Mid-Year Intake. Late applications for mid-year intake close 15 August 2022. Apply now.

How does leadership styles impact the performance of an organisation?

Managers and other business leaders may not always realise and recognise it, but they are the ones who drive employee performance in an organisation. Part of the job description is driving team success, ensuring a positive work environment, being able to answer employee questions, and solve their problems. Many managers are able to do this, but when a crisis appears or they are put under pressure, the performance of the organisation may suffer if their leadership style does not suit the situation.

What are the different types of leadership styles?

  • Autocratic leadership: This type of leadership style creates a clear boundary between the manager or business leader and the employees. The person in power makes all the decisions and the employees are meant to agree with the decision and follow the instructions given.
  • Democratic leadership: This type of leadership style sees the manager or business leader consult the employees or specific team members for input or feedback. Although decisions take longer to form, they are made after careful consideration aiming to make the best decision.
  • Participative leadership: This type of leadership style operates when the manager or business leader allows specific team members to make most of the decisions. The manager or business leader is still present and provides guidance, but the employees make decisions based on their capabilities and skills.

    Participative leadership
    Many managers or business leaders tend to blend certain leadership styles depending on the specific situation. If the situation is extremely stressful or important, the manager may choose to use the autocratic leadership style. If the situation is less stressful and can be discussed to be developed, they might use the democratic leadership style.

Which leadership style generates optimal performance?

No leadership style is perfect or generates optimal performance at all times. Specific situations require the manager to assess the situation, locate the goals, and determine which leadership style/styles are necessary.

The autocratic leadership style is best for improving short-term performance. It was also found that when new employees are involved, or when new teams are created, an authoritarian leadership style is best seeing that the employees still need to find their feet. Managers will then be able to give clear instructions which will likely be welcomed by the employee.

Which leadership style generates optimal performance?

Leadership best practices may offer better results than leadership styles

Although specific leadership styles work for specific situations, it has been found that certain leadership best practices provide high rates of employee and organisation performance. The VAE model has been created to outline a three-step process to achieve this. VAE stands for:

  • Creating a Vision
  • Building Alignment around the vision
  • Championing Execution

‘Creating vision’ means determining the goal or place the organisation or team needs to reach. Although this is the manager’s job, many choose to consult the team seeing that the team will be the ones achieving the vision.

‘Building alignment around the vision’ is achieved when the manager gains buy-in from their organisation and/or team. Managers must consistently communicate and motivate their team as to what the vision is and why it is important to reach.

‘Championing execution’ happens when the manager ensures that the vision materialises. Managers need to ensure that the plan is being executed and that processes are fixed or tweaked if they are not providing the desired results. Managers also need to celebrate their team and offer praise when specific milestones are reached, to boost morale and maintain engagement.

Good leadership in the post-pandemic world

Leadership Image - IMM Blog

According to Forbes, the true value of a high-performing team and the effectiveness of its leader become all the more visible during major disruptions such as the COVID-19 pandemic. A team’s resilience is characterised by its ability to pivot, rebound and continually innovate its way out of an impossible situation. In reference to a leadership style, the acronym ‘A.G.I.L.E.’, Forbes states, produces an “approachable, grounded, innovative, leveraging and empathic” leader. These are arguably non-negotiable characteristics that leaders today need to demonstrate if their teams are to survive the impacts of COVID-19.

Let’s break it down.

Team Image - IMM Blog




Approachable aka ‘is friendly and easy to talk to’

Good leaders appreciate that great ideas can come from anyone. It is therefore important for you to operate with an approachable attitude during times of disruption and uncertainty. Team members need to feel that they can come to you with ideas or concerns.






Team Work - IMM Blog



Grounded aka ‘is honest, well balanced and sensible’

It is crucial for leaders to lead transparently by being honest so that the team can get a more complete view of any disruptions that the organisation may be facing. Honesty, along with sensible and unemotional responses help a team to better react to and solve the challenges of any particular situation – confidence is gained through clarity.






Innovative Team - IMM Blog Image




Innovative aka ‘is advanced and original’

Facilitate growth by encouraging creativity and originality – this builds healthy team morale. Innovation is necessary for an organisation to remain relevant and to thrive in a competitive business environment. As a leader you should create an environment that stimulates and rewards creative thinking.




Leverager aka ‘can get more done with less’

As the pandemic has pressured so many businesses to tighten budgets, leaders must maximise resources, and this often involves leveraging the talents already present within the team. Together your team needs to embrace new ways of using technology and other unconventional work styles in order to do more with less. Incentivise team members to rise to the challenge and you may uncover existing talents that you never knew they had. You may even find that team members volunteer for certain roles outside their current work scope.


