We all know one or more people who seem to be born with a special gift: knowing how to lead, organize, give instructions, command, make reforms, motivate, or direct the actions of others. We could talk about dozens of different characteristics that make up different types of leadership, but it is still easier to look at the characteristics of each one separately.
First, it is noteworthy that the attitudes of different types of leadership are based on different characteristics that we can easily identify. For example, the development of good social skills, the ability to be empathetic without causing harm to the group’s ultimate goal, and intuition in decision-making.
Surely each of us has found ourselves in the company of one or more such persons in our lifetime, or perhaps we are one of them ourselves. However, it is important that we keep in mind two basic starting points when talking about leadership.
Aspects that are common to each type of leadership
As we mentioned earlier, there are two main things to consider before we can call someone a leader, regardless of the approach they take:
- First, not every person who offers to be a leader or tries to be a group leader may be best suited to the role.
- Second, the truth is that there are more people who consider themselves touched by the “magic wand of leadership” than those who really are.
Touched by a magic wand? It’s actually a lot more complicated than this. Our genes have a significant effect, much greater than magic or abilities.
In fact, someone who is a good leader for one group may not be a good leader for another group. A fantastic example of this can be seen in team sports.
It is rare if during the weekend a coach somewhere in the world is not relieved of his post. Coaches are often fired because they were unable to lead their team on the right track, not because of issues related to the technical aspects of the sport.
The problem is that the same recipe doesn’t work for all groups. The way work is done in a group with a tight budget is not the same as in a group full of superstars.
5 management methods
In psychology, the word “leadership” is associated with name and experiment: an experiment conducted by Kurt Lewin as he studies the events of World War II. During this historic event, we witnessed the rise to power of various dictators, those who managed to get a large number of people to believe in their projects, regardless of whether they were right or wrong.
This period emphasized that in order for a new leader to emerge, there is almost always an empty power in society, or at least a strong doubt about the power currently in power.
We can understand why the interest in leadership that originally came from the military and political hierarchy has now expanded to other areas as well. Such as education, sports and business. It has become a matter of general importance.
Today, we do not have a single classification of different management practices. Therefore, we present one of the classifications that is the most widely used and well-known in group psychology. This rating distinguishes five management styles, two more than Kurt Lewin’s original rating.
1. Delegate management (laissez-faire)
Here we are referring to an invisible leader, one who allows others to do more. They are the kind of managers whose job it is to divide tasks. It is especially effective in groups with highly educated and motivated individuals who are just waiting for someone to steer them in the right direction.
In other words, this type of leader is one who instructs and ensures that communication works between other members of the group. The danger of delegating leadership is that in situations that require their actions, they may not intervene.
Thus, we are dealing with a leader who sins by neglecting and not doing too much. Therefore, it is easy for one destabilizing factor to break everything into pieces. One example of a delegating leader could be Gandalf in this particular scene.
2. Autonomous leadership
Unlike the previous leader, an authoritarian leader is an intervening leader. Their path only goes in one direction, as they only talk to their group but don’t listen to the people they lead. On the other hand, they also tend to be very controlling, a trait that works especially well in groups that are highly motivated but have a lot of doubts about how to develop the tasks they have been given.
The danger is that this leader can be quite discouraging for well-prepared groups, dropping each participant over the edge as soon as he unknowingly decides to move toward it.
An authoritarian leader is also often prone to succumbing to the people he leads with a sense of superiority, a contamination that can make the above warning increasingly dangerous. An example of an authoritarian leader in history is Margaret Thatcher.
3. Democratic leadership
As you can probably guess, this is the ideal form of leadership in many Western political systems. The Democratic leader is trying to maximize open-minded two-way. They lead without forgetting how important it is to be sensitive to the feedback the group gives on their decisions. The feature of a continuous consultant is characteristic of this type of management.
Democratic leaders are good for groups that are prepared but don’t have much motivation. The feeling that being listened to can be the best remedy for a deficit like this that will significantly increase their interest in both policies and goals. One e example of a democratic leader is Nelson Mandela.
4. Commercial Management
Commercial management focuses on goals. This type of leader assumes the role of group motivation supervisor. They give rewards and enforce penalties depending on the interest and performance of the group.
This type of leader, if he is skilled in his duties, is good at long and cumbersome processes where the group is not able to easily find real motivation – i.e., tied to the task itself – for the task they are performing.
Because there are only external rewards on offer, a good leader will focus on distributing them and succeed in doing so effectively.
The danger of this type of leadership lies in the issues surrounding the goals, such as the set-up within the group itself. This situation is often undermined by the competitive spirit resulting from the pursuit of the rewards we mention (promotions, holidays, flexibility, etc.). Examples of commercial management are football coaches.
5. Change management
Change management focuses on group motivation but from the point of view of the task itself. His goal is for the group to achieve its goals but without neglecting other goals. These lateral goals can be very different and varied: the acquisition of skills by team members, the dynamics formed within the group, caring about the environment, etc.
This type of leader is especially good when he has to lead a group that does not have high skills or motivation and does not have too much pressure to achieve his main goal. An example of a change leader is John F. Kennedy.
As we can now see, the management methods presented by group psychology research consist of very precise profiles. However, when it comes to group management and leadership, leaders do not always behave exactly according to one formula. Diversity is usually more common.