There are a multitude of leadership and management frameworks that provide guidelines for managers to follow. Each of these models is different and created within a different context, because there are so many distinct types of professions. Each business has a particular structure, with their own vision and goals, and so specific frameworks will suit each of these companies better than others. For example, Waters and Cameron (2007) developed the Balanced Leadership Framework for school leaders and teachers to increase student achievement by “connecting vision with action”. Each organisation needs to assess a variety of frameworks to determine what style will allow them to achieve their goals.
In the 1930’s, psychologist Kurt Lewin contended that there are three major styles of leadership. Autocratic leaders who make decisions without consulting their team members, democratic leaders who make the final decision, but include team members in this process, and laissez-faire leaders who allow team members a lot of freedom in their work and provide them with support along the way. Each style has its benefits and limitations.
Most leadership theories also take into account two main factors. One side of the coin is considering people, such as what sort of support they will need and how to encourage teamwork and collaboration. The other component considers production and tasks; getting the job done and the elements of the work itself. By balancing these two elements in the right way, managers should get the best results. If you would like to know more about leadership styles, you can read a great summary by MindTools.
For a thorough review of leadership theory, models and initiatives refer to A Review of Leadership Theory and Competency Frameworks (2003) by Bolden, Gosling, Marturano and Dennison. Another excellent paper discussing leadership/management theory and practice is by Pentti Sydänmaanlakka from the University of Helsinki entitled Intelligent Leadership and Leadership Competencies: Developing a leadership framework for intelligent organizations (2003).
Here are some questions you might like to discuss with your partner:
- What sort of leadership style do you think you are/would be?
- Do you think one style is better than another? Why?
- What sort of things do you think are important to consider when managing/leading people?
- What kind of leadership and management styles do you see in your workplace?
– Michelle De Aizpurua, ILN Content Officer.