- Leadership qualities are the most important qualities a manager should have, according to a very big number of researchers.
- The success of any project highly depends on the leadership and management styles of the project manager or responsible.
- Find out more about the different leadership styles and you might find a leadership trait that would help you, in particular, to run your business projects better.
A key role of a manager, according to Henry Mintzberg, is leadership: motivating subordinates and unifying effort. In 2010, Mintzberg co-authored and published a gem of a book with Bruce Ahlstrand & Joseph Lampel "Management: It’s Not What You Think!" A collection of short, sometimes funny articles on management, leadership styles and stereotypes. Often tongue-in-cheek and irreverent, it makes for some light, yet serious, reading. As the authors remind us, “If you want to uncover someone’s flaws, marry them or else work for them. Their flaws will quickly become apparent.”
Different leadership styles in successful project realisations
As Project Leaders, your team members will pick up on some of your flaws. Some team members might even like you well enough to point out your flaws to you. Such team members you want to keep close, chances are they want you to excel and the project to succeed. The key is not to take such criticism personally and to regularly humble yourself by remembering that the project is bigger than you. In fact, it’s not about you!
Having said that though, as Project Leader, your leadership styles do have an impact on how well, or badly, your project is delivered. One of the seminal research findings on leadership styles dates back to 1939. Kurt Lewin led a group of researchers, and published their findings in the Journal of Social Psychology.
Lewin is widely considered the ‘father’ of modern social psychology. One of his most famous quotes is, “there is nothing so practical as a good theory.” In this study by Lewin, Lippit and White, schoolchildren were grouped into one of three ‘leadership styles’ groups: authoritarian, democratic and laissez-faire. Their key findings are summarised in the diagram below:
Democratic leadership style is the superior
Their main finding was that the democratic leadership style is superior to the authoritarian and laissez-faire styles. Interestingly, when the researchers asked the leaders to change their leadership and management styles, the effect of each style remained largely consistent. This result indicates that your team members are reacting to how you treat them, and not reacting to you personally. Clearly, it is definitely not about you. Team members will work with you, or turn you mental, depending on how you treat them.
As Simon Sinek said, “When leaders care less about their people, their people will be careless.”
So, with that being said, what's your leadership style? How has it been working for you? Do you see the above leadership styles in others, and how has it worked for them?