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6 Types of Leadership Styles – Which One Are You?

Productivity Land,

Just like humans have evolved over decades and centuries, the leadership styles have evolved too. In the simplest of terms, leadership is a human trait or quality that you exercise to help others do the right thing. It’s a set of directions or a vision to build something or simply to bring a change in an organization. It’s about bringing everyone together and following a path to success as a team.

At some point in your life or career, you’ll always come across a situation where you have to showcase your leadership skills and you’ll have to want to make sure you raise your credibility as a leader and a team man while you’re at it. The way you drive people around you, provide direction and implement plans to achieve a goal is what’s known as your leadership style. Interestingly, we exhibit leadership in our lives in one form or the other but never ponder what leadership style is best suited in the current situation.

A good leader adapts to situations and chooses the leadership style wisely based on the situation and followers. Most of us confuse management with leadership however they are not the same.

Management is when you control a group of people to accomplish a common goal. On the other hand, leadership is your ability to motivate, influence, and enable them to contribute to the success of that goal.

Types of Leadership Styles

Even though there’s no fixed number on the number of leadership styles that are out there, however here are the six most commonly found types of leadership styles.

1. Democratic Leadership Style

As the name suggests every team member can participate. The leader takes the input from every team member and normally makes a decision based on it. However, the leader himself/herself has the final say. This type of leadership style is normally very effective in a group of highly skilled and experienced individuals. Democratic leadership is one of the most preferred forms of leadership styles which is pursued by organizations today.

Makes your followers feel important and boosts their morale. 

2. Autocratic Leadership Style

This is the opposite of democratic leadership. This form of leadership style gives supreme authority to the leader and none of the team members or stakeholders are consulted. The leader makes a decision based on his own knowledge and expertise. The team is given the directions which they have to adhere to within the time stipulated by the leader. Not many organizations today follow the autocratic leadership approach and rightly so, as it often leads to employee dissatisfaction and loss of morale.

Don’t be an autocratic leader. Your followers will hate your guts.

3. Transformational Leadership Style

This is considered as one of the best leadership styles as it thrives on the phenomenon of effective team collaboration and communication. The transformational leadership approach believes in becoming a role model for the followers and motivating them to increase their interest in the goal or project. Encouraging team members and followers to take ownership of their work and connecting with them to understand the strengths and weaknesses so that everyone can effectively contribute to success.

Ideal leadership style. Become an inspiration for them.

4. Laissez-faire Leadership Style

‘Laissez faire’ in French means ‘let do’ or simply ‘let them do’. This type of leadership style is a hands-off approach which lets employees do as they see fit. However, the leader needs to ensure he is overseeing the operations and regularly monitoring the performance.

 Works well when followers are well experienced and you’re confident they can get sh*t done by themselves.

5. Transactional Leadership Style

This leadership approach is quite common in sales and marketing roles these days. Having reached the desired set of a quota of leads or customers, the employees get rewarded in the form of an additional bonus. Transactional leadership style can be a good way to enhance productivity and to ensure a bare-minimum work gets completed on time. Having said that it could build added pressure on the employees and lead to a lack of efficiency in the long run. It is important for the leader to make sure the incentives are in line with the goals of the organization.

It’s a good short-term strategy as incentives can be a good motivating factor, however, in the long-run, it can eventually make employees less concerned about the goals and vision of the organization and more focused on incentives only.

6. Bureaucratic Leadership Style

Bureaucratic leaders strictly abide by the books. They will listen to the team members or followers but will reject your input even if it goes against the organization’s vision ever so slightly. Most government organizations follow the bureaucratic model as they normally they have to follow everything by the books. It works well in organizations where you’re legally forced to stay on track however this can cause a severe headache to the creative bunch in your team.

Forget creativity and innovation. Not effective for agile environments nowadays.

So these were the six most common types of leadership styles, however, there are quite a few more out there. Do you fall in any of the above? If not tell us about your leadership style in the comments below.

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Comments 2
  1. I am not sure we can categorized people/leaders as purely that.. I noticed that every leader have qualities of those kind of leader types.. great leaders are the ones who are able to be what they need to be in certain situation.. IMO.

  2. Great article, Frank. You touched on a lot of the leadership styles I have encountered in the business owners I have coached. One type of leadership style I think works in every niche is the adaptable leader. They look at each situation or each interaction with a team member as unique, and they adapt their style based on the unique characteristics of the situation or person.

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