There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to discovering or studying leadership standards, as it is different for everyone; leader and follower alike. To define a leadership standard would be like trying to describe what wind or air looks like. Leadership is different for everyone because we perceive our definition of leadership based on our world view, which includes our experiences, ethics and values.
To some leaders, trust and authenticity are not essential, and to many followers, it is. In an autocratic leadership role, you are to do as you are told, regardless of whether you trust or not. As an influential or transitional leader, trust and authenticity become paramount to building confidence within your team.
There are a number of people who do not have a clear definition of what leadership is. They do not understand the fundamentals or types of leadership styles that exist. As a result, there is a lot of confusion, success, and failure when trying to clearly define what practices in leadership work for the individual.
By learning about the different styles of leadership, they may find it easier to build their individual style from there. We have so many resources on leadership, but to understand leadership one needs to dissect it and look at it from a functional viewpoint.
If you are currently looking inward and trying to grasp a strong understanding of leadership styles, here are some academic definitions to start your journey. If you see something that interests you, study it, read about it, and find ways to integrate some successful practices into your leadership style.
Autocratic or Authoritative Leadership
In an autocratic leadership model, all decisions are centralized by one leader and conveyed through a chain of command. We find these leaders mainly in the world’s military institutions, but we also find it in corporations as well.
This is a body of theory and management practice which is focused on the leadership skills of multiple individuals and the necessary attributes needed to deliver results across organizational boundaries. It is truly a talent through interpersonal skills and the ability to build relationships in order to knock down obstacles and achieve results.
The American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy defines charisma as the “extraordinary power and appeal of personality” and “a natural ability to inspire a large following.” There is special magic that happens or a transactional change between the leader and the follower. Followers are enamored with the leader and therefore build an magnetic relationship.
A revolutionary form of leadership is the laissez-faire style, which emanates from the deeply cultivated level of trust the leader establishes. The leader does not actually lead, but offers free reign to its followers.
Moral leadership is the practice of building moral development in individuals. It builds a desire to behave in accordance with societal standards of right and wrong. We find many ethical traits in moral leadership and foundations.
We immediately relate to servant leadership in worldwide humanitarian efforts. However, servant leadership styles are more prevalent in value based organizations. A servant leader is one who serves first through their compassion, empathy, ability to heal, situational awareness, stewardship, foresight and community growth.
Transformational leaders are some of the most influential leaders in history. They engender change in individuals and social systems, prompting an exploration into possibility that never existed before.
This one almost speaks for itself. Visionary leaders are those that focus on a desired outcome and utilize their talent pool to bring the end result to fruition.
To study leadership academically, it will serve to establish a foundation of understanding and a platform for personal growth. It’s a lifelong journey, but it’s easier when you have a road map.