How to Assess Your Leadership Style

The following assessment gives you a good idea of your strengths as a leader. Knowing your leadership style may help you understand why you lead the way you do, whether changing your style will be easy, and what kind of people you need to hire to compensate for some areas of weakness.

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being never and 5 being always, rate yourself on the following statements:

  1. I like power and control.

  2. I listen to others, but I like to have the final word.

  3. I am not an expert in all areas of my business.

  4. I don’t care what others think; I do what is best for me.

  5. I like shared decision-making.

  6. I prefer control to be with my followers.

  7. I micromanage.

  8. I like to recognize achievement.

  9. Group members should create their own goals.

  10. I do not trust my employees.

  11. I like to encourage collaboration.

  12. I allow group members to solve their own problems.

  13. Employees do only what they’re told.

  14. I want my business to run through teams.

  15. I am not good at following up with employees.

  16. I decide how to fix problems.

  17. I like to help my employees grow and learn.

  18. I give very little input because my employees know their jobs better than I do.

  19. I don’t want to make time for employee input.

  20. I like to hear the opinions of my employees.

  21. Employees have the right to create their own objectives.

  22. I like being in charge.

  23. I want input from my employees.

  24. I like my employees to make decisions on their own.

  25. I tell my employees what to do, when to do it, and how to do it.

  26. I want my employees to fulfill their potential.

  27. I don’t want more authority than others in my organization.

  28. Mistakes are not acceptable.

  29. When things go wrong, I ask for advice from team members.

  30. Power belongs to the entire organization.

Authoritarian leaders

Add up your scores for items 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22, 25, and 28. That sum is your authoritative total.

Authoritarian leaders know exactly what they want done, who is to do it, and when it should be completed. Although these leaders don’t offer much wiggle room, they often get the job done, and they make their expectations obvious. Authoritarian leaders do well in small organizations with untrained employees. Beware of failing to seek feedback or being dictatorial.

Democratic leaders

Add up your scores for items 2, 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 23, 26, and 29. This is your democratic total.

The democratic style encourages employees and stakeholders to participate in decision-making. With an experienced workforce, the democratic style can be a positive and motivational experience for all stakeholders. Because everyone is included in making decisions, the decision makers need to be knowledgeable about the business, the process, the product, and the vision statement. This can require more time to get things done.

Delegative leaders

Add up your scores for items 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, and 30. This is your delgative total.

Trust and confidence are hallmarks of the delegative leadership style, which is sometimes called laissez faire leadership because of its minimal interference in employees’ efforts. Under a delegative leader, employees have free rein to make decisions and get their jobs done. This style works very well with an educated and experienced workforce, especially with those who would like to become leaders themselves. Be careful using this style with employees who are insecure, afraid of making mistakes, or have difficulty communicating with others.

The leadership style with the highest total is the style you use most often. One high score with two low scores indicates a strong preference for that leadership style.

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