How flexible is your leadership style?

As the workplace continues to evolve, the role of managers has become increasingly complex. In order to effectively lead their teams and achieve success, managers must have a flexible leadership style that can adapt to the diverse situations they encounter each day.

According to a survey conducted by Deloitte, 89% of executives believe that building the organisation of the future requires a new leadership model. This new model involves a more adaptive and flexible approach to leadership, as opposed to the traditional one-size-fits-all approach.

Academic research also supports the need for a flexible leadership style. A study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that leaders who were able to adapt their leadership style to the situation at hand were more effective than those who used a rigid leadership style. This is because a flexible leadership style allows managers to meet the needs of their team members and the demands of the organisation in a more dynamic way.

One of the key benefits of a flexible leadership style is that it promotes better communication and collaboration among team members. When managers are able to adjust their leadership style to the needs of individual team members, it creates a more supportive and inclusive work environment. This, in turn, leads to increased employee engagement and better overall performance.

Another advantage of a flexible leadership style is that it enables managers to respond quickly and effectively to changing circumstances. In today’s fast-paced business environment, organisations need to be able to adapt to changes quickly in order to stay competitive. A flexible leadership style allows managers to be more agile and responsive to these changes.

Of course, developing a flexible leadership style is easier said than done. It requires a willingness to be open-minded and adaptable, as well as a deep understanding of the different leadership styles and when to use them. It also requires ongoing reflection and self-awareness to ensure that managers are continuously learning and improving.

Here are four of many leadership styles that each have a right time and place: 

Autocratic Leadership:

This leadership style involves a leader who makes all the decisions and dictates what needs to be done. Autocratic leaders maintain tight control over their subordinates, and they expect obedience and compliance from them. This leadership style is useful when quick decisions are required, or in situations where the leader has more knowledge and expertise than the subordinates.

Transformational Leadership:

Transformational leaders inspire and motivate their subordinates to perform at their best. They create a vision for their team, communicate it effectively, and provide the necessary support to achieve it. Transformational leaders focus on the development of their team members, empowering them to take ownership of their work and strive for excellence. This leadership style is useful when a leader wants to bring about significant changes or when the team is facing complex challenges.

Laissez-faire Leadership:

This leadership style involves a leader who gives their subordinates a high degree of autonomy and freedom to make decisions. Laissez-faire leaders delegate responsibility and authority to their subordinates and allow them to work independently. This leadership style is useful when the team has a high level of expertise and requires minimal supervision.

Servant Leadership:

Servant leaders prioritise the needs and well-being of their subordinates. They focus on creating a positive and supportive work environment, where team members feel valued, respected, and heard. Servant leaders empower their team members to grow and develop, and they encourage collaboration and mutual respect.  This leadership style is useful when a leader wants to build a sense of community and wellbeing. 

In conclusion, the need for managers to have a flexible leadership style cannot be overstated. With the rapidly changing business environment and the diverse needs of team members, a one-size-fits-all approach to leadership is simply no longer effective. By adopting a more situational approach, managers will be able to nudge outcomes in a helpful direction, rather than inadvertently making things harder for themselves and the team.