8 Leadership Philosophies That You Need To Thrive (Examples)

8 Leadership Philosophies That You Need To Thrive (Examples)

A variety of leadership ideas are covered in this section. How should a leadership philosophy be written with an example? Take a look

When deciding what actionable decisions to make as a leader of a business or an organization, it is helpful to remember that establishing guiding principles for your behavior will ensure consistency in applying the best practices for your actions. 

This is commonly described as a Leadership Philosophy and can be a key tool in creating successful ventures and guiding individuals. 

Leadership philosophies can vary depending on the environment but will always be a guiding statement while leading a team. 

There are also no strict rules governing leadership philosophy, and there are many different examples of what leadership philosophy can mean.

Some examples of leadership philosophy can include:-

  1. Autocratic Leadership or Authoritarian Leadership
  2. Democratic Leadership or Participative Leadership
  3. Laissez-faire Leadership or Delegative Leadership
  4. Transactional Leadership or Managerial Leadership
  5. Transformational Leadership
  6. Strategic Leadership
  7. Solutions-based Leadership
  8. Learning Leadership

How do these 8 examples of leadership philosophy actually play out?

  1. Autocratic leadership is authoritarian and known for leaders making fast decisions without consultation. Discipline from the leader and those charged with the following leadership is important. Autocratic leadership is a top-down approach. 

  1. Democratic leadership allows multiple inputs to engage in decision-making. Ideas are shared, and collaboration is encouraged. Everyone is free to express their opinions, participate in decision-making, and promote debate. The decision-making authority remains with a leader.

  1. Delegative Leadership is hands-off and is most often employed by leadership when the workforce is highly skilled and engaged in their work roles. Delegative leadership requires leaders to trust the workforce and take an observational role.

  1. Transactional leadership motivates the workforce with rewards and penalties in a highly-structured environment. Workers receive financial incentives and recognition for meeting agreed goals and can be sanctioned for failing to meet expectations.

  1. Transformational Leadership was coined by James MacGregor Burns and aims to motivate workers to grow and play a role in an organization’s future success. Burns was a historian and author who wrote about leadership related to US Presidents. 

According to Burns, a transformational leader inspires a group about their work and “looks for potential motives in followers, seeks to satisfy higher needs, and engages the full person of the follower.”

  1. Strategic leadership philosophy supports multiple types of employees all at once and can be a challenging balancing act between the organization's best interests and employees. 

  1. Solution-based leadership focuses on a positive vision of the future. Leaders and employees engage in identifying and implementing solutions to all challenges. Leaders focus on finding the right solutions to any problems.

  1. Learning leadership places learning and teaching as a priority using data and evidence to steer an organization and establish a culture of continuous learning within the organization, which is especially crucial for startups and small businesses that need to be adaptable and nimble in a competitive marketplace.

Want to know more about different leadership styles? Watch the video below that adds some common leadership styles to our list. These include:-

● Coach 

● Visionary 

● Servant 

● Autocratic 

● Democratic 

● Bureaucratic

● Pacesetter
Video Link:- https://www.youtube.com/embed/gvsiYHr573c

Tips for writing a leadership philosophy

A personal leadership philosophy should not be a cookie-cutter cut-and-paste position. The best leaders create their own vision while acknowledging the past. A leadership philosophy should be led by your own personal values. 

One suggestion in defining your leadership philosophy is to list the personal attributes you value most. Some ideas may include the following:-

● Kindness

● Strength

● Courage 

● Authoritative

● Respectful

● Integrity

● Loyalty

● Diligent 

● Collaborative

● Risk-taking 

Your own personal attribute list will assist you in finding your own leadership style. Other suggestions for finding your own personal leadership style include:-

  1. Choose a leadership style: What kind of leader do you want to be?
  2. Find a role model:  Is there a well-known leader whose qualities you admire? How do you identify with them? What makes them stand out for you?
  3. Identify your goals: Random ideas help no one. What are your definable leadership goals?
  4. Think about your future: Not exactly a “where do you see yourself in five years?” question, but it is important to imagine what you want for yourself and your team and what you want to achieve together. You can update these goals in time. 
  5. Talk with your team: Feedback, feedback, and more feedback. Know what the people you are bringing on the journey think about their trip and destination.
  6. Reflect: Think about your successes and failures, what worked and why, and what didn't work and why. A reflection is an excellent tool for making sure future decisions are informed.

