Leadership, the method of inspiring others to achieve a common goal by working together, is an essential component of group dynamics. From first-line supervisors to middle managers to top executives, effective leadership that is present at every level is a key characteristic that makes up a successful and resilient organization. Without skillful and effective leaders, an organization can struggle (even in good times), fail to adapt to changes, and can come apart at the seams in the face of adversity.
The question becomes: how to develop effective leaders, particularly when the relationship between a leader's style and her effectiveness in accomplishing company goals is complex?
An essential first step in answering this question is by gaining insight into a leader's style through a leadership style survey. That is, how does the leader provide direction, implement plans, and motivate people? Executive coaches, consultants, and top company executives often require employees to participate in this survey tool as a way to learn about a leader's style and ability to inspire people to perform.
Constructed using online survey software, a leadership style survey can take the form of a multiple choice format. Questions are geared toward learning about how a leader tends to react in a particular situation while at work, and how his employee interactions are impacted by his leadership style. In this way, leadership style surveys are a tool that managers, coaches, and consultants might use to help an organization run more efficiently and help its leaders manage more effectively.
Leadership style questionnaires are designed using online survey software to help you figure out what behaviors you tend to use as a leader and as a self-refection survey tool. Besides asking about your reaction to different situations, leadership style surveys also examine your preferences, behaviors, and attitudes.
Once a leadership style survey is completed, it provides information on a leader's go-to leadership style in specific situations. It can also help leaders become more aware of their ineffective behaviors, while also exposing biases that may be an impediment to effective leadership. It can help a leader understand the importance of a flexible leadership style depending on the situation. All-in-all, it helps leaders become aware of, learn about, and appreciate different leadership styles.
There are different schools of thought on the number and types of leadership styles. Democratic, autocratic, consultative, Laissez-faire, charismatic, situational, participative, and facilitative are just a few of the types of leadership styles recognized by industry experts.
The takeaway? Leaders have choices in how they interact with people and deal with situations. A leadership survey can be an important learning tool to help leaders become more aware of their style and behavior to enable them to make conscious choices of a particular leadership style that has the most probability of achieving a desired outcome. In the end, it's a survey tool that will help improve the effectiveness of leaders, whether the organization is a for profit, non-for-profit, or academia.