Great leaders come in all shapes and sizes, and with different approaches. Most leaders tailor their leadership style to bring out the best in their team in any given situation. At Guardian, we understand that it takes many kinds of people to make a business great, and we celebrate the diversity of leadership within our organization.

Check out four common leadership styles below and think about which style (or combination of styles) best aligns with who you are as a professional and as a leader. Then consider how the approach you take can impact your team — and your career. 

Transformational leadership

These leaders provide autonomy to be innovative and creative.1

You are a transformational leadership type if you…

  • Create an environment of intellectual stimulation.
  • Emphasize transparency, inclusion, and positive communication.

When a transformational leadership style shines:

  • With a detail-oriented team that can implement high-level, strategic visions.
  • With a self-starting, highly motivated team.

Impact on work environment:

  • Thinking big becomes a part of the culture, which can, if effectively managed and put into action, lead to big things happening within the company.
  • Big ideas can die on the vine if not followed through — be sure to give your employees ample time and resources to bring them to life!

Pace-setting leadership

Pace-setting leaders lead by example, demonstrating high standards of performance .2

You are a pace-setter leadership type if you…

  • Drive your team by setting the bar high in terms of effort, time and performance.
  • Demonstrate the traits you want to see from your team.

When a pace-setter leadership style shines:

  • When the team is skilled, motivated and quick-thinking.
  • When driving results (such as increasing sales) is critical.

Impact on work environment:

  • Inspires the team to achieve a level of performance that is expected and exemplified by you.
  • Can cause burnout if staff performs at an unrealistic, constant high level of performance. Be realistic with your expectations to ensure your team members don’t become fatigued! 

Are you a leader? Job titles do not define whether or not you're a leader. If you exemplify leadership qualities, are a resource for your peers, and share innovative solutions and ideas, then you are already on a leadership path.

Innovative leadership

They are creative visionaries that have both big and small ideas and can most importantly, motivate people around them to turn their innovative ideas into a reality.3

You are an innovative leadership type if you…

  • Find new ways to address challenges in the workplace.
  • Foster an environment where creative thinking and problem-solving are valued — starting with you.

When an innovative leadership style shines:

  • When faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges (for example, projects that require thinking and work that has never been done before).
  • When employees are capable of problem-solving and are critical thinkers.

Impact on work environment:

  • Nurtures employees’ creative and critical thinking skills by rewarding innovation and problem-solving.
  • Can stall decision-making if taken to extremes. Ask for team input only when appropriate and give a reasonable amount of time for team members to weigh in. 

Relationship-oriented leadership

These leaders know that their team is their most valuable asset and focus on making people feel valued, safe, appreciated, and inspired.4

You are a relationship-oriented leadership type if you…

  • Motivate staff by nurturing strong relationships and ensuring your team members’ individual fulfillment needs are being met.
  • Focus on building a team with strong bonds – with each other, with you and with the company.​

When a relationship-oriented leadership style shines:

  • In roles where teamwork is vital to the success of a project, or even the company.
  • In situations where bringing the ideas and talent of each team member improves the project.​

Impact on work environment: 

  • Can bring out the best in employees and make them feel supported and valued in the workplace.
  • Too many team-building activities, team meetings and one-on-one reviews can get in the way of the tasks at hand. Try to strike a balance between focusing on the team and meeting deadlines. 

Continually developing and growing your leadership skills is an important part of building and navigating your career path. At Guardian, our financial professionals have access to award-winning 5 leadership development training programs and leadership opportunities. Learn more about our programs or apply now to join one of our local firms.

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