Friday, January 28, 2011

5 Leadership Styles that Work

A guest post by Art Gould

Recipes for Success: 5 Different Leadership Styles That All Work!

There's more than one way to skin a cat.

Nowhere is this saying more true than in today's corporate world. The best way to find out what makes a company successful is to look at the top. And when you do, what you quickly see is that today's top executives are much more than bean counters. They are the founders and daily drivers of their company's corporate cultures. Of particular interest are those who have achieveda measure of prominence due to their accomplishments. The singular characteristic that they all share is their company's success. But when you look more closely and study their leadership styles, you tend to notice more differences than similarities. Here are examples of five different leadership styles that have all proven successful in various ways:

  1. Transformational

  2. This type of leader is one who is able to continually inspire his or her teams and influence
    subordinates to improve and/or change. Leaders like this are usually visionaries with boundless enthusiasm. Legendary corporate icons such as Lee Iaccoca and Jack Welsh would clearly fall into this category. A good present-day example of this type of leadership can be found in Virgin Group Ltd, a very successful corporation renowned for its presence in a wide variety of global markets. Many business analysts attribute a great deal of Virgin's success to the innovative leadership style of its chairman, Sir Richard Branson, who has demonstrated a marked ability to inspire his people to innovate and grow.

    One of the most striking all-time success stories associated with this leadership style is Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, the architect of what has evolved into the largest private employer in the U.S. Walton's characteristic leadership style included regular visits to Wal-Mart stores across the country, where he would meet with associates to show his appreciation for their contributions to the company.

  3. Service-Oriented

  4. This style is characterized by leaders who put the needs of their subordinates ahead of their own. They tend to rely strongly on their values and ideals, and they involve their teams heavily in decision making. Probably the best modern-day example of how this style can be successful is (once again) Wal-Mart, whose current chairman, S. Robson Walton, took over his father Sam's empire in 1992 and since that time expanded its annual revenue by almost 800 percent! The secret to Rob Walton's success is that he does not pretend to be his father and has indeed adopted a different style of leadership. Walton has implanted within his teams the overriding philosophy to always listen to the customer and put the customer's needs above all else. He has imbued the entire corporation with a service culture that is reaping record-shattering rewards in terms of corporate success.

  5. Participative

  6. Similar to the service leadership style in that team members are involved in decision making, this style is characterized by a leadership that makes decisions in joint fashion. Google, one of the world's fastest-growing and most successful organizations, is a vivid example of how effective this style can be. For several years spanning a period of extraordinary growth, the company operated under an executive management group comprised of three individuals who shared responsibility. The success of this business model spawned many imitators who have since adopted this style within their corporations.

  7. Charismatic

  8. A charismatic leader relies on personal charm to lead and inspire. This type of leadership usually creates a feeling within the organization that there is a direct connection between corporate success and the presence of the charismatic leader. As such, it can be a double-edged sword, highly dependent on the leader sticking around. But it can also lead to great success. A good example is Thomas Watson, Sr., who oversaw IBM's monumental growth into a dominant international force during the early part of the 20th Century.

    Watson infused his charisma within the organization by instituting policies and rituals tied to his personal beliefs. For example, he instituted a corporate dress code of dark suits and white shirts so that his salespeople would feel like executives. This worked very well for many years, as it built a sense of pride that became a corporate calling card. Unfortunately, this same policy became emblematic of the company's rigidity and conformity, demonstrating one of the drawbacks of the charismatic style.

  9. Situational

  10. This is perhaps the most generally successful leadership style because it requires the leader to be adaptable to the situation, the abilities of the teams, and the capability of the leader himself. This style requires the leader to continually adjust to emergent constraints and limitations imposed on him. History is replete with examples of successful leaders of this type, not only in the corporate world but in all facets of life. Most of the top military leaders in history can lay claim to having used this style of leadership to great and lasting effect.

Art Gould is a division manager with Self Storage Company, which operates a group of websites, including a Nashville self-storage locator. Though busy, Art enjoys meeting new people and clients when traveling to sites throughout Tennessee like the Memphis self storage center.


At 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sam Walton Made in America My Story
Sam Walton with John Huey 1992

Great book - have you read it?

At 4:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's Welch not Welsh.


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