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Leadership in the new era of disruption 

Mostafa Sayyadi outlines six styles of the Level Up leadership model, designed to increase and build rapport between leaders and followers


The Level UP Leadership model is a theory based on specifying a leader’s style or trait that best fits the relationship between the follower and the organisational-work environment to meet and exceed the strategic goals of both the organisation and follower.

Level Up Leadership identifies six factors that contribute to follower success and engagement. These are: Professional communication and authentic leadership; decision-making; motivating people; managing people; leading people; and leading change.

The Six Styles of Level Up Leadership are as follows:

  1. The professional development and authentic leadership trait refers to both oral presentations as a leader to persuade followers through inspiration while providing an authentic leadership presence. The model argues that this trait, when used effectively, produces the most positive effect and when used inadequately causes followers to rebel and disconnect, leaving them unsatisfied. The most predominant use of this trait is during times of crisis – but when a leader uses professional communication and authentic leadership by remaining steadfast, calm, and honest about current and future situations – this behaviour tends to alleviate anxiety and win the hearts and minds of followers.
  2. The decision-making leadership trait refers to situations where the leader creates an environment for challenging decision-making responsibility, expecting followers to perform at their highest level while avoiding groupthink. The leader also provides confidence in followers’ ability to make decisions at their level, offering a clear justification of empowerment. This sees organisations with a flat structure in which decisions can be made at lower levels, as opposed to tall structures and centralised decision-making.
  3. The motivational leadership trait involves leaders as assessors of followers, making suggestions for improvement. This style of leadership is predominant when employees are high on the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs (esteem, self-efficacy and self-actualisation). However, followers at the lower levels will still be motivated if the leader can address their needs.
  4. The managing people leadership trait is directed toward the four functions of management by addressing followers’ needs and preferences. The leader shows concern for the amount of control the follower needs, individual leadership ability of a follower, how organised the followers are, and their ability to plan accordingly. This leadership trait is especially needed in situations in which tasks are challenging, ambiguous and antiquated, or the relationship between the leader and followers is psychologically or physically distressing.
  5. The core leadership principles trait refers to situations where the leader lets employees know what is expected of them by determining the tasks they will perform, assessing followers’ levels of readiness and picking the most appropriate leadership style (ie telling, selling, participating, delegating). The theoretical foundation and models attributed to this trait have been developed since 1930 with Kurt Lewin and this leadership application has the most positive effect when followers want to be led but feel the push toward becoming a leader themselves for intrinsic satisfaction.
  6. The leading change leadership trait refers to change agents, visionaries and mission-driven leadership. Leaders let followers fend for themselves when the leader is not available in order to build a transformational leadership presence in an organization. The trait argues that change is a moving target and that circling back to authentic leadership reveals a need for a proactive response to change as it occurs or is created. Recent focus has been on contingency planning and resilience. The most positive effect of this trait is when the followers have buy-in, feel empowered and are acting as agents of change themselves.

These goals are designed to increase and build rapport between leaders and followers – inspire them and increase satisfaction with their careers so that they become engaged and productive. Follower satisfaction is contingent upon the leader’s performance as both a facilitator and inspirer.

Image: Akarasirithada | 123rf

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