I was talking to a friend today about different leadership styles. I have encountered people who claim to be leaders and they only know one style of leadership: the dreaded autocratic style.
This style is one in which the manager retains as much power and decision-making authority as possible. The manager does not consult employees, nor are the employees allowed to give any input. Employees are expected to obey orders without receiving any explanations. The motivation environment is produced by creating a structured set of rewards and punishments.
The manager never recognizes the employees. Never says thank you. And always takes credit for their work.
For the autocratic leader, everything is about them. They use “I” and “Me”. What they achieve as an individual is all that counts. They do not build teams. They exploit their employees.
I’ve seen this style at play in churches. I suppose the selfish leader gets confused about the divine call. A calling to serve becomes a calling to command. And, if anyone challenges the commander, that person is labelled as trouble and pushed out.
Peter Drucker had this to say about effective leadership:
An effective executive does not need to be a leader in the sense that the term is now most commonly used. Harry Truman did not have one ounce of charisma, for example, yet he was among the most effective chief executives in U.S. history. Similarly, some of the best business and nonprofit CEOs I’ve worked with over a sixty-five-year consulting career were not stereotypical leaders. They were all over the map in terms of their personalities, attitudes, values, strengths, and weaknesses. They ranged from extroverted to nearly reclusive, from easygoing to controlling, from generous to parsimonious.
What made them all effective is that they followed the same eight practices:
- They asked, “What needs to be done?”
- They asked, “What is right for the enterprise?”
- They developed action plans.
- They took responsibility for decisions.
- They took responsibility for communicating.
- They were focused on opportunities rather than problems.
- They ran productive meetings.
- They thought and said “we” rather than “I.”