Types of leadership

The line manager operates in an environment where there are diverse uses of the word ‘leadership’. The term describes position, influence or power that can be unrelated to the organisational job role. Some examples of types of leaders:

The charismatic leader, who gains influence mainly from strength of personality e.g. Napoleon, Hitler, Churchill. The difficulty with charismatic leadership is that few people possess the exceptional qualities required to transform all around them into willing followers.

The traditional leader, whose position is assured by birth, e.g. kings, queens and tribal chiefs. Nelson Mandela is a traditional leader as well as a charismatic leader.

The situational leader, whose influence can only be effective by being in the right place at the right time. Someone who is capable of assuming a leadership role in a variety of situations over a period of time. This leader may not be a manager.

The appointed leader, whose influence arises directly out of his position, e.g. most managers and supervisors. This is the bureaucratic type of leadership where legitimate power springs from the nature and scope of the position within the hierarchy. The problem here is that although powers of the position may be defined, the jobholder may not be able to implement them because of lack of adequate training or other factors.

The functional leader, who secures their leadership position by what he or she does, rather than who they are – for example professional specialists who can have great influence

Line manager’s preferences in terms of ‘sharing power’ with the team The line manager’s own style preferences are very significant

·         Where do you see yourself?

·         How could this affect your team?

·         Where do you see your line manager?

·         How does this affect your management style?

Line manager’s style linked to working situation and team maturity

The role that the manager must play varies with the situation which itself is a function of the team maturity and complexity. The manager therefore needs to develop the capability to adopt any of four styles: Manager, Orchestrator, Improviser or Facilitator as the situation warrants.

The diagram provides indicators against each style which can be used to identify the managerial competencies specifically associated with complex situations and the maturity of the team. The question to ask in each case is how can I line manage in a way that will work for our organisational context?

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