your Leadership Style?

Have you ever given that some thought? Just as there are many personality styles, there are several styles of leadership. Let’s take a look at some of them and notice where you fit.

The different styles of leadership bring about different means of implementing strategies, how you motivate others, and how you provide direction to followers.

First there is Paternalistic. As you might have guessed, the paternalistic style of leadership is becoming a “father figure” to the followers. This particular style promotes trust and loyalty, and followers tend to become committed to the leader.

There are many advantages to this style, but a couple of drawbacks. People might become too dependent on these father (or mother) figures, and might not grow in their own ability to make decisions and take action. However, if you find yourself in this niche, your  encouragement for growth and development in your followers could help others to reach their potential.

Second, we come to the Laissez-faire style. This might be described as the “hands off” method of leadership. In this style, your followers will make all or most of the decisions – and you will only offer support when it’s requested. If your followers are very skilled and/or educated and can be trusted, this style might work very well. By definition, this style of leadership shows respect for the followers, so you can see how this is a good style in certain situations.

Third, the style is Authoritarian. This is where strictness is the rule of thumb. If you are authoritarian, you might be prone to micromanage and keep close control over your followers. Policies and procedures are in the forefront here – and efficiency is the primary target. This style is really necessary in certain situations where time is important. For instance, if you are managing a fast-food restaurant and you have heavy business at lunch or dinner, you have to have strict guidelines, or you won’t be able to service your customers. But if you are running a youth ministry, this method won’t work very well. 

Fourth, we come to Transformational Leadership. This leader has the  intent of transforming his or her followers. These leaders may be very charismatic and meet challenges with clear purpose. This type of leadership works well for ministers. Of course, the goal should be to help people change and reach the potential which God has for them.

The fifth style of leadership is Transactional. This focus of this leadership style is on motivating through rewards and punishment. These leaders recognize good performance and may provide material rewards – or honors – for that performance. This style also might notice poor performance and attempt to bring about change at that end of the spectrum. These leaders are good at enforcing rules and laws within a group.

When you recognize your leadership style, you can see which types of challenges you might be ready for – and which ones you aren’t. If you are laissez-faire, you wouldn’t do too well managing a fast-food restaurant. However, if you are too authoritarian, you won’t be a fit to lead in a church or volunteer organization.

When submitted to God’s hand, every leadership style has its place. All of them can be kind and affirming. All of them can produce good results in the people and the projects at hand.

Your primary goal here should be to submit yourself to God and His Word, and pursue to grow in your particular calling. You will find great satisfaction in being who you are – and being true to God and to yourself.