Leadership Models For Human Resources: How To Be A Better Leader For Your Employees

Posted by Noel • July 25, 2022 (Last modified May 17, 2023) • 7 min read

The popularity of specific leadership models ebbs and flows like many other trends in people leadership. Still, one truth remains: every organization has leaders that fit into these categories, for better or worse. High-quality leaders take the time to understand their leadership styles and model better leadership for their peers. How you carry yourself, treat your employees, other managers, and leaders, and your character all contribute to a company’s success and define your leadership style.

Good leaders will study the different types of leadership and make a conscious choice to work towards that style. While no leader is perfect, we must all strive to become better people leaders for the sake of our organizations, selves, and people. 

Many leadership models will center around some of the same characteristics and tactics, but they will approach them in slightly different ways that make a big difference. Positivity, honesty, communication, creativity, and friendliness are all part of leadership.

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Leadership Models for HR

Leadership models aren’t specifically designed with human resources in mind, but there are ways to adjust your behavior and processes to fit within one of these styles. Often, leadership models will start in the C-Suite or in Human Resources and then trickle down to the rest of the company.

Transformational Leadership Model

To be a transformational leader, the most important thing to focus on is success and forward motion through support, inspiration, and steady progress. One of the essential elements of the transformational leadership model is that the organization, workforce, or even just the department gets transformed into something new – hopefully something designed to meet goals.

Managers are often demanding and require their employees to meet specific standards, but transformational leaders are slightly different. They think beyond their self-interests and focus on what will truly change the company. This is considered one of the most positive leadership models for human resources. However, low-performing employees often have trouble with this kind of leadership because they are called to be responsible for their success, results, and progress.

Transformational leaders tend to have the following characteristics:

  • Motivational
  • Positive
  • Focused on Success
  • Demanding
  • Inspirational

It’s important to note that some employees will respond well to this leadership and coaching, whereas others will not. Investing in a sound performance review system is a huge help to these leaders to increase accountability, set up PIPs, and determine SMART goals.

Charismatic Leadership Model

The charismatic leadership model for HR is one of the most effective leadership styles, but it doesn’t work for every organization. It is a leadership style that focuses on employee engagement, happiness, and enthusiasm within your teams. There is a focus on attitude, perspective, and values above working requirements and outcomes. That isn’t to say there isn’t a focus on results either.

A charismatic leader believes that positivity, communication, and teamwork are more likely to lead to success than working siloed and reaching success in that way. This doesn’t work for every organization and requires a lot of work to transform into this leadership model. Some old-fashioned leaders may not believe in this model, and changing their minds can be very difficult.

Charismatic leaders tend to have the following characteristics:

  • Focusing on values
  • Responsive to their employees
  • Engaging
  • Unifying
  • Excellent at communicating

Charismatic leaders like to know the pulse of their employees. Running engagement surveys is an excellent example of something they’d do to increase employee engagement.

Ethical Leadership Model

Ethical leadership is another model used in organizations of all sizes. This is a leadership model where human resources leads the way. The focus is on a manager being consistent, honest, and empathetic to all team and organization members, even during times of stress. Leaders need to be fair to their employees and even-keeled, even with employees they like more or less.

Ethical leaders are some of the best in making hard decisions because data, stats, and logic rule them. They don’t pick favorites, nor do they make excuses. Still, they are incredibly fair and understanding.

Consistency is one of the essential features of this leader. They are consistent in their performance but also their expectations. 

Ethical leaders tend to have the following characteristics:

  • Honesty
  • Morality
  • Truth
  • Fairness
  • Trustworthy
  • Predictable

Ethical leaders are predictable, and their employees know what to expect, which is great for those employees who are more anxious about their work.

Laissez-Faire Leadership Model

Laissez-faire models of leadership have some huge fans and big detractors. Those who support this leadership style love it because employees are self-sufficient and do their jobs alone. They need very little supervision, and when they do, they work diligently to get back to a place where they can work independently. This benefits employees who are skilled, experienced, and thoughtful about their actions.

On the other hand, not having as much supervision can result in an uncontrolled workforce. Particularly for remote workers, this can lead to underperforming employees that cannot be motivated. It’s hard to bring these employees back from this leadership style when they are used to it. 

Laissez-faire leaders tend to have the following characteristics:

  • Independent Teams
  • Hands Off
  • Freedom for Workers
  • Easy Going

This type of leadership is very difficult to cultivate, but it’s even hard to come back from doing it once you’ve started it. For independent individuals and teams with history, it’s a bit easier.

Bureaucratic Leadership Model

Bureaucratic leaders are extremely successful in specific industries. These types of managers and HR leaders establish rules and standards for how their employees work. Teams know to follow specific steps, programs, and formulas, or else they will be reprimanded. Often, these leaders work in construction, healthcare, manufacturing, and other industries where safety is a primary concern. 

The problem with bureaucratic leadership is that it stifles creativity and innovation in workers. This can lead to rifts in the workforce, particularly when someone new comes in and tries to be innovative.

Laissez-faire leaders tend to have the following characteristics:

  • Controlling
  • Unmovable
  • Safety-Conscious
  • By the Book

For some industries, leading in any other way could cause catastrophic injuries. 

Democratic Leadership Model

Democratic leadership is a more passive leadership style than some others on the list. It takes each employee’s strengths and encourages them to work effectively together or independently, depending on the project or task. This leadership model involves employees in decision-making and focuses on team-based goal setting, planning, and success.

Team-based companies have employees that are often more motivated to work because they know they are directly leading to success. Even though this leadership style can lead to slower progress and improvements in some ways, it is a pathway toward continued success. Democratic leadership values tenure, skills, education, training, creativity, and innovation. The problem HR leaders face when using the democratic leadership style is balancing teams with a little bit of everything.

Democratic leaders tend to have the following characteristics:

  • Motivating
  • Compromising
  • Collaborative
  • Transformational
  • Inclusive
  • Self Governing

Many companies thrive with democratic leadership models, but they need to have the right workforce in place for it.

Autocratic Leadership Model

Another leadership model is the autocratic leadership model for HR. This one is very different and often leads to a toxic culture, but there are certain situations where it can work. A leader who follows the autocratic leadership model does not allow team members to make suggestions and decisions about upcoming work. Instead, they are the ones who make all of the choices.

Autocratic leaders struggle with delegation and communication but, at times can be brilliant. Often, companies that have leaders with an autocratic style will experience a lot of employee churn.

Autocratic leaders tend to have the following characteristics:

  • Controlling
  • Authoritative
  • Domineering
  • Straightforward

This leadership style isn’t recommended for most companies because it can create a volatile workplace, which most of us want to avoid.

Schedule A Demo Of The Trakstar Platform

Your leadership style depends on many things, including your organizational culture, industry, number of employees, types of employees, and so much more. Finding the right leadership model can be difficult, and you might have to try a few different ones to see what sticks. When one does stick, you will reap the benefits.

Don’t have time to focus on things like organizational leadership styles? HR leaders are constantly tasked with many things, but Trakstar can help! We streamline the talent development process so that you can focus on bigger picture items. To schedule a demo, click here.

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