As a leader, it sometimes takes a step back to look at oneself to realize what type of leader you are to understand your strengths and weaknesses, so you can lead an effective team to success. After lots of leadership quizs and readings, my leadership style is participative (Democratic) with an emphasis on the consensus view.
“A participative leader seeks to involve other people in the process, possibly including subordinates, peers, superiors and other stakeholders. Often, however, as it is within the managers’ whim to give or deny control to his or her subordinates, most participative activity is within the immediate team (Tannenbaum and Schmitt, 1958).”
Some of the characteristics of the participative leader and that of myself are: creating an atmosphere were creativity is wanted and rewarded, engaging in the group decision making process and while keeping the final say over decisions, allowing members to share ideas and thoughts.
A1a: Two Strengths
Using the participative leadership style gives me the most advantages when working and making decisions in a group. The main two strengths of my leadership style (participative) is: Empowerment and Better Team Decisions. Empowerment: as defined by Dictionary.com, “v.–to give power or authority; to authorize, especially by official means. To enable or permit (Dictionary.com, 2014).” How does it feel when you feel like you have a say in a group or team? You feel valued. I enjoy allowing my team to feel valued and employ their decisions to make for the best decision possible. The feeling that group members get from participating makes the final decision accepted much more. Personally, when team members have input in the final goal, they feel responsible and take it much more seriously.
Better Team Decisions: Since I don’t know all the answers, isn’t it better crucial to have lots of people helping find the answers. In my leadership style, since we have lots of people brain-storming on ideas, it makes for better team decisions. When a tough decision is ahead, its critical to have others helping make decisions. Employees input is invaluable in a group participating setting. When I allow others to help make decisions, the quality of those decisions will only increase.
A1b: Two Weaknesses
With this effective leadership style brings some cons. One of the cons of this style of leadership is time restrictions. When the team is liberated into making decisions, it takes awhile to come to great group decision. This type of leadership allows lots of discussions and hearing everyone’s opinions, which in-turn slows down the whole process. This style is a slower process, but the pro of making the best decision outweighs the con.
The second con for this leadership style is that there can usually only be one decision and we as a team/group can not use everyone’s opinion or decision. This can cause some team members to become upset or heated, but can be avoided with a good leader leading the discussions. When allowing this style to be in a group, the group must come to a consensus in agreeing on the best decision and all parties must agree with whatever outcome is chosen.
A2: Compare against two other styles
Lets look at two other leadership styles and compare them to the participative leadership style.
Authoritative (autocratic) which is a style that has clear expectations and usually makes decisions with little input from the team/group. In this style, the group makes fast decisions and the leader is usually the most knowledgeable team-member in the group Some similarities are that when the team is in a bind or time is no longer of essence, the team leader must make an autocratic decision for the betterment of the group. The contributions of the team will be much lower than that of my participative style.
Delegative (Laissez-Faire) is the opposite of the autocratic style in that there is little or no team guidance and the team is left to make all the decisions. This style is the least productive style because it offers no structure. The group is more likely to demand a lot from the leader and usually will not work independently. This style is used when all team members are over-qualified in the area of expertise, but also leads to lack of motivation for the group.
The participating leadership style that I am apart of uses both the autocratic and the delegative style aspects to achieve maximum group potential. Participative leadership is concerned about the group and that the group has input.
A3: Understanding to be more effective
To be a leader you must have a mix of skills, behaviors, value sets and knowledge. To be a more effective leader one must understand their abilities and understand others and their strengths/weaknesses. This understanding includes an apprehension for other leadership styles.
An impelling leader, understanding certain situations and leadership styles, can carry out different styles to lead different groups and teams of people. A great leader will supply assistance and encouragement to a group based on its needs and maintain the group by using its knowledge of different leadership styles.
An effective leader can not accomplish success exclusive of a team. Those teams will consist of lots of team members and different leaders. An effective leader will be able to understand other leadership styles to support and assist those leaders.
“The advantage to understanding your leadership style is that you understand your strengths and weaknesses. You can be proactive and more effective as a leader by strategically using your strengths and counteracting your weaker areas. Your style defines your values and perspective, and being aware of it will aid your communication those you work with. As the saying goes, knowledge is power. You can empower yourself and move forward in your career or interest by exercising this knowledge (Raines, 2011).”
When knowing yourself and your leadership style it helps you in the workplace. Knowing your work environment and workplace challenges helps to address appropriate solutions using your leadership style. By knowing your style and the areas around you, it helps you make sound strategies for solutions to the problems and you can succeed by steering the strengths of the leadership way.
Being a leader means that you must be able to know your strengths and weaknesses and the situations of the group and when to incorporate your style into the situation. Leadership is not a thing that fits all situations. The more leadership styles you are accustomed to, the more negotiable you will be able to be in the group.
A4: Two problems in workplace due to different leadership
Problem 1: An employee is always late for workplace. The schedule that the employee is on is one of rotating shifts (day and night). This involves different managers with different leadership styles. These different leadership styles has allowed this employee to continue its bad behaviors and continue to be late.
Problem 2: Personality Clash. Your style is to talk out problems and solutions (democratic leadership style) while a manager you work with is direct and to the point (autocratic style), and doesn’t want to hear about the solutions but just wants the problems fixed. “Spray gun in tablet bed has stopped working, most of the team wants to find root cause, but one of the managers wants a solution now and doesn’t want to understand what caused the problem.”
A4a: Two ways to overcome each problem
Problem 1: Late employee. The employee that is late knows that if LF (Laissez-Faire) manager is working that he allows an unstructured work environment. In other words, see nothing, hear nothing, speak nothing and all is correct in the work place. He has unclear expectations for this late employee and is more of people pleas-er that tackling the problem. This manager is fine if the employee is late as long as it does not effect production. This leadership style also allows him to play favorites. He has different rules for different people.
