Nov 6, 2013

Leadership Style - An Important Aspect

Leaders -  Leadership is both a research area and a practical skill encompassing the ability of an individual, group, or organization to "lead", influence, or guide other individuals, teams, or entire organizations(Wikipedia)

Leaders make history. We do not need to go to see any special person who carries a special kind of trait which influences us. All are available near us.  We meet them every day, and no doubt everyone is a leader in their own capacity. You are a leader at your home, at your village, at your block or ward level, and can go up to the world level.  It can be social or political or from the corporate world. When we talk about history we have a number of leaders who influence us in a big way, they make us proud. Like we have Maharana Pratap, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Mahatama Gandhi, for us they are the pride of our nation. Why we remember them? They are the leaders who made special kinds of decisions in their life and those decisions made a big impact politically as well as socially.  Here I would not go deep about their kind of deed they did during their lifecycle but I will try to figure out the style of leaders. 

In the same way, there are various leaders in the corporate world who made some distinct decisions which made them special and impressive. Leaders from Apple Inc, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Twitter are known to the world and they are visible everywhere but still, millions of leaders are there who brought innovation in their work, made the best use of technology, and providing solutions to a big portion of the populations in the world.  Those who identified problems at the mass level and brought solutions to make big positive disruptions in the life of millions. Here talking about especially about few leaders will be an injustice to the others. 

Do we ever think about what kind of leadership style they were adopting or inherent?  No, you never thought about this. You just see the example from your very near place. Like, take it from office, your boss who is the leader there, and to whom you are reporting your day-to-day workings.  Let me clear one thing, here I am not going to tell you how they should behave or what kind of behavior they have.  This post is about Leadership Style.  after reading this post you will better judge your boss/ leader and accordingly categorize him as per my style. 

Based on certain personal habits, traits, and attitudes I am going to define them in the following way. 

Based on my experience  and close working with various leaders in corporate, political, and social front, I can categorize them in the following way: 

  1. Autocratic Style
  2. Authoritative Style
  3. Pacesetting Style
  4. Democratic Style
  5. Coaching Style
  6. Affiliative Style
  7. Laissez-Faire Style

above types of leadership has some distinct characteristics which categorize them in the best fit. 

Let's describe the type of leadership in my way: 

Autocratic:  This kind of leadership is distinguished based on its special characteristics because here a leader has a high level of authority, influence, and backup of featured followers who always protect them from any kind of agitations. Leaders of this type always put his efforts to implement his own thoughts without consulting with his core team, panel, or advisory board. Since such leaders always keep themself in a special aura which propels them ahead to take fast decisions. Leader of this type has a different mindset, no doubt they carry various qualities and knowledge of various fields which make them overconfident.  Such overconfidence energies them to think in their own way.  

Autocratic leadership mindset well worked in the business world because it is people-centric and a leader through his dictatorship style forcefully implement policies and policies which organisation has to follow to great extend but overexploitation of resources and misutilisations of power bring unrest and agitation which cause a downfall of leadership only in the long run so as per my aspects this is one of the good traits.  

also, this kind of leadership style is workable in proprietary business concerns where a proprietor has to take a decision for his business so to this extend his autocratic behavior is natural and leaves no marks on a third party or society or to his stakeholders. Here his behavior matters which makes him successful or failure. 

But, when a leader is a promoter, founder, and director of a corporate / company/organization then this style of leadership will only drag them down and can delay the success miserably. How it is not favorable to a corporate? A leader in a Corporate carry a bigger role like Founder, Cofounder, Promoters, Directors & CEO so whom with his autocratic behavior will influence and how long-lasting impact will remain the system?  No, you can not be an autocratic leader in your organization unless you carry strong experience, knowledge of each and every domain, department & functionality. Each department and function is headed by an individual leader which makes a hierarchy from top to down. Each level of the department is further divided into sub-department and accordingly based on its functionality there he needs to onboard skill. Despite all such well organizational flow and the system still, the leader of the company i.e. CEO/ Founder/ Director thinks that I am the super and high authority person but he has to remind all the time his staff that he is the leader. He always gives directions and expecting employees /staff to follow his instruction without seeing left or right on a straight mode. It is good when one starts a company alone so definitely for each and every department and functionality he /she has to think, brainstorm, build, analyze, and activate various things. But, when organize start growing in terms of new brains, numbers, and expanding to other markets then need capabilities either in the form of Co-founders or Key Management employees because without that one can not run the organization. Now, you are head of family /organization so there you need to balance various things. An Autocratic leader tries to build self-centric systems so that all go from him and into him. This means without his single will nothing can move.  

