Leadership Style According to Kurt Lewin (Psychology-based)

To truly understand the essence of servant leadership, one must understand the different types of leadership. The leader must evaluate oneself to recognize what kind of leadership style he or she naturally exhibits. This will help in making a clearer judgment towards guiding the team. Individuals can sense when a leader is disingenuous to representing oneself. Be genuine and consistent in leading the team. Acting on an unnatural style will leave an impression of uncertainty and question your credibility to lead.  Each leadership style is unique, and based upon the presenting situation, you will leverage one style over another. 

Kurt Lewin, Style of Leadership

The foundation of leadership will guide you on the best style to use. There is no magic combination for success. Each situation is analyzed for the best approach. In 1930, Kurt Lewin defined three psychology-based leadership styles: autocratic, democratic, and laissez-faire. These (Kurt Lewin) styles are still commonly used today as leadership style descriptions.
The foundation of leadership will guide you on the best style to use. There is no magic combination for success. Each situation is analyzed for the best approach. In 1930, Kurt Lewin defined three psychology-based leadership styles: autocratic, democratic, and laissez-faire. These (Kurt Lewin) styles are still commonly used today as leadership style descriptions.

Autocratic Style 

Autocratic style demands immediate compliance. As the word denotes, this is the do-as-you-are- told kind of leader. This kind of leadership style can be advised in situations that warrant an immediate action. However, when used continuously, it will result in discontent among the team. This style is effective to get people from a burning building or out of gunfire. It is effective during a code or in the critical care unit when someone goes into cardiac arrest. It is not beneficial when modifying the behavior of our team and often met with resistance. Be cautious when using it. 

Democratic Style 

Democratic style is consensus through participation. The democratic leader is one who builds trust and achieves goals through voting, consensus, or collaboration. This kind of leader tends to ask questions and reaches agreements. Consider this style when you are rolling out a new process or initiative. Develop a small focus group to define the process, expectations, workflow, etc. There will always be elements you do not consider because you are not doing the job every day. Bring in your subject matter experts (i.e., team members) and collaborate. This will also provide an avenue for the team's buy-in. 

Laissez-Faire Style 

Laissez-faire style is based on the mindset of building a strong team and staying out of their way. It is the opposite of autocratic leadership style. Here the individuals are given loosely defined objectives and goals. One of the most significant benefits of this style is innovation. This style can be frustrating to individuals who want clearly defined objectives. In 1964, business-minded professionals Robert Blake and Jane Mouton focused on two styles: task-oriented and people-oriented.

Task-Oriented Style 

Task-oriented style is focused on results-driven outcomes. In this style, the leader ensures clear communication and expectations of the objectives and desired outcomes.  The consideration of who is most appropriate for the task is not considered.

People-Oriented Style 

People-oriented style is focused on determining which team member is most suited for a task based upon his or her current skill set, interest, or personal development. This style is effective for developing an individual through stretch opportunities. Stretch opportunities are tasks given to individuals that are above his or her skill set and intended to push the individual out of his or her comfort zone to promote development. In 2002, Daniel Goleman detailed the six emotional styles of leadership including visionary, coaching, affiliate, democratic, pacesetting, and commanding. 

Visionary style 

Visionary style moves people towards a vision. This is said to be the most impactful style of leadership. This kind of leader gains strength through passion and vision. The coach empowers the individuals. This style empowers and inspires the team. It often drives innovation and creativity. Convey the vision and get out of the team's way.

Leadership Coaching Style 

Coaching style develops people for the future. This is a kind of leader whose focus is on achieving progress. Each single individual on your squad needs training in some skill. The individual's goal may not be a management path. Focusing on the individual's goal could be as simple as demonstrating excellence in my everyday job or enhancing my knowledge of treating diabetes. 

Leadership Affiliate Style 

Affiliate style creates emotional bonds. This is the people-come-first kind of leader in the sense that he or she tries as much as possible to build a bond or relationship. It is most effective in the phase of motivation when there's lack thereof among the team. This style is important to leverage when speaking with senior leaders. You represent the team and the team has chosen you. Keep this in mind and be mindful of how new initiatives will impact the team. 

Leadership Pacesetter Style 

Pacesetter style expects excellence and self-direction. This is the kind of leader who is prone to set high standards without considering other's ideas. When used, it may damage their morale and make them feel inferior.  Pacesetting is appropriate when establishing a standard of care. For example, we consider our diabetic patients to be in control of the disease when the A1C is less than or equal to 7 percent. Leveraging pacesetting to drive productivity is not effective. Our goal as clinical professionals is to improve disease control of our patients. Improving disease control reduces the risk of complications. For diabetes, complications include blindness, dialysis, and limb amputation. Having this high standard is critical for this specific team.

Democratic style has previously been discussed and again focuses on consensus through participation. The commanding style is equivalent to the do-as-you-are-told autocratic style of leadership as previously mentioned. 

Transactional Leadership 

Transactional leadership is focused on the day-to-day operations. This leader has challenges with seeing the big picture or conveying a vision. Transactional leaders keenly focus on an individual's roles and responsibilities. They aggressively performance-manage team members who are not meeting expectations, thus leading to low morale.

Charismatic Leadership 

Charismatic leadership encompasses the components of transformational leadership by inspiration and motivation. However, it is for the benefit of the leader. This leader is not focused on the innovation or excelling the organization. This style often leads to the demise of many organizations. 

Servant Leadership

Servant leadership was first defined in 1970 by Robert Greenleaf as the natural desire to lead by serving others meeting the needs of the team members, empowering them to make decisions, confirms their primary needs are cared for and emphasizes on growth.  Many times, the servant-leader has no formal recognition. The leader is commonly obscure and concentrates the focus on the individual colleagues to show achievement. The benefits of servant leadership are higher engagement, which leads to the high performance of the team. The colleagues feel esteemed and have a more prominent feeling of commitment. They feel the leaders thinks about them and their prosperity. The team demonstrates high morale through guidance by a moral compass. This leader leads with high integrity, focuses on the good of the organization as well as the team members, is concerned with stakeholders, and exhibits a high degree of self-awareness. There are the fundamental competencies of servant leadership that transcends all styles of leadership.