Empathetic aka ‘an ability to understand and share the feelings of another’

Whether pre, during or post-COVID, a strong leader always displays empathy and prioritises the wellbeing of their team members. This is a good time for you to prove to your employees that you value them as people and that you understand the challenges their jobs and personal lives present. Showing empathy usually results in loyalty and a higher level of performance.

Good Leader - IMM blog Image

But is that all that it takes to be a good leader?Unhappy Employees Signs

Contrary, the Renoir Group suggests that there is no “best” leadership style and that leadership requires flexibility and the willingness to evolve. Taking into account the uncertainty created by COVID-19 and the complete change it has brought about within the workforce, it is imperative that leadership strategies also change to meet the needs of current times. Good leadership is proactive leadership. Proactive leadership is flexible leadership. Flexibility in turn produces multiple ways to optimise your labour force. As a leader you need to be able to inspire, to explore all avenues available and provide a sense of security for those you are leading. Reigning in the troops by being a source of stability during a pandemic is especially key to the success and sustainability of a company’s success.

Further, low morale as a result of pandemic-anxiety, personal matters or general unhappiness within a company is not something a good leader should accept. Companies don’t take care of employees, the leaders inside that company do.


This is what good leadership looks like in a post-pandemic world

Navigating the world in itself during such uncertain times has seen many families and individuals hopeless and helpless. Snap lockdowns, impending new waves of COVID-19 infection cases, a fluctuating economy leading to job insecurity and higher daily expenses, the day-to-day difficulties of living, working from home, surviving with or without familial support, current personal struggles and possibly the loss of a loved one, all contribute to the functionality of an individual, which in turn, affects an entire team.

The Harvard Business Review suggests that poor leadership has a direct impact on employee mental health and might be triggering occupational anxiety disorders. For most, The KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) released a report that suggests the feeling of impending doom and uncertainty due to COVID-19 has seen an increase in anxiety disorders and depressive episodes amongst people across the

age and labour spectrum and thus affects the greater workforce altogether. People desperately need to feel mentally, emotionally and physically safe in their work environment.

Without the security of an empathetic, supportive leader, workers tend to be less productive. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that humanity must prevail to preserve our sanity: Humanity cannot be absent in the workforce, or it will lose the enthusiasm, loyalty and productivity of the worker.

Retaining talent does not only depend on an increase in cheques or benefits, but it also depends highly on the way people feel in their places of work.

In fact, according to Guthrie Jensen, a leading consultancy group, the happier and more grounded employee is 12% more productive, whereas an unhappy, demotivated and discouraged employee is 10% less productive, lacks creativity, determination and generally loses the vigour to succeed. The illustration below shows ways in which employees will show a lack of zest.



In order for leaders in any industry to succeed in a post-pandemic world, they must employ a new sense of humaneness unlike before. Prioritising employees is central to productivity and creativity. Good leaders in a post-pandemic world can leverage their organisations to become industry leaders as world economies and industries begin to open up. The key to success at this time is your employees.

Micromanagement makes the BEST PEOPLE Quit!

Micromanagement makes the BEST PEOPLE Quit!

Trust is the foundation of any successful relationship, whether professionally or personally and when it’s broken, it is extremely hard to repair. I had a supervisor if I was over one minute on my lunch time, she would send an email to remind me of my lunch hours, even though most of the time I never took my full lunch hour. I couldn’t even send an email without her approving it first. She was so inflexible that it was overbearing. I couldn’t trust her. When employees feel they can’t trust their boss, they feel unsafe, like no one has their back, and then spend more energy on survival than performing at their job.

The corporate world is littered with such micromanagers. Sadly many organizations prefer these managers because they seem to be on top of, and in control of everything. In the short term, they may produce results but in the long run they leave a trail of destruction in their path.

“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” ― Steve Jobs

5 Damaging Effects of Micromanagement

  1. Decreased Productivity – When a manager is constantly looking over their employees’ shoulders, it can lead to a lot of second-guessing and paranoia, and ultimately leads to dependent employees. Additionally, such managers spends a lot of time giving input and tweaking employee workflows, which can drastically slow down employee response time.
  2. Reduced Innovation – When employees feel like their ideas are invalid or live in constant fear of criticism, it’s eventually going to take a toll on creativity. In cultures where risk-taking is punished, employees will not dare to take the initiative. Why think outside the box when your manager is only going to shoot down your ideas and tell you to do it their way?
  3. Lower Morale – Employees want the feeling of autonomy. If employees cannot make decisions at all without their managers input, they will feel suffocated. Employees that are constantly made to feel they can’t do anything right may try harder for a while, but will eventually stop trying at all. The effects of this will be evident in falling employee engagement levels.
  4. High Staff Turnover – Most people don’t take well to being micromanaged. When talented employees are micromanaged, they often do one thing; quit. No one likes to come to work every day and feel they are walking into a penitentiary with their every movement being monitored. “Please Micromanage Me” Said No Employee ever. I have never seen a happy staff under micromanagement.
  5. Loss of Trust – Micromanagement will eventually lead to a massive breakdown of trust. It demotivates and demoralizes employees. Your staff will no longer see you as a manager, but an oppressor whose only job is to make their working experience miserable.

