What are leadership models?
Leadership is a flexible concept in terms of the methods and models used for specific applications. Some leaders fit into a single leadership category, while others pull from different leadership models, adapting them for the best fit for their situation. Different leadership models are generally used as guides that outline specific leadership behaviors and how they’re effective for specific environments and situations.
A leadership model shows examples of how to lead. This differs from a leadership style, which represents the way an individual leads based on a combination of their personality, industry, workplace culture and ideals they pulled from different leadership models. A style of leadership is almost always customised to what the environment demands and can be the deciding factor in whether or not a project or team succeeds.
There are many leadership models (possibly numbering into the hundreds), but they generally fall into one of a few broad categories.
- Servant leadership
Servant leadership does not mean that you have to act like a servant. It is neither a technique not a style of leadership. In this model, the leaders need to focus on the needs of others, especially the needs of their team members, before considering their own. Their job is to acknowledge the perspectives of other people and support them in achieving their goals in the right manner.
- Autocratic leadership
The leaders have a ‘god-like’ power and control over their team. Team members have limited option to suggest or comment on what it would be best for the team. There are benefits of this leadership model and it can give results. It is easy to make decisions quickly and get to solutions efficiently. However, there are high chances that it may lead to high level of team disengagement and turnover of the team members.
- Transactional leadership
In this model of leadership, a leader must assign certain tasks to the team members to perform. If the team member delivers a good performance results then a leader must reward them. If they do not perform as expected then they should be “punished”. This leadership model is almost entirely based on outcome and can lead to exceptional gains in the right environment, however it can also quickly lead to negative team morale, burnout and high team turnover.
- Team First leadership
Completely focuses on supporting, organising and creating the people in the team. It requires participation of the leader and the team members. The leader must encourage the team members and they achieve goals with a strong team work ethic. It is completely opposite to leadership which is task oriented. The role of a leader needs complete involvement, they must advise and help the team members whenever required.
- Democratic leadership
This type of leadership involves team members in the decision making process. This type of leadership allows the team mermbers to show their creativity and talent and thus contribute in the decision making associated with the project. This gives team members a job satisfaction and results in better productivity too. This may not be that effective if you need to make a quick decision for any critical issue of the project or where the leader requires prompt solution on certain project aspects.
Which is best?
Modeling your leadership after a single model can breed a specific culture within your organisation or team. As people are diverse and multifaceted, that culture may not prove advantageous to your business in the long-term. However, with a clear idea of the vision and goals you have set for your organisation, you will be able to understand the skills, personalities and diverse strengths of the employees you need to help you succeed and the leadership model/style that will help facilitate this success.
For successful implementation of leadership values, it’s usually most advantageous to identify what parts of each leadership model will promote the type of culture and success you want your business to experience. Different business sectors will, of course, benefit from different combinations of leadership values, which is why it’s important to be flexible in trying out different things and evaluating the short-term successes of each in terms of the work environment, team retention and generated revenue.
How about you?
Reading through the above leadership model outlines – which one makes you feel uncomfortable!? On the other hand, which would you like to operate under as a team member? Which would allow you to thrive as a team member?