Leadership development through the lens of leadership styles

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Recently, I was at a meeting with one of my team members. While we were chatting about a few client deliverables, my phone started ringing and kept ringing because I didn't answer it. When it rang for the third time, my colleague looked a little concerned and asked me if I wanted to answer.

I remember glancing at the screen and brushing it off—the meeting was more important at that point, and I said something to that effect.

Although it wasn’t obvious, I could tell that this made my colleague happy in some way. We continued our conversation and I noticed a lot more effort being put in to find a workable solution to what we were going through.

This brief incident reminded me of how, in recent months, my team members reacted and responded very differently when I answered calls or responded to messages while I was with them. Their behaviour afterwards generally indicated a drop in enthusiasm and motivation.

Leadership is a skill that needs to be refined. You need to grow and learn, but what’s most important to mastering leadership development is identifying what type of leader you are.

It’s actually quite similar to understanding what kind of learner you are. If you are a visual learner, you grasp concepts better if they’re presented to you in a visual format. If you’re an auditory learner, you’re more engaged when things are explained to you in detail, for example.

Once you identify the type of leadership that works for you, it helps you focus and hone your skills to become the kind of leader you want to be—one that benefits your teams as well.

In this post, I thought I’d dive into four common leadership styles and take a look at what leadership development means for each of them.

Authoritarian leaders benefit from compassion and rational thinking

An authoritarian leader is someone who’s more comfortable making independent decisions and has a reputation for being a little bit of a disciplinarian. Although this can be a very efficient leadership style in certain situations, it may have a negative impact on your teams if you’re not careful.

For leadership development as an authoritarian leader, you may benefit from cultivating compassion and a more empathetic communication style. This will help you navigate your need for control with developing a mindset that helps you make decisions that benefit your teams.

Bureaucratic leadership benefits from self-awareness

Bureaucratic leaders always go by the books. This means that even if they consider their employees’ input, they are likely to reject it if it conflicts with company policy or past practices.

Due to the lack of freedom employees have under such a leader, this type of leadership is rarely effective.

The best tool a bureaucratic leader can leverage, therefore, is self-awareness and empathy. With increased self-awareness, they can make more confident and mutually-beneficial decisions. Managing teams in this way leads to a more engaged workforce.

Transactional leaders must be more empathetic

This fairly common, give-and-take style of leadership focusses on following established routines and procedures rather than making any transformational changes to an organisation. This kind of leader creates a workforce of rule-followers as opposed to empowered decision-makers.

Leadership development for someone with a transactional leadership style will require them to shift their perspective from the short term to the long run.

Shifting thinking patterns to include employee growth and company vision can help transactional leaders convey more compassion towards their teams and set a good example for them to follow.

Transformational leadership benefits from mindfulness

Transformational leadership is one of the more positive styles of leadership among growth-minded companies because it motivates employees to see what they're capable of.

The problem, however, is that this type of leadership risks losing sight of employees growth, especially if the right guidance isn’t provided.

As a highly effective leadership style, the best method of leadership development for a transformational leader is through mindfulness. By learning to navigate their emotions, being present, understanding other people’s emotions, and enjoying self-awareness, these leaders can nail leadership development right on the head.

Enjoy greater leadership development through mindfulness

Whether you take a quiz or stumble on your leadership style by way of self-awareness, understanding how you operate as a leader is important for your growth and that of your employees.

Mindfulness can be a very useful skill in this process and more so when it comes to leadership development. This conviction is one reason why I work with companies across Australia and support them with Awakened Mind’s mindfulness app.

With the use of guided meditation tracks and features like our patented brainwave entrainment solution, Neurosync™, you can leverage mindfulness for more meaningful leadership development :)