5.8. Lead your organization with style

Your organization and your people should be led… and as an entrepreneur is your responsibility to take the leadership. There are different styles of leadership which should be applied depending on the leader’s personality, the followers’ experiences, commitment, and competence, and on the business context in regards to objectives, time frame, and some external pressures.

Psychologist Kurt Lewin identified three leadership styles: autocratic, democratic, and laissez faire style. The autocratic leaders do not take into consideration the followers’ points of view, and wishes, or needs, when making decisions, even though these perspectives could be useful. This style might be appropriate when one leader has to make quick decisions, however, on medium and long-term, the autocratic style demoralizes the followers / the teams, creates tension, and make people to leave the organization. The autocratic leaders are preferred in organizations where decisions need to be made quickly, but also there where the team members are still at the beginning of their career and they need the leader to tell them what and how to do the things. Once that the followers developed in time, in regards to knowledge, skills, and also in regards to the commitment they have to the organization, the style can be changed in a more democratic one.

The democratic leaders always include their followers in the making decision process, and make sure that each and one of them expresses his / her opinions, needs, and wishes. Still, the leader is the one that make the final decision, but he / she has the consensus of the followers on this. This style of leadership boosts people’s engagement, motivation, commitment to the organization. However, this style is not always efficient, especially when quick decisions need to be made. This style is preferred in the majority of the organizations, because of its obvious benefits, but in order to be efficient and to bring good results, the followers need to have at least an average competence, experience, and commitment, and they need to have an interest in being involved in the decision making process.

The laissez faire leaders do not get involved in the decision making process too much; they provide a lot of freedom to their followers in how to conduct their work, and in how to reach the organization’s goals. The autonomy gained by the followers can lead to job satisfaction, and increase creativity. However, when the followers / the teams are not competent enough, or they not very committed to the organization and its goals, this style could damage the organization itself or the team members who are more responsible than the others. In other words, this style could perfectly work when people have high competence, extensive experience, and commitment, and the leader can delegate a lot to them. Definitely, this style will not work in situations in which the followers are at the beginning of their career, or new in the organization, or when they cannot keep themselves responsible and accountable for their work. No matter the  type of team or the followers, there are still important decisions that need to be made and assumed by the leader.