A person in the front line of a battlefield is a leader in real sense. Those who consider themselves self-motivated or self-driven towards their goals might not understand the worth of a leader. However, the ones who are combating hard times and longing for the somber ray of hope can realize the need for a leader.
There are two types of leader, either a formal leader or an informal leader. Leader differs from boss in a peculiar way. These two terms look a bit alike but in reality they have different practical meaning.
It was an old school of thought that leaders are inborn. Trends have changed, and so the ways to align the trends. Industries, organizations, firms, and institutes are continually evolving and expanding, making it necessary to empower human resources, including “leaders.”
Types of leader and styles of leader, these two terms are different from each other.
Let’s dive in deep to familiarize ourselves with both types of leader.
Types of Leader
A person is officially designated as a group, team, or organization’s leader in formal leadership. CEO (Chief Executive Officer) is a classic example of a formal leader. Moreover, teachers in school, captain of a sports team, and head of a department. Formal leaders are accountable for making the best use of available resources and keeping them motivated by giving them constant feedback.
An informal leader is not officially appointed as the head of a group. However, the people around him consider him as a figure of inspiration. Informal leaders are an idealized figure for his peers, colleagues, workmates, or friends.
What makes them different?
Formal leaders enjoy certain rights and privileges along with authority (Although this authority is different from the authority of boss), whereas informal leaders are deprived of it. For instance, the CEO has more powers than the casual, informal leader who is an employee. The formal leader has the authority to dismiss, accept, or reject the plans and even punish or reward the subordinates. On the contrary, informal leaders cannot take official actions against their teammates. Therefore, they lead by setting an example of their actions, behavior, and personality.
Formal leaders are given leadership based on their position with the group members. They are assigned to behead as part of their role in the group. Examples of formal leaders would be the teacher in a classroom or the manager within a company etc. The formal leader has a job to organize group members to meet the organization’s goals or team. Formal leaders are maybe the best leaders in a company, but that’s not always the case.
In contrast to the formal leader, the informal leader does not have the official authority to lead the group. Despite this, the group chooses to follow the lead of this person. For example, the class clown may be someone that the students in the class take cues from, even though the teacher is the classroom’s official leader.
The informal leader may arise because he is charismatic. People wants to listen to him because he is easy to talk to or exhibits specific knowledge and ideas that are useful to the group. He may individually choose to take on a leadership role, or this may naturally happen by the mutual discussion of the group. The informal leader can be the best in the group because the group has chosen him or her.
Moreover, there is also some common aspects in both types of leader i.e. self-respect or self-esteem. Both of them share some common qualities necessary to lead their subordinates and those who are inspired by them.
Communication with these two types of leader also differs accordingly. Communication with formal leaders tends to take the form of directives the leader expects employees to follow. Under this leadership style, employees are seldom included in the process that leads up to the decision. After the decision is made and delivered, employees may allow to ask questions and offer opinions, but their input won’t change the decision.
Informal leaders, however, also involve employees in the decision-making process. Employees may offer ideas and give suggestions for solving the problem, though the leader may make the ultimate decision. The sense under informal leadership is that employee’s ideas can affect decision-making.
Advice vs. Approval
Under formal leadership, employees need approval from the leader. With informal leaders, employees often seek advice. The formal leader tends to judge an employee’s ideas and suggestions, which makes communication somewhat intimidating. The informal leader is more likely to mentor employees and therefore, may give some guidance instead of reprimands.
The difference between both types leader goes well beyond the fact that the formal leader has officially chosen to lead the group. We can see this when we look at the teacher and class clown example. After all, the goals of the class clown are in direct competition with the teacher. Formal leaders and informal leaders must find out a way to work together if a group is going to have stable leadership indeed.
Creating a positive balance between both types of leader starts with an understanding of their different roles—formal leaders direct individuals to the company’s goals in the meeting. Informal leaders may or may not do this as they tend to follow their own goals and schedule. In the case of the teacher and class clown, the teacher encourages the group to follow the rules of the school, whereas the class clown encourages the kids to have fun. They are both the best leader in their respective areas.
Whether we are talking about a formal leader or an informal leader, both types of leader hold a unique significance. Both leaders are equally important in running the organization’s errands, motivating the employees, and achieving the organization’s goals. Interestingly, the informal leaders play a humane role within an organization so that the firm stays united. They are an integral part of the firm because activities are impossible to happen with inhumane behavior.