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Ivan Popov

i was once an athlete. then a journalist. now i am a ceo of an iT company. still running marathons though.

Are You Sure You’ve Implemented The Best Leadership Approach? Ask The Team!

leadership approach

Thoughts on leadership styles and how to know whether you’ve chosen the right one not only for your preferences but also to your employees’ liking.

Just recently I’ve written an article on Medium whose topic had to do with two of the most widely used leadership approaches – transactional and transformational.

It did quite well so I quickly come to the understanding that perhaps many people find themselves interested in the field. Before finishing it, I thought that maybe it would be quite beneficial for all those aspiring entrepreneurs and leaders out there. I’m pretty sure the majority of them find it hard at first to establish a successful leadership model that proves to be working just fine. So I decided to offer some insights on the matter. I hope I was able to land a hand.

Sometime later I got an epiphany. Surely the article was useful for leaders who didn’t have any idea what leadership style would suit best their preferences. But what about one that suits the preferences of the employees too?

So today I decided to focus on the other end of things – how to know whether or not we’ve managed to choose the best leadership approach not only for us but also for our employees?

Leadership approach 101: what’s behind the transactional and transformation methods

In a nutshell, those two approaches are the most widely used. The truth is, the majority of leaders find themselves feeling comfortable with either of them. The main point is to successfully combine that preferred method with the one that best suits the employees’ needs.

  • the transactional leadership method has to do with structure, discipline, and mainly assigning and executing tasks. Usually, leaders tend to behave much more boss-like in terms of deadlines, feedback, and expectations when it comes to the overall workflow.
  • the transformational approach becomes much more popular in nowadays work culture. In a nutshell, it represents the leader’s desire to plant desire, inspiration, and fulfillment in their employees’ mindsets. It’s believed that this is the best method in terms of gaining the best possible results when it comes to the company’s and employees’ success.

As you can see, each of those two most popular leadership methods has its pros and cons. While many people out there find it easier to embrace the transactional method, others may prefer the more easy-going and friendly-oriented transformational one. It’s important to mention that the right choice also depends on the company itself – while big corporations and well-established enterprises may thrive on the transactional approach, startups and small-to-medium companies may find the transformational one much more suitable.

Why is it important to coordinate your leadership approach with your employees’ preferences?

We all know that as a leader you must find the best possible method and ways to execute your work tasks and duties. This decision greatly benefits your future development as a mentor not only in the current company of occupation but also in your overall career development.

But since the leader’s job has a lot to do with communicating with their team, it’s only logical for us to say that the choice of the method has a lot to do with the employees’ preferences and behavioral responses.

There are employees out there who greatly prefer discipline and structure – meaning, they will thrive much more successfully in a micromanagement environment. Those employees will appreciate their leader giving them specific tasks, stating specific deadlines, and also offering feedback that mainly focuses on praise and criticism. The transactional leadership approach works best in huge teams that operate in different departments.

On the contrary, employees that work in startups or small-to-medium companies openly share they prefer the transformational approach. See, this method relies greatly on the friendly communication between the leader and the staff. Usually, the leader mentors their people by example, offering them some great advice. Transformational leaders also show preferences to form opinions and points of view.

As you may be seeing, being a leader doesn’t just have to do with your preferences and liking. Every leader or a mentor needs to be able to try out different leadership approaches until they start to feel it hitting close the come. But so it does when it comes to their employees. Since each group of individuals has a unique response to triggers, situations, problems, and communication, it’s also very important for a leader to test which approach is showing the best results during the mutual workflow.

  • observe how your employees react when you express criticism – is their goal to prove you wrong by working harder or do they start showing signs of lack of motivation?
  • how does your team feel about micromanagement? Do they prefer being strictly guided or they would appreciate it much more if you gave them space and the opportunity to come up with their plan of execution?
  • Do deadlines motivate them or stress them out easily?
  • Do your employees show the need to share and communicate with you on a variety of topics? Do you feel you need to work on the proper communication between you and the team members?
  • Are there any people in your team who thrive on praise? If yes, make sure you frequently acknowledge their success.
  • Are your employees more willing to communicate on a friendly note rather than on a formal one?

To wrap things up

In general, the proper leadership approach is the one that greatly benefits your workflow and communication with the team. But you simply must not forget that a huge part of its success has to do with how it benefits the employees. Do your best to find a leadership strategy that can help both your team and you to further develop and implement the best work methods to achieve huge success and move forward together.


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