Different Leadership Styles

Different Leadership Styles

The concept of leadership has been in existence from time memorial; individuals have always had people leading and guiding them in different capacities. Be it at work, school, home, or religious setting, there is always someone tasked with the responsibility of leading people. Leadership means different things to different people; to some, a leader is a father figure. Others view leaders as people who give instructions and commands. Whichever way you view leadership, know that leaders are expected to ensure that followers get things right. However, leadership isn’t as easy as it seems; it requires tact, skill, expertise, and experience.

Imagine a hypothetical situation where there isn’t any form of leadership in a country of 20 million people with vast human and material resources. That means there is no prime minister, no president, no manager, and no school head to mention but a few. Can you phantom the chaos that will ensure? How will the populace manage such resources? Who will tell them what to do? Would they be able to live in peace and harmony with each other? These questions and more emphasize the importance of leadership and leadership styles.

Although leadership has the same ultimate goal(s), different leaders adopt and employ different styles to attain the goal(s). While some prefer to take the transformational approach, others may choose to be more open-minded. Regardless of the approach used, getting results is all that matters. Moreover, no two people are the same; there will always be individual differences among human beings. Additionally, what works for me might not necessarily work for another person. Also, having various options and styles for leadership is a good thing; it will come in handy whenever you want to analyze the leadership process as a whole. Therefore, this article will focus on the meaning of leadership styles and describe the different leadership styles available.


Meaning of leadership style

A leadership style is a leader’s method of providing direction, implementing plans, and motivating people. In other words, a leadership style refers to a leader’s characteristic behaviors when directing, motivating, guiding, and managing groups of people. Great leaders can inspire political movements and social change. Their style of leadership also motivates others to perform, create, innovate, and inspire. Some factors that aid most professionals to develop their leadership style are experience, personality, the unique needs of their organization, and the organizational culture.


Why Is It Important to Develop a Leadership Style?

The following are the importance of developing a leadership style;

  • Developing a leadership style allows the leaders to know their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Leadership styles enable leaders to communicate better with staff and people around them.
  • For each leadership style, there are ideal work environments. Having a grip of this information will allow you to select work environments where your style would be an asset.
  • When challenges arise in the workplace, you can contribute best to the solution by understanding your leadership style. In other words, the leadership style will enable you to address a problem differently than others.


Types of Leadership Styles

Below are the most common types of leadership styles

  • Autocratic leadership style
  • Laissez-faire leadership style
  • Democratic leadership style
  • Transformational leadership style
  • Transactional leadership style
  • Servant leadership style
  • Bureaucratic leadership style
  • Coaching leadership style

Autocratic leadership style

The autocratic leadership style depicts the distinction and difference between a leader and a follower; the autocrat ensures that only a distinct professional relationship exists between them and their followers. In addition, such leaders regard direct supervision as fundamental in maintaining a successful environment and followership. Relatively, the autocratic leadership style follows the vision of those that are in control and may not necessarily be compatible with those that are being led. This leadership style focus on efficiency and output. Also, this style of leadership is called the authoritarian style of leadership.

The benefits of the autocratic leadership style include promoting productivity through delegation, providing clear and direct communication, and reducing workers’ stress by making decisions quickly on their own. In contrast, the challenges faced by this leadership style are high levels of stress because such leaders feel responsible for everything. Similarly, autocrats do not have the adulation of their team because they are not flexible and often do not listen to others’ opinions.

Laissez-faire leadership style

A Laissez-faire leadership style allows team members or followers to have complete freedom to make decisions concerning the completion of their work. It allows team members to self-rule; while at the same time offering guidance and support when requested. Additionally, since leaders that adopt this style don’t spend time supervising employees, they tend to dedicate more time to other projects.

The leadership style has some benefits; it inspires creativity, innovation, and accountability, and provides a relaxed and conducive work environment. Also, it increases the employee retention rate. However, this style of leadership doesn’t work well for new hires; remember, such employees need initial support and guidance from their first day at work. In relation, there may be an absence of structure, and leadership confusion and employees may feel like they are not fully supported.