Micromanagement is a complete waste of everybody’s time. It sucks the life out of employees, fosters anxiety and creates a high stress work environment.

A manager’s job is to provide guidance and support. It’s facilitating a healthy environment where employees can perform at their best. Always be quick to recognize, appreciate and reward employees efforts. Micromanagement breeds resentment and disloyalty. If you hired someone, it means you believe they are capable of doing the job, then trust them to get it done. A high level of trust between managers and employees defines the best workplaces and drives overall company performance.

Micromanaging is the opposite of empowerment and it creates toxic work environments. It chokes the growth of the employee and the organization and fosters mediocrity. When you empower employees, you promote vested interest in the company. Empowered employees are more confident, more willing to go the extra mile for employers, and more willing do whatever it takes to care for customers. The best ideas and advancements are a result of empowering your team.

All in all, keeping great talent really can mean the difference between a business succeeding or failing. In this volatile global marketplace, happy loyal employees are your biggest competitive advantage. If you want performance at scale: Select the right people, provide them with the proper training, tools and support, and then give them room to get the job done!

Article as published on Linkedin, July 5, 2018. Brigette Hyacinth

Linkedin. (2020) “Micromanagement makes the best people quit” https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/micromanagement-make-best-people-quit-brigette-hyacinth [accessed 29 January 2020]

The making of a leader – do you have what it takes?

The making of a leader – do you have what it takes?

Leadership means different things to different people and is impacted by both the application (organisational, political, military etc.) and the execution (the personality of the leader). Regardless, the role always involves making logical and sometimes difficult decisions.

The Business Dictionary defines a leader as “a person that holds a dominant or superior position within their field and is able to exercise a high degree of control or influence over others”. While this may be the official definition, there is so much more to a leadership role such as motivating followers and helping them to move forward. Some argue that leadership is not an act, but rather a process. A good leader set goals and equips their followers with the knowledge and skills needed to meet these goals.

Types of leadership styles

Every leader needs to develop a leadership style of their own. There are many different leadership styles that have been identified and studied over the years. We have summarised the three most common leaderships styles below:

Autocratic leadership

The leader is the only one in charge and prefers to make decisions on their own without the influence of others. Once a decision has been made and communicated to subordinates, the autocratic leader expects the task to be completed within the required time frame.

Democratic leadership

Democratic leaders encourage subordinates to share their ideas and take part in the decision-making process. Unlike the autocratic leadership style, a democratic leader encourages their subordinates to contribute. Democratic leadership is one of the most preferred leadership styles.

Transformational leadership

Unlike other leadership styles, this leadership style encourages change and improvement in organisations and groups. The transformational leader encourages followers to exceed expectations and achieve more than was originally intended. These leaders tend to have more committed and more satisfied followers

The five qualities of a great leader

Often, when an individual doesn’t display stereotypical leadership qualities, like being outspoken, they are not regarded as a potential leader. The truth is that all leaders are different. No one is born with leadership qualities. Rather it is a skill that can be learnt.

Here are five leadership qualities that we can all work on refining in order to become better leaders:

  • Confidence: True leaders are confident and can think beyond the boundaries of their current situation.
  • Focus: A good leader is organised and can stay focused on the task at hand.
  • Positivity: A good leader has the ability to transfer their positivity to their followers and in so doing, energise them.
  • Decisiveness: A good leader is capable of making difficult decisions in order to make it through a tough situation.
  • Honesty: A good leader is honest. This gains them trust and respect from their followers.

Becoming a leader

Do you have the qualities of a great leader? Why not develop your leadership skills by enrolling for our online short course on “Developing your leadership style”? This course explores leadership for 21st Century organisations and how adaptive leadership is increasingly changing the structure of leadership in our current climate. By completing this course, you will gain the knowledge and key practical skills to develop your own effective leadership style in your given context.

Need more information? Visit the IMM Graduate School short course website, call us on 0861 466 476 or submit an enquiry to find out more.