Being a Franchisor: Determining the Most Effective Leadership Style for Your Business

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Being a franchisor and running a franchise network is no easy task and, to do the job successfully, you’ll need to develop an effective leadership style. Keep reading to learn more about the most common strategies for running your own business. 


Ever considered the various leadership styles? It’s not something we’ve all pondered, but your approach to managing your franchisees and employees can have a huge impact on your business’s success.

Here, we’re outlining some of the common leadership styles to help you identify the most effective ones for your business. To find your ideal approach, consider the type of franchise you run and your ambitions for its future. Then, you should be able to work out which strategies will help you reach your goals. 

The 10 types of leadership styles 

1. Bureaucratic

Bureaucratic leaders like to do things by the book and are often unwilling to bend the rules for new or untested proposals. Although this approach can reduce risk, as you’ll be sticking to proven strategies, it can also limit innovation and creative thinking. 

Over time, your franchisees and employees may become frustrated and you may become dissatisfied if you fail to move your business forward and keep up with the competition. Usually, established bosses within old companies exercise bureaucratic leadership styles, and swapping rigidity for a more dynamic and opportunistic approach can help you set new precedents. 

2. Autocratic 

This leadership style is another authoritarian approach to business. Bosses using autocratic  strategies can appear to display dictatorial behaviours, commanding franchisees and employees to follow their rules while rarely asking for their input. 

Although the autocratic mode is necessary when you need to make quick decisions, workers may feel overlooked and irritable if you use this style in the long term. 

3. Democratic

Democratic leaders take their workers’ opinions into account. They gather outside perspectives and weigh up the most appropriate course of action. Along the way, they maintain an open dialogue with business partners and employees, and provide the information they need to understand how the company can progress. 

A leader taking a democratic approach can help employees gain new skills and boost their confidence, which will equip them for more senior positions. 



4. Supervising

Some managers have a tendency to keep a close eye on their workers, which can lead to employees feeling claustrophobic. While this approach can be reassuring for franchisors, no one likes to think their boss is always breathing down the back of their neck. 

Although they may not realise it, franchisors who excessively supervise their teams could be inadvertently telling workers they don’t trust them to do their job well. 

5. Guiding 

One of the best franchisor leadership styles is an approach championing learning. As a guiding figure, franchise bosses can set an example for franchisees and nurture their skills and development. Business owners who see the potential in their workers and find ways to maximise their value can increase the efficiency of the company and the job satisfaction of employees.

6. Goal-oriented 

If you focus on your long-term targets in order to plan out your short-term steps, you’re a goal-oriented boss. Rather than getting distracted by passing trends or competitor achievements, these types of leaders concentrate on the bigger picture and find ways to reach their ultimate objectives.  



7. Adaptive 

Rather than sticking to long-established plans, adaptive leaders prefer to change direction when they come across fresh ideas or new research findings. With a dynamic management strategy, they think on their feet and aren’t afraid to take risks when they spot a chance to reach higher levels of productivity or employee satisfaction. 

Adaptive franchisor leadership involves planning as you go in order to take advantage of opportunities as they crop up. 

8. Rewards-based

While bureaucratic and autocratic leaders dictate their workers’ responsibilities, rewards-based bosses encourage franchisees and employees to be productive by providing attractive benefits for completed jobs. 

This mode of leadership helps to establish a happy and healthy workforce, as people feel recognised and rewarded for their hard work. Plus, it gives them an incentive to work harder and more efficiently. 

9. Empathetic 

Empathetic bosses truly care about the wellbeing of their business partners and employees. They check in with workers individually on a regular basis to identify issues or potential complications within the team and gain additional ideas. 

This franchisor leadership style is highly effective, as it can help you iron out any kinks in the system before problems spiral out of control and damage the brand’s reputation. As part of this approach to business management, you might also organise engaging franchise events with an opportunity for networking to allow franchisees to make contacts and share insights. 

10. Remote 

Some business owners trust their workers to get on with their jobs themselves. Leaders with a ‘remote’ approach to management are slightly detached, giving franchisees and employees the freedom and flexibility to complete their work in the way they see fit. They’re also prepared to ‘go with the flow’, taking input and ideas from their teams rather than laying down the law. 

If you have a ‘remote’ leadership style, you can build a workforce of happy people who don’t feel their boss is always looking over their shoulder. But it’s also important to keep everyone connected and productive by organising regular networking events and feedback sessions. 

Finding the best leadership style for your business

While our run-down of leadership styles provides a handy insight into the various approaches you can take as a business owner, they may over-simplify things in the real world. The best strategy is to use a combination of the different modes, with a greater focus on one or two in particular. 

For example, it’s a good idea to keep long-term goals in mind but adapt to take advantage of new possibilities along the way. You should also aim to know when to play by the rules and when to make decisions on behalf of your team. 

Ultimately, being an empathetic franchisor, rewarding hard work and identifying opportunities for professional development is always a sensible approach. The trick is to determine the optimum moment to utilise each type of leadership. 

For more guidance on running a franchise network, see our selection of daily business guides or use the search box to find your answers. 

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