• Janine Williams

The 8 Leadership Styles

Updated: Nov 24, 2021

Leadership is a skill that is developed throughout your entire career. If you think of leadership as a toolbox, each skill you learn is another tool to add to your kit until eventually you are equipped with everything you need for the job. You won’t require every tool for every job, but you will learn to successfully analyse a situation and choose the right tool to manage it.

Leadership Styles

There is an endless amount of leadership styles that will be effective in helping you in your role. However, understanding your leadership style is the foundation of self-improvement and it is the first step in becoming a better leader. Here are eight of the most common leadership styles to help you reflect and understand your own better:

- Democratic Leadership

Also known as a participative leadership style, which involves a leader getting input from their entire team and considering everyone’s opinions before making their final decision. This can boost team morale, make them feel valued and improve employee engagement. However, this can cause inefficacies if the leader is unable to make prompt decisions when needed. This can also create negative emotions in the team if there are times that you need to make a decision without getting their input.

- Autocratic Leadership

An autocratic leader is the opposite of a democratic leader and will make decisions without consulting any of their team. This can be helpful for situations when a decision must be made quickly. The downside of this can be a lack of engagement from your team and can deteriorate the team’s relationship.

- Laissez-Faire Leadership

The laissez-faire leadership style is seen as a ‘hands-off’ approach, often delegating tasks and decision making and having minimal interference. This can be empowering and self-motivating for employees. However, this can be perceived as a way for a leader to not take accountability for their teams mistakes and can often lead to a lack of clarity in team roles.

- Transactional Leadership

A transactional approach is, as it sounds, is when a leader may offer incentives for effective performance and consequences for poor performance. This can be a particularly strategic approach when you are trying to achieve performance-based benchmarks in your business. However, consistent monitoring of these benchmarks may lead to the leader becoming a bottleneck as the team waits for them to approve their work, creating inefficiencies.

- Charismatic Leadership

A charismatic leader relies on charm and personality to work with their team, share goals and encourage good performance. These leaders can often come across as inspiring to their team and create an encouraging working environment. The problem with this leadership style is that it relies solely on the leader, leaving little room for successors.

- Transformational Leadership

A transactional leader will often be driven by their desire to ‘transform’ their business. This will often determine the type of employees they hire and any important business decisions, focussing on the big picture goals. This leaves a gap in task based work, and can leave the team feeling uncertain about how to actually achieve these goals.

- Servant Leadership

Servant leaders will prioritise their employees above everything else. Believing that if their team has a high level of personal and professional fulfilment, it will enable them to produce better results and a higher quality of work. The difficulty with this leadership style is that it can be perceived as weak or ineffective and it can be hard to be taken seriously.

- Bureaucratic Leadership

A bureaucratic leader follows everything by the book. They will follow company policies, set clear expectations, and expect their team to do the same. However, this can come at the cost of creativity and genuine engagement from the leader’s team.

There is no one size fits all when it comes to leadership, and there is not a leadership style that cannot be improved upon to offset the disadvantages. It’s about creating a combination of the styles that works best for you and your team. Adapting each day and with each person you interact with to ensure you are being the best leader you can be for your team.

If you are interested in developing your leadership skills, we have a range of training courses that can help you understand your natural leadership style and help you become the best leader you can be.

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