Consultative leadership is another of the leadership traits under the Bass and Collegues’ Five Styles of leadership. Consultative leadership is also task oriented. It focuses on the end result almost as much as the directive leadership style.
However, the consultative leader also does something over and above the directive leader, which is to ask his subordinates for opinions. While he ultimately has the authority to make the final decision, he is willing to listen to the viewpoints of his team.
This is likely because the consultative leader is in a position where he does not know the whole situation and he requires the views and opinions of the team on the ground that he may be able to make an informed decision. This could happen in either a huge corporation in a specialized industry where the experts are the engineers and scientists working in the frontlines.
Another reason a leader can choose the consultative leadership style is because he is humble enough to listen and consider all views before coming to a final decision. Despite having the complete authority to make a final decision, he chooses to listen to the team because he knows that he does not know everything.
As a result, the quality of decisions he makes will often be far better than if he would have made them himself.
To be an effective consultative leader, you must create a culture of speaking up in your team. If your strongest leadership traits is directive, then the change would not be immediate.
Imagine an authoritative army general suddenly asking his sergeants about how to fight a war. His sergeants will keep quiet for a long time before they decide its actually safe to speak up! The reason is because they’re afraid of being criticized and or looking stupid in front of their bosses. Because of that fear, the more comfortable approach is to simply keep silent and agree.
While this seems to make work easier, the leader loses out on precious advice or information that he would have otherwise gotten would he have made his team speak up.
You can learn about more tips on how to cause your team to speak up in this leadership article.
Creating that culture of speaking up should be that first step of changing your personal leadership traits. The second step is to learn effective facilitation skills.
In his book The Ultimate Sales Machine, Chet Holmes gives a great advice on how to executive effective meetings through good facilitation skills. The results of the meeting are essential to improving systems and processes in the company and also good for making informed decisions.
Good facilitation saves you a lot of time and helps you achieve the best results through the collective and collaborative thinking of the group.
The leadership styles proposed below reflect different levels of task and people orientation.
» Directive leadership style
The directive leader tells his followers what to do, and how to do it exactly. He specifics standards required of his followers and exercise firm authority over them.
» Consultative leadership style
The consultative leader seeks the counsel of the whole team before making a decision on what the team should do. He is also task oriented, but he seeks the opinion of his followers as well.
» Participative leadership style
The participative leader puts himself as a member of the team and discusses possible decisions with the team. He seeks consensus before coming to a decision and everyone is supposed to take ownership in the final decision.
» Negotiative leadership style
The negotiative leader employs a more political approach to leadership. He has a personal interest in his decisions and he uses incentives to entice his followers to do certain things.
» Delegative leadership style
He takes back seat toward decision making, and allows his team to take their own course of action. He only sits down together with the team to discuss possible decisions that could be adopted.
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