I am a product of the “rag” business. My father was a department store manager and my first example of leadership.
Standing at the mezzanine plate-glass window, pointing to sales clerks to give them instructions was how he directed their behavior. As a former Navy officer, that was his style. In his retirement speech at age 70, he apologized, saying he was sorry if he offended anyone but it was the only way he knew to lead people.
Kurt Lewin, (1890-1947), considered the founder of modern social psychology, conducted a study of schoolchildren. Assigned to either authoritarian, democratic or laissez-fair leadership groups, he demonstrated democratic leadership style was superior to authoritarian and laissez-faire leadership.
To Ken Blanchard, co-author of The One Minute Manager, there are four leadership styles and they are situational. New employees need a directive style, disillusioned employees need a coaching style, cautious performers need a supporting style, and self-reliant achievers need a delegating style.
In 1970, Robert Green defined servant leadership. Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King would fit this style, helping others to achieve their goals. Making a difference in the lives of others and in changing the world for the better.
With the many books available on leadership today, we have all have a choice on how to lead. It’s up to you.
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” —John Maxwel