Today’s leaders are utilizing contemporary leadership styles. The officer needs to know when to use each of these styles for optimum outcomes within the organization. The four (4) contemporary styles include charismatic, transformational, transactional and symbolic.
Charismatic – Inspires follower loyalty and creates an enthusiastic vision that others work to attain.
Transformational – This style depends on the continuous learning, innovation and change within the organization. True transformational leadership is a rare quality.
Transactional – Involves an exchange between the leader and the followers in which the followers perform tasks effectively in exchange for rewards provided by the leader.
Symbolic – Bases theory on a strong organizational culture that holds common values and beliefs. Leadership starts are the top of the organization and extends downward. Subordinates must have full faith and trust in the leadership of the organization.
To be able to lead a fire department or a company it is paramount that the leader of the group be able to match and effectively utilize any of the various leadership styles based upon the individuals they are leading.
This focuses on truly understanding the organizational theories, interpersonal dynamics and group dynamics of the individuals and groups which make up the organization. We will find that more often than not the leader will be utilizing multiple leadership styles on individuals of the group simultaneously to effectively achieve the desired outcomes. Each of these leadership styles will be a result of the presence of the various leadership traits. It is important for the officer to know the strengths and weaknesses of each theory and style along with being capable of applying the principles that are most appropriate in any given situation.