The first few posts will focus on understanding leader/leadership styles and qualities so that you have a foundation from which to base your actions and so that you can verify that what I am suggesting are valid truths, instead of un-grounded assumptions. To be sure, there are leaders and managers; one old adage says, “Leaders lead and managers manage.” Regardless as to whether considered ‘good or bad’, a universal truth is that leaders inspire, influence, encourage, motivate and drive. Good leaders make us want to emulate them while poor leaders provide us with examples of what not to do.
Although numerous leadership styles, approaches and theories exist, I want to touch briefly on three – situational, participative and transformational, and the similar qualities found in each that you can successfully follow.  Beinecke and Spencer (2007), Geller (2008), Edmonstone (2009) and Luckcock (2010) identified Ten Common Leadership Qualities found in effective leaders:

  • leaders focus on process;
  • leaders educate;
  • leaders use conditional statements;
  • leaders listen first;
  • leaders promote ownership;
  • leaders encourage choice;
  • leaders set expectations;
  • leaders are confident but uncertain;
  • leaders look beyond the numbers; and
  • leaders make more distinctions;

Note: Not every leader, under every project or circumstance will demonstrate every quality.

Situational

Situational leadership suggests that the best or most appropriate elements extracted from other leadership styles are used to successfully complete a specific task. The two key characteristics in situational leadership were the leadership style and the development of the led. What this means is that by permitting flexibility in your leadership approach, you can achieve more, with better results and do so in a way that promotes true followership (a topic for a future discussion).

Participative

The participative leadership theory suggested the more the affected personnel participated in decision-making, the better the quality of the decision, and the greater the commitment and motivation of personnel (Beinecke & Spencer, 2007; Huang, Iun, Liu, & Gong, 2010). In other words when you engage people in finding a solution, regardless how small or large a part they played, you empower them to follow through and support the solution. This ownership builds a sense of pride in the results as well as a sense of trust in the process.

Transformational

James MacGregor Burns (1978) was credited with the concept of transformational leadership, which suggests that the leader tended to work toward the benefit of the organization or community, more than for self-benefit. A problem found in today’s society is the number of disingenuous persons who promote altruism but harbor hedonism. Judge and Piccolo (2004) suggest that true transformational leaders change organizations by providing inspiration, aspirations, and elevating employee expectations.
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So then – in my next post we’ll deconstruct the Ten Common Leadership Qualities found in effective leaders and look at ways you can integrate them into your business, group, or organization.

References

Beinecke, R., & Spencer, J. (2007). International leadership competencies and issues. International Journal of Leadership in Public Services, 3(3), 4-14.

Edmonstone, J. (2009). Evaluating clinical leadership: a case study. Leadership in Health Services, 22(3), 210-224. doi: 10.1108/17511870910978132

Geller, E. (2008). People -Based Leadership: Enriching a work culture for world-class safety. Professional Safety, 53(3), 29-36

Huang, X., Iun, J., Liu, A., & Gong, Y. (2010). Does participative leadership enhance work performance by inducing empowerment or trust? The differential effects on managerial and non-managerial subordinates. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 31(1), 122-143. doi: 10.1002/job.636

Luckcock, T. (2010). Spirited leadership and the struggle for the soul of head teachers: Differentiating and balancing nine types of engagement. Educational Management Administration and Leadership, 38(4), 405-422. doi: 10.1177/1741143210368302