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If you’ve had multiple managers or jobs, you will know that not every leader has the same approach.
While some leaders or managers can leave you feeling undervalued and demotivated, others have the power to lift you up and encourage your creativity and contributions.
So if you’re the one in charge – perhaps at work, coaching a sporting team, running the uni newspaper or directing your local amateur theatre production – it pays to know what kind of leader you are.
Associate Professor Colin Higgins, of Deakin’s Faculty of Business and Law, says while there are many different kinds of leadership styles, three of the most common are: authoritative, participative and charismatic.
The most appropriate style will likely depend on the situation.
‘Sometimes if there’s a crisis or something that’s urgent, there may not be time to be participative. So something like the command and control authoritarian style is necessary and appropriate and people tend to accept it,’ Assoc. Prof. Higgins says.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews during the COVID-19 lockdowns has been an example of this, he says.
‘He’s the premier, he can make the rules, because we just have to get on and get things done.’
At other times, when longer-term culture is at stake, Assoc. Prof. Higgins says a participative style of leadership – where the team is involved in sharing ideas and making decisions – might be the best fit.
Whereas a charismatic leader is usually a mixture of both of the above.
Examples of a charismatic leader might include Richard Branson, Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, sports coaches – or at the evil end, Adolf Hitler or a cult leader.
While some leaders will act on gut instinct, Assoc. Prof. Higgins says it’s also possible to have mentoring and training, and invest in understanding the many different approaches to leadership.
Whether you fancy yourself as a Jacinda Ardern, Bill Gates or Beyoncé-style leader, it’s a good idea to find role models, or a mentor, he says.
It also pays to learn from your leadership mistakes.
‘That’s another thing that’s really important for good leaders – is that they are reflective, they can take a step back and understand why something worked, and why something didn’t work, and what they might do to improve or change going forward.’
Take this quiz to figure out your leadership style and what that means for those under your guidance.
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