Training Leadership in Management

Many skillsets are sought when hiring or grooming someone to be a manager. Perhaps none is more important than training leadership in management. It is a pivotal quality for a number of reasons. Both internal and external candidates should be prepared to describe their leadership style and skillset. This assessment can then be evaluated against the position or career track.  

It is essential that decision makers in an organization have a fundamental understanding of leadership styles. Without that understanding, they cannot properly evaluate programs for training leadership in management. This is fundamental to developing leaders within the organization. 

Leadership Styles 

An internet search on the topic yields articles describing three, four, five, six – as many as thirteen leadership styles! It is critical for the individual to be able to articulate his or her leadership style. How does one make sense of all of this information? 

Leadership Styles Have Evolved

words Leadership

As society has changed, so has the understanding of leadership. Historically, the principal idea of leadership was top-down driven. There was a manager who dictated how and when things were done. The study of emotional intelligence facilitated additional insights into other leadership styles. It became clear that the top-down driven style of leadership wasn’t the most effective style of leadership in management for every situation. Here is a summary of three foundational styles along with the pros and cons.

Autocratic: This is the label for top-down, hierarchical leadership. There is an expectation that others accept their direction without question and move forward promptly.

Pros: Highly effective in situations where swift decision making and action is required, such as crisis management.

Cons: Strict autocratic leaders may intimidate employees to the extent that they won’t ask for further explanation or clarification on a task. This can lead to mistakes. Another common trait of an autocratic leader is micromanagement. Creativity and collaboration are diminished and often morale suffers.

Democratic: Also referred to as participative, the style is opposite of autocratic. Favoring collaboration, team members are actively involved in determining process and in decision making.

Pros: By emphasizing inclusivity and shared decision making, a sense of empowerment is fostered, increasing trust and a sense of ownership in organizational goals. Employees are more engaged and motivated.

Cons: Decision making by committee can be lengthy. Stalemates occur when a consensus is not reached.

Delegative: This is also sometimes called Laissez-faire leadership. A phrase that describes this style is “I trust you to do your job,” trusting employees to solve problems independently. Clear expectations and limits are essential for this style of leadership in management to be effective.

Pros: Employees are empowered to use their skills and experience without micromanagement. Frees managers to focus on the bigger picture.

Cons: Without clear expectations, limits, and tasks productivity may suffer. Roles must also be clearly defined so that managers are respected when there are disagreements.

Emotional intelligence was referenced earlier as a catalyst for the evolution of training leadership in management. Coaching leadership style is an outgrowth of this field of study.

Coaching: Employing tactics taken from the sports world, such as goal setting, training and professional development, managers provide regular constructive feedback to help employees reach their full potential.

Pros: For the employee, this style of leadership increases engagement and job satisfaction. For the organization, investing in employees is good for long-term organizational growth and stability. It is particularly effective for teams.

Cons: First and foremost, the manager must have fully developed their own leadership skills and be properly trained in this style in order to be effective. It is a time-intensive process and requires a commitment by both the manager and the employee. Employees who refuse to change their behavior are not receptive to being coached.

As mentioned earlier, there are many references to additional leadership styles. Transitional, transformative, inspirational, visionary, bureaucratic, charismatic, and coercive, are frequently listed. To a large degree these are derivatives of the four listed here or are better defined as part of the skillset effective leaders need to develop.

Effective Leadership in Management

Several sources referenced “situational leadership” as a leadership style. In truth, this is simply the quality all great leaders possess: the ability to be flexible in response to the situation. Yes, he or she may have a leadership style that is in play the majority of the time because it fits the profile of day-to-day activities. But the ability to pivot based on unexpected occurrences is what defines the difference between average and great. Fortunately, this can be learned. 


Leadership Styles: The Eleven Most Common and How to Find Your Style 

 The Evolution of Leadership: What You Need to Know for 2024 and Beyond 

 What is Leadership? Understanding Different Leadership Styles