Leaders can get really caught up in deciding what their style of leadership will be to ensure the best results. There are as many leadership styles as there are leaders in this world! In 1939 Kurt Lewin led a team of researchers to identify different styles of leadership. From this study, three categories were determined. These are the autocratic leaders, the democratic leaders or free reign leaders.
Autocratic – summarised as telling people what to do and how to do it without seeking input.
Democratic – summarised as the leader involving key employees in the decision making process. However, the leader maintains the final decision making authority.
Free Reign – The leader allows the employees to make the decisions however; the leader still has the responsibility for the decision. Or he may not make a decision at all!
There is a place for all styles of leadership in an organisation depending on the situation at hand. What are the skills of your employees? How much time do you have? Who has the information you need to make the decision and do you have enough information? Do you have good relationships with your team based on mutual respect? These styles will be fleshed out over the next three weeks in this blog (each Wednesday).
Whether we do it consciously or unconsciously, we all have a particular style about the way we lead ourselves and this ultimately has an impact on those around us, colleagues, peers, employees, friends.
What if determining a leadership style ran so much deeper than the surface level of determining a style? What if your leadership style was directly linked to your leadership legacy? Legacy can be defined as what people will say about you as a result of working with you. How you have influenced them. Your leadership legacy is the sum result of your daily behaviour and long term impact that you have on others.
Looking into the future and determining what your legacy will be, is not only personal, but also critical to being a true influential and transformational leader. Your legacy should be the catalyst for your actions rather than looking back in the lead up to your retirement or similar, which is when legacy is most often thought about, and wishing you had done things differently. This is so much more intrinsic than determining a style.
Legacy is different to the vision, mission and values of your organisation. Your legacy should be something that is incorporated into your strategic direction for the growth and direction of the business. Your legacy will have a direct impact on the culture, the people and the clients of your organisation. It can also be a great guiding tool for deciding if you are in the right organisation for you. Do you have the ability to realise your legacy within your place of work? Does your organisation support your legacy desire? Or is it time to move on while things are amicable.
Creating your legacy is not for everyone. The word can bring up a collage of feelings and thoughts. Legacy is for the conscious leader, the courageous leader, for the leader who wants to be remembered for all of the right reasons including producing results. Leaders have so much opportunity to make a substantial positive impact on others, it is a privilege. It’s never too early to start thinking about the impact you will have on others. We only have one chance in this world to make a difference. Leading with intent, with your legacy in mind, will make you a much better leader today.