shutterstock_217386910Saturday night my wife and I rented and watched the movie Red Army, about the former Soviet Union’s commitment to international ice hockey domination and the migration of Russian hockey players to North America.

The movie took me back to a time when I loved watching those Soviet hockey teams because of their tremendous skill and unique teamwork.

Their coach from 1978-1990 was Viktor Tikhonov, who, in leading the team, epitomized the command and control exerted by the old communist Soviet regime.

Because of that style of coaching, combined with the autocratic, dictatorial governmental oversight, the Red Army team players were very compliant with the structure and rules laid out to them.

Amazingly, even though the Soviet Union and its communist system dissolved in 1991, there are still some small businesses whose leaders create company cultures where employees have learned it is in their best interests to be as compliant as a Soviet Red Army ice hockey player.

“Command and Control” is one of three leadership styles found in small businesses and it is recognizable by employees afraid to take initiative and make decisions on their own and reluctant to solve problems without direction from the boss. It creates a “Compliance Culture.”

The other two small business leadership styles are the “Avoid & Let Go” style and the “Goldilocks’ Just Right” style.

The former, the “Avoid & Let Go” style, is recognized by the small business leader leaving employees to their own devices in a work environment with little structure and accountability. It creates a “Laissez Faire Culture.”

You can probably tell by now that the “Command and Control” and “Avoid & Let Go” small business leadership styles are at the opposite ends of the leadership spectrum.

You may be surprised, though, to learn that despite being on opposite ends of the small business leadership spectrum, each style creates virtually the same type of workplace culture. Each creates a work environment in which employees are reluctant to take initiative, lack creativity, have low morale and motivation, where personality conflicts are common as people go into survival mode, operating from a CYA (Cover Your A#@&!) perspective.

The “Goldilocks’ Just Right” style takes the best of both and is the platinum standard of small business leadership. But, it takes some work to achieve. When developed and delivered properly it creates a “Championship Commitment Culture.”

Goldilocks’ Leaders are rare. Most start out one end of the small business leadership spectrum and have to create new habits of communicating to move to the middle.

What is your tendency, “Command and Control” or “Avoid & Let Go?” How much work would you need, and what do you need to let go of to become a “Goldilocks’ Just Right” leader?