What is Your Leadership Style?


When you think of your leadership style, what comes to mind? Through the day-to-day tasks of managing various departments, collaborating with co-workers, ensuring customers have an excellent showroom experience and keeping an eye on inventory it can be challenging to find the time to sit back and assess who you are as a leader.

Many times, we feel that leadership comes with a managerial title. However, this is not always the case. As Kirk Manzo, an automotive industry leader and expert succinctly put it, “leadership is influence.” If you want happy and productive workers, satisfied customers, and better sales, you have to start with assessing your leadership style. Below are five common leadership styles. See which one closely matches your own. Once you know, you can improve upon or tweak it to suit the needs of your dealership.

Transformational Leadership

While having an influence is a significant component of most leadership styles, the concept looms the largest with transformational leadership. Transformational leaders are known to influence others by being an example. They put themselves on the line to show workers they are also willing to work in the trenches.

Those who subscribe to this leadership style are more likely to use inspiration to motivate workers while promoting creativity and worker autonomy. This leadership style has become a highly desired one. However, it is worth noting that transformational leaders can be seen as too “big picture,” and can forget about the mundane day-to-day tasks that need to be done.

Transactional Leadership

Those who subscribe to this style employ the belief of “giving to get.” Transactional leaders do not use inspiration to motivate employees. Instead, they use a system that is based on punishment and rewards. The office environment is likely structured, and leaders are identified based on titles instead of influence or the ability to inspire or motivate others.

Transactional leaders are known to go “by the book,” and are not open to drastic changes or deviations. They are efficient, structured, and promote the idea of acting in one’s self-interest. Because of their use of rewards, transactional leaders are helpful in short-term projects, but workers can become unsatisfied with a lack of creativity and innovation in the long-term.

Democratic Leadership

Much like its name suggests, democratic leaders facilitate the participation and input of others. While these individuals have the final say, they seek the opinions of those around them before making decisions. Creativity is not only encouraged, but rewarded. Individuals who identify with this leadership style welcome dissenting opinions and enjoy hearing a diversity of ideas.

In turn, workers in this environment are more likely to have higher levels of productivity and increased morale. Like transformational leadership, this style is a popular one among workers. A downside of this style is the amount of time it can take for a final decision to be made since many individuals could be involved with the decision-making process.

Charismatic Leadership

There is a noticeable overlap between charismatic and transformational leadership. Both styles are known for positive communication, likable personalities, and the use of inspiration and encouragement to spur motivation. However, unlike transformational leaders, the success of a charismatic leader rests on how well they can communicate and persuade employees.

They are more likely to use emotion and captivating language to push employees to do something. They are visionaries, highly skilled within their industry, and can pick apart processes to encourage higher efficiency. They will likely get workers on board with new strategies and changes within a company, but success will rest on their presence. If a charismatic worker were to leave, much of the progress they made would disappear since workers were following the person instead of the vision.

Laissez-Faire Leadership

Out of all recognized leadership styles, this one is seen as the most “hands-off.” Much like the economic meaning of laissez-faire, the core concepts are that individuals are seen as free agents and the office environment will self-regulate itself. These leaders may have managerial titles, but they may not have the time or ability to utilize their influence.

They are known to provide advice, resources, and any other help that they can, but the decision-making is left up to the employees. This concept may seem like an uncommon style, but a loosely defined structure and a busy season can quickly bring about this type of scenario. While this can work with highly skilled employees, processes will likely suffer without a defined leader.

Final Thoughts

These styles are just the tip of the iceberg. Numerous other leadership concepts are a blend of the ones mentioned above. You may identify with one of these or all. However, it is important to realize that each has its pros and cons and knowing about them can help make you an even better leader. Dealerships require strong, creative, and innovative leadership. Understanding how you lead is the first step to optimizing your influence.

Sources: TEC, Cleverism, Digital Dealer, Cleverism, Teamwork Definition, VeryWellMind, St. Thomas University