Democratic leadership style

In this form of leadership style, the leader shares the decision-making abilities with the group or team members by promoting the interest of the group members and by practicing social equality. This style of leadership encompasses the notion that everyone by the virtue of their human status should play a part in the group decisions. However, the democratic leadership style still requires guidance and control by a specific leader. Thus, this style of leadership is a combination of the autocratic and laissez-faire styles.

Some of the benefits include employees feeling empowered, unified, and valued. It enhances morale and employee retention and requires less supervision since employees already know what to do. Conversely, since it may take longer to organize group discussions, obtain ideas and feedback, communicate decisions, and discuss possible outcomes, the democratic leadership style has the potential to be costly and inefficient. Similarly, it can add social pressure on team members who do not like sharing ideas in a group setting.

Transformational leadership style

The transformational leader has mutual respect with team members, encourages them, and inspires them to achieve their goals. Also, this leadership style places value on intellectually challenging followers; it stimulates creativity and focuses on meeting organizational needs and targets. Relatively, the transformational leader is focused on clear communication, goal-setting, and employee motivation. This form of leadership is best for teams that can handle a plethora of tasks without constant supervision; since the leader spends much of their time on overarching goals.

The benefits of this style include value for personal connections with team members, employee retention, and value or regard for the company and team’s ethics instead of being entirely goal-oriented. On the other hand, the transformational leadership style can make the team’s wins go unnoticed since leaders look at individuals. In relation, leaders might overlook details.

Transactional leadership style

The transactional leadership style focuses on motivating followers through a system of rewards and punishments. This type of leader identifies the needs of their followers and gives rewards to satisfy those needs in exchange for a certain level of performance. This style of leadership is focused on increasing the efficiency of established routines and procedures. They are more concerned with following existing rules than with making changes to the organization. Also, the leader establishes and standardizes practices that will help improve the efficiency of operation and increase productivity and maturity.

Transactional leadership styles help to facilitate the achievement or attainment of organizational targets, through short-term goals and a clearly defined structure. In contrast, an organization may struggle with adversity if the leader is too keen on short-term goals. Also, creativity is stifled in this form of leadership since long-term goals aren’t a priority. Thus, the employees may become unmotivated, especially those that aren’t given monetary rewards as incentives.

Servant leadership style

This leadership style considers the people first; the leader believes higher effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity can be attained or achieved when team members feel fulfilled professionally and personally. The servant-leader is highly respected; they earned such high respect because they emphasize workers’ collaboration and satisfaction. Although this leadership style is ideal for any industry, it is more common in the non-profit sector. These types of leaders have exceptional morale-boosting skills; they can easily help individuals to re-engage with their work.

The benefits of the servant leadership style are enormous; it increases productivity and loyalty in employees, enhances decision-making and development among employees, harnesses trust, and, develops future leaders. However, the servant leader might burn out since they put the team’s needs above theirs. Also, they may have difficulty in asserting their authority when they need to.

Bureaucratic leadership style

This is similar to autocratic leaders in that they expect their team members to follow their rules and procedures precisely as laid down. The bureaucratic leadership style focuses on fixed duties within a hierarchy where each employee has a list of responsibilities and there is little need for collaboration and creativity. This leadership style is most effective in highly regulated sectors or departments such as finance, health care, or government.

Coaching leadership style

In this style of leadership, the leader quickly recognizes the strengths and weaknesses of team members and motivates them to help each other to improve. This type of leader often assists team members to set smart goals and then provides regular feedback with challenging projects to promote. Such leaders have exceptional skills in setting clear expectations; they also create a positive and motivating environment.

This style of leadership is one of the most advantageous for both employers and employees. Sadly, it is also one of the most underused styles; largely because it can be more time-intensive than other leadership styles.

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