As times change, so do the requirements for strong leadership. In The Strengths and Weaknesses of 4 Distinct Leadership Strategies, recently published by Entrepreneur, I discussed the changes that entrepreneurs should make to adapt to the digital era, and listed the strengths and weaknesses of four relevant leadership strategies so that leaders can discern which style, or combination of styles, best fits their company and their industry.
The primary change in leadership for the digital age is the desire for transparency between leaders, workers and consumers. Leaders must also develop technical, pragmatic and emotional intelligence to understand how best to further adapt and maintain success as their industry changes over time. When combined with effective leadership methods, these changes can ensure growth and success.
Here are some leadership strategies you can utilize to strengthen your business:
A Commander is a leader who defines the company’s goals and directs his workers on how to accomplish them. This works well in industries like machinery or automation, but is not well-received among employees and customers who want a more collaborative process.
A Communicator expresses his values and mission for the company to his employees and customers. The open sharing of goals and plans allows workers to understand exactly what they are trying to accomplish, but does not allow for much innovation.
The Collaborator leader type works directly with employees and customers to innovate and drive intellectual development. The less hierarchical nature of the leadership style gives everyone involved the potential for giving valuable input, rather than just being instructed to perform tasks.
The Co-Creator is similar, allowing stakeholders to focus on individual endeavors that run parallel to the organization’s goals. This often results in rapid scaling, and can increase a company’s stability. Workers are still directed, but are given autonomy in performing their duties.
The strength of each leadership strategy also depends on how well an entrepreneur utilizes it. Entrepreneurs should work to implement multiple leadership strategies, depending on the scenario. Of these strategies, co-creation is the rarest, but research shows that it should have higher implementation. Steve Jobs is an example of a leader who not only utilized multiple leadership strategies effectively, but also greatly impacted his industry as a co-creator by building a developer network, collaborating with others to bring Apple products great success.
While these strategies are all viable, the desire for transparency and the democratizing of digital leadership styles implies that co-creation could become more prevalent: startups like Twitter, Uber, Airbnb, and even a large business like Visa, all encourage widespread participation through co-creation. This is the current trend, but it is important for businesses to continually assess what leadership strategies are most beneficial in a given era of industry. This is what drives innovation and development as the world moves forward.