Types of Leadership
Which One Is the Best?

It is beginning to seem almost ridiculous as to how many different types of leadership are being thrown out into the arena as legitimate. Speaking from someone that has been in a leadership role for almost forty years I find it difficult to believe that we are referring to some of these styles as actual leadership types.

As an example, autocratic leadership or bureaucratic leadership seem to me to fall more into the area of management than leadership. This style of leadership could be better described as “my way or the highway” or “by the book.” In either case this is what we ask those in management to do, i.e., manage a specific process.

Leadership on the other hand is not management and management is not leadership. Leadership implies clearly leading something which by definition means someone or something is following.

Let’s just list a few types of leadership; charismatic, situational, transformational, relationship, servant, democratic, task-oriented, people-oriented, laissez-faire (a French Phrase), and maybe participative. Of course there are countless more labels they have attached to the word leadership.

Rather than list different types of leadership let’s examine what true leadership should look like and forget about the titles.

True leadership starts with someone having a vision of what things can be, or should be! Then being able to help those around them to see that same vision! Almost always it involves some type of cause that is greater than any one single person, including the leader themselves. Finally, a great leader is able to inspire those around them to move toward that vision in an effort to accomplish it. That same great leader is able to determine the knowledge and skills of those they lead so that they know whether they require assistance from outside the team they are leading. In addition to understanding those they are leading they are also very good at anticipating problems and envisioning solutions before they happen.

Thinking back in history it must have taken a tremendous leader to envision goals like, crossing the Atlantic Ocean, inventing the automobile, inventing the airplane, traveling to the moon, and so on. Colonel Sanders founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken heard “I’m not interested in your idea” over nine hundred times before he finally heard a yes. He had a vision and stuck with it until he could get someone else to see the vision also.

If I were to endorse one of the types of leadership I believe best suites a leader today it would be the situational leadership theory. This leadership theory in my opinion demonstrates the best style of leadership since it revolves around being flexible. I have four adult children who were all raised by both my wife and I and not one of them have the same personality. If we stuck to the exact same style of parenting we would have failed miserably. Therefore, the situational leadership style means exactly that, you base your approach to those you are leading on them and not one size fits all.

Before you go any further in your search for all the different types of leadership I would think about your personal style of leadership and then observe others and what motivates them. Learn from observing as many different types of people as you can and the true key is to understand what motivates them. Again, do not fall into the trap of thinking one size fits all.

Thank you and May GOD Bless You!

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