How to Choose a Leadership Pattern

A leadership pattern is a defined way of approaching a position of authority and executing managerial tasks. There are many different leadership roles, depending on the circumstances, and there are just as many coinciding leadership styles. If you find yourself in a situation that requires you to assume the position of the leader, you will need to implement an appropriate style of leadership if you want to be optimally successful. You do not need a business management degree to know how to effectively lead. Just follow these guidelines to choose a leadership pattern.


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    Familiarize yourself with leaderships styles.
    • Authoritarian/Autocratic. This approach to leadership puts the bulk of decision-making and executive functions on you, the leader, and lessens the autonomy of those you are leading. This leadership pattern is useful in situations with heavy time restraints, in which you know the most about what needs to be done and how to do it. Otherwise, in more long-term situations that require greater employee input and responsibility, this dominating style of leadership should be avoided.
    • Participative/Democratic. This managerial style promotes the involvement of those you are leading. You are responsible for overseeing the task, delegating responsibilities and making final decisions, but your employees are responsible for giving input in regards to getting their tasks done most efficiently. This will generally yield better results than an authoritarian style, as it encourages everyone to be accountable and it promotes positive morale.
    • Delegative/Free reign. Use a delegative leadership pattern when you trust the competency, efficiency and dedication of those you are leading. Allowing this type of autonomy amongst the members of your task force allows you to focus on other, more pressing matters, but it does not negate your responsibility in ensuring the quality of the finished product.
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    Assess the circumstances around your leadership role. Take the following things into consideration before choosing a managerial style:
    • Those you will be leading. Take note of how long they have been in their positions so you know if they need to be taught, guided or delegated responsibilities.
    • Critique the relationship between yourself and those you are responsible for leading. Gauging levels of familiarity and respect is important to choosing a leadership pattern.
    • The task at hand. Consider the many variables involved in completing the task, including time to complete, training necessary to complete, stressors involved with such a task, amount of structure required by the task and the need for individual versus teamwork-type participation.
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    Use your analysis of the circumstances involved around your leadership task in order to choose the most appropriate of the leadership styles. Ideally, your role as a leader should utilize not just 1 style, but aspects from each of the leadership patterns, as they apply to the specifics of your task.


  • Beware that the authoritarian managerial style does not entitle you to disrespect or "boss around" those you are leading. Those behaviors have no place in the professional world, and should be avoided altogether.

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Categories: Leadership and Mentoring