Leadership styles and the millennials: What is their leadership style?

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"Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way." - General George Patton

From Jack Welch and Steve Jobs to Mark Zuckerberg there can be many leadership styles based on the leader's character. Having said there are specific patterns in the leaderships styles that allows us to group the leadership attitudes to certain leadership styles.

According to Kurt Lewin there are three leadership styles

  • Authoritarian Leadership (Autocratic): The leader dictates polices and procedures and decides what objectives are to be completed and drives management without the participation of other employees. The leader controls the whole team and there is no team autonomy.
  • Participative Leadership (Democratic): Here the members of a group participate in the decision-making process. Team morale is higher and team members are more engaged. But this leadership style can lead sometimes to communication failures.
  • Delegative (Laissez-Faire) Leadership: Team members receive little or no guidance from leaders and teams are free to make decisions; having said that the leaders provide the tools and process needed to make good decisions. Also, team members solve problems on their own.

Also Mark Weber introduced another leadership style

  • Transactional: This leadership style focuses on the role of supervision, organization and group performance. Employees perform well when there is a clear chain of command in the organization.

And later Bernard M. Bass expanded the transactional leadership style and added another type of leadership

  • Transformational: Transformational leadership enhances the motivation, morale, and performance of followers. The traits of transformational leaders are energetic, enthusiastic and passionate.

"He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander." - Aristotle

Before we go to the leadership style of the millennial generation it worth mentioning some of their key characteristics:

  • Educated: Millennials are educated and can absorb knowledge much faster than previous generations
  • Collaborative: Millennials don't leave prisoners behind, they support their teams and value opportunities to work outside their peer group.
  • Tech savvy: 97% of the millennial generation owns a computer and they very knowledgeable in technology matters.

The above characteristics are close to the participative leadership style. Specifically, millennials tend to:

  • Demonstrate high levels of participative leadership (Democratic) within their work environment: They focus a lot on the social aspect of work.
  • Demonstrate followership style in their workplace: Millennials communicate frequently with their peers and managers. They also express their thoughts openly and share knowledge openly.

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