Page 4: Leadership styles in action
Although each person will have their own preferred leadership style, the most effective leaders adopt a style appropriate for the situation. They will consider several factors in deciding which style to use:
- The task - Is it business critical? Must a decision be made immediately? What will be the potential impact on the business?
- The team - Does it have the right skills and resources? Is it used to making decisions?
- Tradition - What has been the norm in the past?
For example, Martin uses a more authoritarian style if something needs achieving in a particular way or in a very quick timeframe. Sometimes budgets need to be reduced quickly in order to make cost savings. Martin will tell managers what needs to be done and by when, so that they can then resubmit their budgets in line with expectations.
Stephen regards inspiring, guiding and influencing his staff as an important part of his role. Sometimes he may need to inform his teams about a new in-store innovation or corporate initiative. Even though this is a 'tell' situation, Stephen aims to 'sell' the idea. He tries to ensure that staff understand why it is necessary. If his people are able to give their opinions, it is more likely that they will readily support the initiative.
Managers have to be aware of the possible consequences of using the wrong style in a particular situation. For example, Berian would not adopt a laissez-faire approach with a new member of the bakery team. If the employee is not given proper instruction before operating the baking equipment, the bread might be overcooked. Employees might also injure themselves if they don't use the equipment properly. In this situation, it is essential to adopt a 'tell' approach.