If you lead your team of employees well – they’re more likely to be efficient, and thus create more turnover for you. But is your current leadership style maximising your  turnover and efficiency?

It is a challenge to find the optimum between your maximum turnover and maximum output. How you behave and lead your employees has significant effect. In this article we’ll be exploring the main leadership styles, analyse what the main limitations tend to be and how to overcome them.

There are 4 main leadership styles:

  1. Autocratic
  2. Democratic
  3. Laissez-faire
  4. Paternalistic


What leadership style do you enforce?

1) Autocratic: 

  • Use of rewards & penalties
  • Autocratic leaders tend to always make decisions themselves and retain all the responsibility.
  • Very little delegation
  • In regards to the chain of command, communication is always top to bottom i.e. more senior employees tend to communicate to their subordinates.
  • The workplace is very formal in terms of command and systems used.


Key Limitations Overcoming These Limitations
Autocratic leaders don’t delegate or allow employees to make decisions. Theres is only 1 of you; you cannot physically carry out every single decisions or task – especially if you are thinking of expanding your business. Your employees have the relevant skills to carry out these decisions (otherwise you wouldn’t have employed them). Trust them to make smaller, less important decisions and tasks at first, then gradually let them make more important decisions and tasks – you’ll be surprised to see how capable some employees are.
Subordinates don’t get to express their concerns or opinions to the more senior employees. Employees on the bottom of the hierarchy may have valuable suggestions, which may increase the efficiency of the way your business is run. Listening to your employees’ concerns will also make your employee feel valued and thus more motivated. Be open to suggestions and have regular team meetings and one-to-one meetings with your employees to get the most out of your employees.



2) Democratic: 

  • Leaders take into consideration everybody’s opinion
  • Employees take part in decision-making
  • Leaders delegate responsibility unto employees although the leader makes the final decisions
  • Employees are highly engaged in projects and daily tasks


Key Limitations Overcoming These Limitations
If your employees are not skilled enough or trained well, you’ll get a low quality of work delivered. The solution to this problem is to quite simply train your employees well. You don’t want your consumers to receive a poor level of service of low quality of a product, so take some time to analyse in what areas your employees need improving in and train them. Simply distributing questionnaires of asking your employees in what area they feel they could improve is a very cost and time-effective way to identify the area in need of improvement.



3) Laissez-faire (this is French for ‘to leave alone’)

  • Employees are encouraged to do what they think is correct
  • Employees have the power of decision-making
  • Leaders have little contribution on day-to-day decision making
  • Employees can usually set their own deadlines


Key Limitations Overcoming These Limitations
Employees may need help with day-to-day decision making or re-assurance; and not receive any. As a leader, you need to be aware of your employees’ needs. If you fail to provide the assistance employees need, the quality of the work they produce may deteriorate affecting your business image and thus your turnover. To overcome this, regularly shadow your employees so you are present physically allowing them to ask any questions. You should also regularly reassure your employees that if they were to have any queries that they can always approach a manager of yourself.
This style is effective when employees are self-motivated, however if they aren’t – work will simply not be done. You (or/and a manager) should be analysing each employees’ output – being able to realise whether they are hitting their targets. With a laissez-faire leadership; employees that aren’t hitting their target are simply not self-motivated. You will need to motivate them yourself, this can be done several ways.  You can do this by introducing a bonus/financial reward system. e.g. an employee will get £50 every time they hit 100% of their target. This works best if you know that the particular employee is motivated by money. Or they can be motivated by recognising their achievements within work i.e. outstanding ethos to work, always arriving to work on time, going the extra mile etc. An example of introducing such a system could be; employee of the month/week, regular encouraging talks (pep talks).



4) Paternalistic

  • This leadership is similar to a parent/child relationship i.e. the leader is seen as the parent and the employee as the child.
  • Sometimes considered as a less harsh version of the autocratic style
  • These leaders usually explains the reason why he/she takes particular actions.


Key Limitations Overcoming These Limitations
This style can come across as very patronising towards the employee. It is not easy to avoid this attitude if it is your personality attribute. However by simply thinking before you talk; question what you’re about to say to your employee, and ask yourself the following question, ‘how you would I feel/react if someone else said this to me?”



My Favourite Style

If I were asked to choose my favourite leadership style, it would be the democratic style. I feel this has both aspects of the laissez-faire and autocratic styles. For example it allows you to take into consideration your employees suggestions (this allowing them to feel valued and motivated), yet the final decision lies with you – the leader.

If you can’t find one specific style that matches yours, it is likely that you have a mix of a two styles. Pick the leadership style(s) you think you are, and improve your style with the solutions provided for greater employee satisfaction and motivation. This in turn possibly leading to an increase in turnover and profits for you and your business!

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