Choosing Your Leadership Style

When choosing your leadership style look first at the employee and the situation. Not all styles work with all people and at times you need to be able to quickly choose the right leadership style for that particular situation. In general there are four basic leadership styles.

The Prescriber or Directing leadership style takes a hands on approach and for the most part communication is only one-way. For the supervisor this is a high task, low relationship style of leadership. As the supervisor you are calling the shots. You direct by directing what each employee needs to do to complete the project. This method of leadership comes in to play when you are dealing with new employees that lack job maturity, confidence, and employee motivation to get the job done.

Next is the Persuader or Coaching leadership style. This style of leadership is similar to the first style mentioned. The difference is you supervise people by persuading or coaching them to follow your suggestions and ideas. Communication is more two-way with this approach. You encourage input before sharing your decision. By using this leadership style you begin to build trust among your team members, they are becoming more mature and can handle doing tasks on their own. This style is still high task oriented for the supervisor but you are also building relationships and trust. Use this leadership style when you are dealing with employees that have some relevant skills toward the job.

The Participator or Supporting leadership style is where the supervisor leads through participation with the group. Supervisors pass down day-to-day decisions to their team members. You are working with your high performers. These people have been on the job awhile and are mature, capable, and experienced. They know what to do and are highly motivated to do the job and do it well. As a supervisor you are letting go control. You have very little tasks to perform yet you are maintaining high levels of relationship with your staff.

The fourth leadership style is the Permitter or Delegating. You guessed it, this is where you hardly have to do anything at all. As the supervisor, you tell them what you need and they take care of it without any additional guidance. You supervise by letting people do their jobs with very little direction. You have developed a game plan and handed it down to the players to play. This method of leadership is great for your excellent employees, ones that take the initiative, motivated, and have leadership potential.

So answering the question, “how to supervise people?” is not clear cut. Determine which type of leadership style you currently use and the employees you have working under you. You may find that some you can trust more than others to get the job done. They may be the ones that you can give more responsibility to. Not all make it to the stage where they take the initiative and run with it. You will find that maintaining employee motivation is part of knowing which leadership style to apply. Situations are different, people are different so practice the different leadership styles. The better you know them the more natural they will be when using them. It will feel awkward at first but over time you will have made it a habit and it will flow smooth.

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