Leadership is in the zeitgeist. People are looking to their leaders to help them navigate a complex and uncertain world, and they have a lot of questions about how to behave in high-stakes situations. But just because people are more curious about leadership-related topics doesn’t mean that it’s easy for others to teach these skills.
That’s why we’ve put together this post all about how to become a successful business leader, complete with info on what comprises successful leadership styles, as well as what you can do if you’re struggling at work.
Effective leaders are good at handling uncertainty and conflict because leading requires them to make hard decisions in the face of ambiguity. Furthermore, the skills that make a leader effective are more than just having a lot of formal training.
The research on leadership styles suggests that most leaders are fairly similar to one another, in terms of how they think and act. They tend to be decisive, or at least decisive enough, they’re not very emotionally reactive, and they tend to be more rational than others. These natural tendencies don’t necessarily dictate how effective a leader is – leadership effectiveness depends on the concrete decisions a leader is making.
An autocratic leader rules with an iron fist. They have the answers and they expect their employees to follow. This is an outdated style of leadership that has fallen out of favour because no one likes to be ordered around, and in a business, you need people with different skills to work together effectively.
An authoritative leader is a visionary. They are highly confident in their knowledge and leadership. They tend to set expectations while engaging and energising team members.
This style is based on competitiveness and the need to prove that you are the best. Pacesetters are very competitive, achievement-oriented, and love to win. They tend to take a lot of risks, which helps them achieve their goals.
A great coach can help us grow as individuals, but that doesn’t mean they’re great leaders. There is no set profile for coaching style leaders, but they work well with other styles and can use their own strengths in different situations.
Democratic leaders encourage participation and make sure they are communicating effectively. They are often the most friendly, and they value teamwork.
Affiliative leaders are supportive and effective in building relationships. They tend to be viewed as fair, accessible, and kind.
This is the hands-off style of leadership. While it’s not the most effective style, because employees don’t know where they stand, it is a lot more common in small businesses.
Leadership Styles are affected by cultural influences and how leaders were raised, but they also appear to be influenced more by lifestyle choices than personality. A lot of research suggests that one’s level of supportiveness can predict a leader’s effectiveness, while personality doesn’t seem to be a driving force.
Knowledge is key to success
Regardless of your leadership style, knowledge is a key factor to becoming a successful leader. Leadership effectiveness depends very much on the concrete decisions a leader is making.
Leaders who are good at thinking critically and who have a sense of their personal and collective strengths are better able to select the right goals, create and maintain a climate conducive to high performance, motivate their team, set clear expectations, ensure that teams deliver on commitments, recruit sufficiently competent colleagues and manage crises. Studying can give you the edge needed to effectively lead your team or company. Pursuing an Aston University MBA will put you on the path to becoming a successful leader.
One of the most important skills you need to develop as a leader is self-awareness. If you can’t admit your own mistakes, then how can you expect employees to do the same? People who are in denial are not attractive leaders, and their teams will be less motivated. Instead of being able to learn from mistakes, they will always try to cover them up or blame other people for them.
What should you do if you are struggling at work?
If you are struggling as a leader, you may feel like you’re the only person going through it. However, everyone has to deal with a challenging boss or difficult employee at some point in their career. What can you do when you find yourself in this situation?
Here are some things you can do if you’re struggling at work:
- Talk it out with someone who knows how to help
Confide in an unbiased party such as an HR representative. This can be more constructive than talking about it with your team. Your team expect leadership and may not have all the answers, but HR reps are trained on conflict resolution and understanding work-life balance.
- Get help from a professional
If you’re struggling at work, it’s important to talk to someone who can put your problems into perspective. Sometimes, it’s difficult to be objective about your career when it seems like everything is falling apart. A business and career coach can help you develop a long-term strategy, so you’re able to see the bigger picture as opposed to just reacting in the present moment.
- Maintain realistic work expectations
It’s very easy for people to get frustrated when they are unhappy with their job because they think that their ideal job exists somewhere else. If you shift your perspective and start to look at what you can learn in the context of your day-to-day work, it might turn out that you don’t hate your career after all.
It can be tough at the top, but with a good leadership style, knowledge and the support of a good team, you can thrive in your career. There are many theories about leadership styles, and which ones are best can depend on the circumstances. A one-size-fits-all approach to leadership doesn’t work in today’s dynamic business world. There isn’t just one way to be a good leader, and some of the techniques that work for some leaders may not work for others. The most important part of being a leader is understanding who you are and what your strengths and weaknesses are. Understanding your own strengths and weaknesses will help you gain self-awareness and become a better leader for yourself, your team and the company as a whole.