Here I am not much interested in his style of working but if few things are not counted or taken care then an organization will collapse without any indication. Other aspects are that no one has multi-skills or organs who can control each and every functionality of an organization. Take a break and think, why you form various departments in your organization and appoint its supervisor /managers at a higher cost? You being an owner of the organization have enough knowledge of each and every functionality so why you are going to increase your admin cost by appointing experienced and intelligent minds?  and if they are experienced and expert in their domain then why you are sitting on their seat. 

Here as a leader, you need to work on a strategic roadmap and should act as a mentor to each functional head.  Remember autocratic nature no doubt will built a successful empire in a short period and I have seen successful ventures leading by dictators but if the delegation of authorities does not happen in your organization then you are at risk. Risk is not of money, it is related to your health and prestige, and the future of the organization. 

The phrase most illustrative of an autocratic leadership style is "Do as I say." Generally, an autocratic leader believes that he or she is the smartest person at the table and knows more than others (

Democratic / Diplomatic Leaders:

As nomenclature defines the meaning diplomatic, the leaders totally depend on their subordinates. You must have seen this kind of leadership style in State-run enterprises and some old business houses where a successful and sustainable business is done and the organization is self-sustained through current level profitability and having huge reserves. Political parties to some extend follow this kind of leadership for run long.  The leader of this trait has a total dependency on their KMPs or downlines which sometimes causing a delay in taking decisions resulting in sometimes a big backfire and miserably. This kind of style makes decision delay in most cases so not fit for private organizations.

Laissez-Faire Style

When a leader is known for teamwork, he always takes decisions and implements after due consulting with his team. This kind of cohesive working style makes spread confidence into the department heads where they feel part of the system.  We can see this kind of leadership style in new startups where each member works cohesively and each decision becomes part of brainstorming before it goes on the battleground i.e. implementation. Leaders who work directly with their Key management team gain their trust which further helps leaders to get work done within TAT.  Employees respect leaders who take them to the conference table and mutually major decisions happened on a round table with a cup of coffee or tea.

A true leader should not be autocratic purely or Democratic,  she should adopt hybrid traits of both of the characteristics and should win the confidence of their team. 

A  true and intelligent leader should know the following mentioned behavioral traits.

1. Leaders should not be impatient in terms of making decisions. 

2. Leaders should not give space to people for back bitting their colleagues. 

3. Identify people who want to polish his tongue for buttering and lift the air-filled weight. 

4. Make a team of close heart people, make a strong board team of 7-8 members. 

5. Understand ground realities when you are choosing to enter the new business segment. Never rely upon on google or its knowledge. Some leaders quickly respond to messages, email, and phone, if you doing this stop immediately. Never respond to people directly especially on social media. Create a second layer that will filter your messages. This will create your personal PR and a high class of repo among the ecosystem and people will respect you. Do not discuss your business model except stakeholders. 

6. If you start your company for business then only focus on doing this and strengthen it, but never think that you will bring change. The change will come automatically over a period of time if your vision is there. 

7. Think 10 times before jumping to a conclusion. The rapid change in the decision will make you down in front of your management team and they will create a different perception for you. 

10. Behave like a father when you are heading an organization but don't try to become a friend. A friend has more liberty than a father, where a father tries to bring discipline in the organization. 

11. Never talk negative with your team members, if you continue doing such things one day they will become completely negative and become deadwood for you. 

12. Never stop when they are trying to speak when there is a meeting or some strategic discussion is going on. If you do so, they will lose their confidence and they will never tell you the truth. 

13. I have seen that few leaders have a different kind of thought process, in that they expect a high level of execution, perfection, and likewise passion in the team member which causes unrest among them. If you are Albert Einstein but you can not expect that there will be other Albert Einstein. Do not finger their mistakes in front of other team members. If you chase them for every move they will lose their confidence. They become dependent on you, despite enrolling high professionals, you will feel that you are the only man who is running the organization. You become the most unhappy person in the world despite you hold a big position in the company. 

14. Do not overthink. Overthinking makes our subconscious mind confused. and if the subconscious mind becomes confused it will send the wrong instruction to the conscious mind which further becomes against the first thought. Do not think alone if you are working on a strategy. Talk to your relevant KMP(s) and take them to a venue where with a cup of tea or a glass of bear things will become more friendly. The best equipment for a perfect strategy is brainstorming. 

15. As a leader you must build a strong review mechanism but remember it should not hamper working hours spending hours in the meeting room. Plan review as per department wise and as per the priority. 

  • A great leader is healthy and wised who carries with him Integrity, Ability to delegate, Communication, Self-awareness, Gratitude, Learning agility, Influence, Empathy.


Writer:  Balwant Singh Rana,  

a self-made man and a leader in grocery retail. 

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