By Jim Wong, CPA | May 4, 2016

“Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work.” —Seth Godin

What makes a good leader? It seems this topic has been discussed since the beginning of time. Business leaders of the past and present have shared their opinions for centuries on what differentiates good and poor leaders; or what makes a person a manager versus a leader—and so on.

In today’s corporate landscape, specifically, there are many resources available that outline the characteristics of how, why and when a person can be identified a leader, and a good one at that. Is it self-declaring? Is it a title that needs to be given to someone? While these details can differ from person to person, there are some common themes.

Recently, I came across an article on Forbes that discusses just that, a few of the most popular leadership styles that the best managers typically exhibit. These qualities can be applied to leaders or managers of any profession—whether it be accounting, finance, IT or another. Also, these successful leaders must be able to recognize their leadership styles and be able to tailor their approach in order to lead more effectively for various generations or learning style among their teams.

Not sure which leadership style will make you the greatest you can be? Below are the 7 Leadership Styles Used By the Best Managers mentioned in the article to entertain.

1. The Guru
This leader is the one who is often considered a thought leader not only within the workplace, but within the industry. This leader has the self-confidence to lead others effectively because he/she is comfortable with their skills. Being a “guru” is a useful style to use when there’s a large knowledge gap between a leader and colleagues. While this approach is not one to use all of the time, it can be used without looking like a know-it-all. Word to the wise—use this style sparingly.

2. The Questioner
While the guru relies on his/her own knowledge, the questioner is the leader who instead relies on his/her colleagues to share their knowledge and input. This is a useful style for colleagues who are comfortable with debate and critique because it allows everyone to have a voice, express their opinions and challenge the status quo.

3. The Orchestrator 
This leader has dual vision—they focus on the objective and the people who can help reach the objective. This leadership style is one of the most popular styles on a day-to-day basis because it ensures that each team member or colleague is engaged, seen and heard. One way that this style can be problematic though, is if a colleague feels misread and wants to grow and try new things. The important thing to note is that a leader who uses this style must be aware of each team member’s desire to grow.

4. The Standard Setter 
The Stander Setter is best utilized when leaders are transparent with their goals and allow colleagues to build trust and confidence. This can be a tricky style though—standard setters can set goals that are either over—reaching or under—reaching. It’s beneficial for this leader to delegate tasks to the team in order to make sure the team reaches its goals, collectively.

5. The Developer 
This leader believes it’s beneficial to describe, rather than prescribe how colleagues should work. This leader, often a coach, helps not only individual colleagues, but also increases capacity of the entire organization.

6. The Idealist 
Instead of thinking that idealism is a bad approach when it comes to leadership, an idealist is the type of leader who can visualize and work towards creating a better future for an organization or team. This is the leader who can look ahead to what competitors are doing and anticipate what can be done to make his/her team better.

7. The Rock 
The Rock is another common leadership style for leaders and managers who have been in their roles for some time. This leader provides solid management practices and is consistent. Much like a rock though, this person can get too comfortable and forget how to adapt to team members’ styles. This leader must try to incorporate their adaptability in order to stay innovative.

What are some of the other leadership styles you’ve seen in the workplace? What works and what doesn’t? Comment below and let us know what you think!

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