Leadership? But what kind of leadership are we talking about?

Leadership is more than giving orders and taking decisions. At the heart of effective leadership are soft skills.

In this post, we’ll explore the main types of leadership and the famous soft skills that are essential for successfully leading a team or an organisation. Let’s start by agreeing on the definitions.

Everyone can agree on the following definition of leadership: the ability of an individual to guide, inspire and influence other individuals or organisations to achieve common goals.

Where the interpretation becomes more complicated is in the way this leadership is exercised. This leads to different definitions, which are therefore more related to the way in which the objective is achieved than to the objective itself.

Experts agree that there are at least half a dozen very different types of leadership. Let’s take a look at the ones we believe to be the most common in modern organisational contexts:

Dominant leadership

Firstly, there is dominant leadership, described by Hippocrates as choleric: it is authoritarian, embodied by a dominant figure, a Zeus exercising direct control over his team. He decides alone, his aim is to perform, and he gives clear instructions, which are most of the time strictly followed.

Participative leadership

In participative leadership, the leader advocates open communication and encourages members to contribute actively to decisions and initiatives. But the leader remains at the helm.

Democratic leadership

All team members play a key role in the decision-making process. The leader has the strategic vision, he chooses the members of his team and it is the team that makes the decision, which will naturally be in line with the leader’s vision.

Permissive leadership

The leader gives considerable freedom to manoeuvre, with little direct supervision. Team members are encouraged to make decisions independently and without the close involvement of the manager. Its main drawback is the lack of structure and clear accountability, which presupposes a motivated and hyper-competent team.

Although their names sometimes vary, these different types of leadership, and others, can be found in PersProfile and the colour method. Dominant and authoritarian leadership in red, participative and democratic in yellow AND blue, permissive or laissez-faire in yellow and/or green. The success or failure of one or other of these different types will be reflected both in the average profile of the group and, above all, in the complementarities of all its components.

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