As long as production is not affected, whats to bother? If AA (Autocratic) is manager, this employee knows that she can not be late to work, as is not for fear of consequences of her actions. They know that action will be taken against them if they are late.
This causes a trickle down effect for employees, and their team morale. Since not all leadership team-members are on the same plane, things like this are always happening. We must fix this problem, before it gets out of hand.
Fix. LF manager should first follow the rules and make the employee accountable for her actions. If that employee is late, they should have consequences like everyone else. If that does not work, then managers of this team should be aware of all times that employees are arriving and leaving work. During a monthly meeting, management could review all badge in/outs to make sure times are consistent with when employees are arriving and leaving. At these meetings, employees are questioned and held accountable for their tardiness.
If this is not a viable option, management should have one manager that is responsible for all tardies/lates to work. This would be a dedicated job for the manager and take the responsibility off of the other managers and help alleviate the leadership style differences between managers.
Another quick fixer, would be to discuss this problem with LF manager and hold him accountable for allowing the employee to get away with tardies/lates. This one on one meeting would help to show him that there are consequences to his actions and that all employees need to be accountable for their actions.
Problem 2: Spray gun.
One way to fix this problem is to invite and have the said manager attend and hold discussions within the group to help him see that not all problems have immediate solutions. Allowing him on the team, helps him develop his leadership style and see there is not one leadership style that encompasses all problems. The leader must find it valuable for them to be on the team and to give input. Showing them that they are valued goes a long way to helping them develop as great leaders.
Have a one on one with the manager to discuss reasons for and against having this meeting. If both parties that are having trouble understanding meet, then they are more apt to understand where each other is coming from. If this doesn’t work, we can always call an upper level management manager to help diffuse the situation.
Another solution would be coaching. Maybe this manager/leader is insecure/uncertain about work environment or doesn’t want to make decisions because its not my job. Maybe this manager lacks creativity or innovation. Whatever the issue that they are dealing with, a great effective synergistic leader would see this as an opportunistic time to coach the manager in these areas to help alleviate stress, uncertainty and encourage teamwork, trust, expectations and cohesion amongst teams.
A5a: Three advantages that increase productivity on these advantages
“Taking a team from ordinary to extraordinary means understanding and embracing the differences (Bennicasa, 2012).” The joint vision enables all groups to have meaningful communications—business synergy.
Lets take a company that is going through a major brand transformation. The reasons not to change are abundant. The company was reaching goals and employee satisfaction was high. The company would lose brand identification through the proposed changes from upper management. The company would be dysfunctional because the whole team was not on board for the transformation.
The change was a challenge from all parties involved. The bottom line came when management and the team members realized that those concerns did not compare to the importance of providing the best product and customer service to the customers. The shared vision had to be recognized from all that was serving through the transformation. The important factor was understanding that it was not about us anymore, but about the company’s greater good and we had to embrace it.
Meetings were held, discussions were had about working together, being a better team, how to better serve our customers, and enabling team diversity. We had to see the team synergy to be able to grow and become a better productive team.
New logos and mottos and so forth did not create team synergy, but leadership had to add value to the team and show all the team members that they were required to make a better team—that is business leadership synergy. Once team synergy was found, this allowed the team members to be accountable for their actions and this included the quality of the new products. In return, this created a better product for the customer.
A second advantage of having a synergy leadership style could be used when different team members are not included in a process that affects them. When a team of engineers and managers are designing a new stream line approach to the production floor to help move along the packaging process of “M&Ms”. A synergy leadership approach to the stream line approach would be to include the actual workers from the packaging floor. These employees would be able to discuss best practices for help in designing the new approach.
This would speed up the meeting process and would speed up implementation of new processes because the packaging team members would be included in the process. Including these team members would allow for less trial and error and more time being productive in having the new packaging approach in a workable state.
Having a synergistic team is just as important than the actual packaging process because it stream lines the meeting, allows team-members to have certain expectations, keeps the meetings focused on the problems and develops and enhances rich collaborative discussions that are now easy to have—business success.
The third advantage of leadership synergy would be having all upper management in a participative meeting discussing the new vision for the company. After long discussions the team has selected the vision for the company. The team then selects an authoritative figure to disburse the new vision information to the whole company group—because its not up for debate anymore. Knowing when to use different leadership roles is very important.
In this model, a decision that has the absolute consensus of all upper management, will appear when all team-members is seeing the discussion directly through the same glasses – which includes the mission, the vision and the teams goals. Without these glasses, cooperative judgments can be challenging to accomplish. The hard part of making decisions and agreeing upon them in a multi-leadership style team –is that there is no common goal – changes in leadership styles will strangle the discussions, as more thoughts will only add to the difficulty in making a decision. Looking through the same lenses of the glasses permits a variety diversity into the debate and allows the group to succeed.
Once we see everything through the same lens, then the upper management group can be more productive in delivering a vision in a timely manner. This synergy of upper management leaders then starts trickling down to management teams throughout the plant and then onto regular teams and committees in the plant. This trickle down affect makes teams more productive, more efficient by allowing the meetings to flow better and to free up people to not be in meetings (to be on the floor being productive making the products).
Bennicasa, Robyn. (2012) 6 Leadership Styles, and When You Should Use Them.
Retrieved from http://www.fastcompany.com/1838481/6-leadership-styles-and
Dictionary.com. 2014. Empowerment Definition. Retrieved from
Raines, Stephanie. 2011. The Advantages of Knowing Your Leadership Style.
Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/advantages-knowing
Tannenbaum, A.S. and Schmitt, W.H. (1958). How to choose a leadership pattern. Harvard
Business Review, 36, March-April, 95-101.