Leadership is the ability for one person to persuade another person to do something. Various leaders have graced the world stage, each one using a distinct leadership style to persuade and lead his people. From Winston Churchill to Napoleon Bonaparte, leadership styles have varied as much as the leaders themselves. It is helpful for future leaders to study past leaders to learn the pros and cons of various leadership styles. John C. Maxwell, a noted expert on leadership, said "A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way."
Charismatic leadership is a leadership style that depends upon the leaders charisma to persuade others. The charismatic leader is someone who is charming, engaging and likable. Charismatic leaders are often politicians, as their charm and likeability are needed to garner votes. The charismatic leader often depends upon his ability to decipher the mood of the crowd or people group he is trying to lead. John F. Kennedy is a historical example of a charismatic leader who used his charm and wit to connect with voters and colleagues.
Participative leadership is a leadership style in which the leader participates with and involves others in the decision-making process. The participative leader is a person who realizes the importance of getting opinions from others. A little-known example of a participative leader is Brian Ashton, the coach of the English World Cup rugby team. According to the UK Times Online, Ashton used a participative leadership style with his team in the rugby World Cup. This leadership style allowed the players to come up with a game plan, with the assistance from Ashton, that allowed them to have a successful World Cup.
Transformational leadership is a leadership style in which the leader leads by his ability to inspire others. A transformational leader is obsessed with achieving a goal or vision for his organization and leads his group with passion and enthusiasm. Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, is an example of a transformational leader due to his leadership style that used energy, helped energize others, created an edge and demanded execution. Welch was passionate about his leadership style, which was easily spread to his colleagues at General Electric.
Servant leadership is a leadership style that seeks to help others become better people by using a non-traditional form of leadership which includes listening to others and helping the community. Unlike a transformational leader who leads by inspiration, a servant leader seeks to lead from the shadows and the background. Servant leaders desire to help people achieve personal growth, helping them become better individuals. A fine example of a servant leader was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King had a strong devotion to community that he displayed on many occasions and sought to truly help people become better versions of themselves.
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