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3 Common Leadership Approaches in the Workplace

A myth exists that great leaders are born and not made. However, although certain figures (army generals or presidential candidates) appear to possess some innate ability, leadership in the workplace is a skill that can be learned.

People naturally develop different leadership styles to fit their personalities. That said, skilled executives may adapt their approaches and use a range of techniques to address different situations. Manhattan College’s online master’s degree in organizational leadership offers a comprehensive look at leadership styles and practices. It can help students hone their leadership styles and learn to modify their approaches when needed.

When it comes to leadership in the workplace, three approaches leaders often take are: laissez faire, democratic and authoritative. Each approach has its strengths and weaknesses.

A leader who uses the laissez faire approach will take advantage of his or her workers’ creativity and adaptability1. This type of leader will often set a goal and then step aside to allow the employees to complete their job function. Workers enjoy the freedom to function outside of a rigid structure. This is an excellent approach for creating future leaders. However, team members who need more direction may not have the support they need. This approach relies heavily on a self-motivated team to be successful.2

The democratic approach brings workers from different levels of the company together to solve a problem. Decision making is shared and each team member’s input is valued. This approach can increase productivity, job satisfaction and the team members’ self-esteem. Because decision making is shared this is not considered an effective form of leadership when dealing with an inexperienced team.

The authoritative approach - which is the model often found in the American workplace - leaves important decisions in the hands of the leaders. It’s an efficient approach, but it often demoralizes workers and can stifle creativity. Conflict may arise if team members know more about a subject matter than the leader.

The leadership approach clearly depends a lot on the circumstances of a project. But it also depends on the comfort level of the leader. Confidence in a leadership role comes with guidance from leadership professionals, knowledge of workplace dynamics and hands-on experience – all of which derive from a good leadership training program.

To learn more about your leadership style, and the strengths and areas of opportunity associated with it, take this quiz from Manhattan College.  Through a series of 10 questions it presents a variety of leadership situations and assesses your reactions to each.

To learn more about Manhattan College’s M.S. in Organizational Leadership contact our Admissions office at (855) 841-2843 or request more information

 

1http://psychology.about.com/od/leadership/f/laissez-faire-leadership.htm

2http://online.manhattan.edu/programs/masters-in-organizational-leadership/resources/global-leadership-skills