30 April 2024

Leadership Styles

By Birsen Çevik Akgünlü

In my previous article, we explored the diverse skillsets, prioritization methods, time management strategies, and success criteria required across various Leadership Levels. So, does transitioning between leadership levels necessitate corresponding changes in leadership style as well?

With 22 years of managerial experience, I’ve observed that my leadership style has evolved over time. Interestingly, these changes didn’t always align precisely with shifts in my leadership level; rather, they correlated more closely with my personal growth and heightened self-awareness.

During the initial years of my managerial journey, I avidly studied different leadership styles and made numerous observations. I continually sought to identify the “right” leadership style for myself, only to find that my perception of “rightness” kept evolving. At times, I even had a leadership identity crisis for a while.

There were so many leadership styles: Autocratic Leadership, Democratic/Participative Leadership, Bureaucratic Leadership, Controlling Leadership, Servant Leadership, Sharing Leadership, Transformational Leadership, Supportive Leadership, Coach-like Leadership, Inspirational Leadership, Directive Leadership, Visionary Leadership, Meaning-Oriented Leadership, Task/Result-Oriented Leadership, Humanist (Human) Oriented Leadership, Transactional Leadership and the list goes on…

It is undeniable that it is easier to explain abstract concepts through certain themes. Therefore, the naming of leadership styles was very logical. On the other hand, I was also experiencing that putting abstract concepts into frameworks restricted transitivity and increased superficiality.

Over time, I gravitated towards the concept of situational leadership, granting myself the flexibility to adapt my leadership style according to the specific context. This realization marked a significant turning point in my leadership journey, as I liberated myself from the notion of a singular “right” leadership style. Only then was I able to become ‘a leader like myself’…

Since that day, I believe that effective and happy leaders are ‘real’ people who can be themselves, who glorify their authenticity and passions, who do not hesitate to share their vulnerabilities, who are sincere and trustworthy.

As remote working becomes more widespread and virtual environments are introduced, the ‘ability to be real’ becomes more important and even starts to act as a litmus paper;

  • Being authentic as a leader enables one to stay present in the moment, fostering behaviors like focus, active listening, and empathy—essential qualities for fostering humanistic and productive leadership.
  • Moreover, shedding ego-driven tendencies and embracing authenticity paves the way for democratic and participatory leadership, rooted in mutual respect and learning.
  • Authenticity also fuels inspirational leadership, as genuine belief in a shared purpose or meaning empowers leaders to unite their teams around a common vision.
  • Additionally, authenticity breeds trustworthiness, as leaders who are unafraid to share their vulnerabilities inspire confidence and foster genuine connections.

In essence, effective and fulfilled leadership hinges on safeguarding one’s authenticity.

The road to get there passes through twists and turns such as getting to know yourself, sharing your vulnerabilities, discovering the meaning you are passionate about and staying in the flow by embracing change. How about delving into these concepts further in our upcoming articles?

Birsen Çevik Akgünlü

Edited: 3 May 2024 ((Turkce orjinal versiyonuna buradan ulasabilirsiniz)

Photo: Karolina Grabowska