Organizational leadership: Four styles for the emerging crisis
February 16, 2012
Many people don't view leadership as an acquired skill - they see it as a natural personality trait. But with employee loyalty and retention rates nearing crisis levels across the globe, organizations are finding particular benefit in developing their company leaders in-house.
A survey released this week by Development Dimensions International found more than one-third of global employees - 34 percent - say they rarely consider their leaders to be effective. Even more - 37 percent - claim they are only sometimes or never motivated by their managers to do their best. Another 35 percent say their boss rarely listens to their workplace concerns.
Perhaps most surprising is the number of respondents - 60 percent - who say their managers sometimes or often damage their self-esteem.
"These findings should be of enormous concern to any business," said Simon Mitchell, director at DDI U.K. "They show that leaders are failing in their obligation to employees and, therefore, their organization. The consequences of managers and bosses with poor leadership skills are enormous, and the impact good leaders have in terms of employee motivation and productivity are significant."
So it's clear: Many employees are disengaged or even discouraged almost directly at the hands of their leaders. This is unacceptable, as organizations have a variety of options for improving their leadership potential and driving productivity.
Glen Blickenstaff, CEO of The Iron Door company, writes in Inc. magazine that there are four key leadership styles that organizations should work to master: directive, participative, laissez-faire and adaptive.
1.) Directive - This style is very traditional and is frequently described as autocratic, Blickenstaff explains. Essentially, leaders tell people what to do and expects them to jump to it without much subtlety or beating around the bush.
2.) Participative - This involves the gathering of input from colleagues or employees and participating with individuals leading the decision-making process.
3.) Laissez-faire - This refers to a sort of hands-off approach that allows for both individual initiative and independent work.
4.) Adaptive - "A fluid style that takes into consideration the context of the environment and the individual being led," Blickenstaff explains.
"Adapting our approach to consider the context and individual we are working with is important in developing and leading a staff," he adds.