Other questions you may want to ask yourself when defining your own leadership style could include:-

  • Do you like to make decisions on your own or collectively?
  • Do I want to focus on short-term or long-term goals? 
  • Does motivation come from empowerment or direction?
  • What does a healthy team dynamic look like to me?
  • How can I boost productivity and efficiency?

Personal leadership philosophy examples to learn and thrive

An excellent example of a Personal Leadership philosophy can be found here. It is helpful to see an outline of some of the key points below:-

Leadership means loyalty, courage, and respect for all human beings. I believe as a leader, I should be loyal to my mission and to my team. I will take responsibility if I don’t communicate with my team effectively…

If someone on my team makes a mistake, it is my mistake. I believe I should set an example, communicate clearly, and exhibit a strong work ethic to be effective…

My goal is to inspire my team to have faith in our mission. I will help them by inspiring them and showing them what it means to do their best…

My ultimate goal as a leader is to leave a legacy, inspire those I lead to better their lives and their families lives, and positively impact my workplace and the world.

It is important to highlight that personal leadership philosophies should be tailored to individuals. There is a reason why the word “personal” is tied to leadership philosophies. Hearing other people’s personal leadership philosophies can help define your own. 

A student at Worcester University in the UK described a key component of her personal leadership philosophy: "being a leader is stepping out of the safe space that is my inner thoughts and actually putting them to action by guiding others.” 

Another student said, "a leader must have a strong and, more importantly, a good moral compass and set of values. A leader will set an example for others, which should be good.”

While another student from the university’s leadership course listed her key leadership qualities as:-

  1. Confidence: “I believe that a leader should be confident in his or her abilities and trust that they have what it takes to be a successful leader.”
  2. Reliability: “A leader should be someone people can trust to get the job done on time and go above and beyond what is asked of them.”
  3. Passion: “A leader should show interest, excitement, and motivation to complete a project and should motivate their group members as well.”
  4. Open-Minded: “A leader should be willing to accept a diverse range of people and ideas to make the best decision possible for the group.”
  5. Accessible: “A leader should make people feel comfortable coming to them to express a concern or bring up a new idea.”
  6. Lighthearted: “A leader should always try to bring a smile to people’s faces and use humor to brighten people’s day.”
  7. Team-focused: “A leader should always do what is best for the group as a whole.”
  8. Creative: ”I believe that a leader should be able to create new and inventive solutions to problems, combining and encompassing the ideas presented by the whole group.”
  9. Kind: “A leader should always be compassionate, caring, and willing to lend a helping hand.”

Why is a personal leadership philosophy important?

It is widely agreed that a leader must have a vision and establish a purpose for the organization to motivate people within it. Trust is equally important while moving toward realizing that vision. 

A leader must be consistent and reliable and someone people can trust. This is connected to integrity, an important pillar in many leadership philosophies. 

A good leader should be able to take responsibility for actions. A good leader manages communication well and listens to ideas and opinions. In the words of the founder of Shapiro Negotiations Institute, "Crafting a personal leadership philosophy is essential for guiding decision-making, fostering trust, and inspiring action within organizations. Incorporating keynote speaking strategies by SNI can illuminate these foundational principles."

Discovering your personal leadership philosophy is fascinating as it helps define you as a leader. 

Once you have constructed your leadership philosophy, you have a framework to provide consistent behavior and allow you to define and find a pathway to success. We look forward to hearing about your own personal leadership philosophy.

Anthony Vaccaro is a senior product specialist at TimewatchTimewatch. He has over 20 years experience with the Timewatch product range, first as a customer when he worked for a major US CRM supplier before joining Timewatch. He now heads up the US sales department. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his family, playing golf and travelling to new places

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