How to Assess, Evaluate & Recognize Leadership Style

Instructor: Joseph Madison

Joseph received his Doctorate from UMUC in Management. He retired from the Army after 23 years of service, working in intelligence, behavioral health, and entertainment.

This lesson identifies strategies that leaders can use to assess, evaluate and recognize strengths and weaknesses in their own unique leadership styles.

Leading a Team

Management is not solely telling people what to do and how to do it. Instead, management is learning how to persuade, support, and coax employees in a workplace environment. To manage effectively, it is key to understand your leadership style. Leadership styles can come from many different places. Perhaps you learned how to lead from a previous manager, school, or even your family. As you start to manage your own teams, it is important to reflect on your actions to determine how you lead and why. The more you know, the easier it will be to change or adapt your style to better lead the workforce you have. It is vital to remember that your leadership style affects your employees in positive and negative ways.

What Type of Leader Are You?

So, how do you determine your own leadership style? It can be challenging to reflect on your behaviors and actions. The following are some ways to assess your own personal leadership.

  • Communicate with your team - Send out a survey or have a meeting where you ask honest questions on how you are leading your team. Surveys are likely to result in more honest feedback; however, meetings allow for back-and-forth communication.
  • Ask your manager - Unless you are the owner of the business, you will also have a manager that you can ask about your leadership style. These candid discussions can help reveal behaviors you may not see.
  • Know your job requirements and compare - Make sure to look at your job responsibilities and compare your current processes to those. This will give you a good idea if you are meeting the standards.
  • Compare - Another option is to compare your leadership style to the four standard styles: authoritarian, delegative, democratic, or servant.

Leadership Styles

The following are the four leadership styles that are seen the most. It is important to remember though that everyone is unique, so it is likely that you have traits from a combination of these styles.

Authoritarian Leader

This leader is always in control and takes on all of the responsibility for the team. They have a set of goals for their employees, and do not allow for much, if any, feedback. These leaders are usually very analytical, efficient, and systematic in their approach.

  • Strengths - Productivity is high, and there is always a known goal.
  • Weaknesses - This leadership style can lead to micromanagement and low morale among employees.
  • Scenario: Marion, an academic advisor, sees an opportunity to create a resource for incoming graduate students, and asks her manager Eric if she can develop it. Eric reminds her they have goals to meet. He advises that if she has time after she has addressed her daily goals, she can work on it, but she must continually run it by him for approval.

Delegative Leader

Also called the laissez-faire leader, this leader delegates their authority. These managers do not intervene on their team's goals; instead, they imbue trust and take on a more supportive role. They engender trust, and create independent employees.

  • Strengths - Very little conflict, and allows employees to show their skills.
  • Weaknesses - Can result in low productivity if the workforce is relatively new and can create a disorganized environment.
  • Scenario - Oliver, a manager for an architectural firm, is working on reviving a historic house museum. He has delegated the interior rehabilitation to Megan, the siding to Mark, the trim to Diana, and the landscape to Erin. He gave them the historic background on the site and has given them full responsibility to revive it with no specified timeline.

Democratic Leader

This leader participates with their employees to reach team goals. They ask for feedback from employees and management as they work to encourage open communication. Although decisions are made as a team, the manager still retains liability and control over the team as a whole.

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