We are all leaders at some time in some aspect of our lives, whether it is at work, on the sports field or at home with our family.
In an organizational setting, leadership style and the strength of the leadership are crucial to success. Employees without good and effective leaders will often look elsewhere for inspiration and creativity, whereas a good leader will provide motivation and the needed drive for enhanced performance in an environment geared towards individual, team and organizational success. But with so many types of leadership, and each one has its strengths and weaknesses, it is useful to take a moment to define these styles.
Directing, motivating, and planning are the standard functions in which managers base their leadership style. However, autocratic, democratic, delegation, transactional and transformation are the universal styles of leaderships. Managers are in many cases advised to incorporate all five styles in their leadership and not to allow one style to dominate.Different types of leadership styles exist in work environments.
As a leader, you must consciously shift from one form to another as the situation dictates. This will allow you to be more effective and less predictable as you undertake your duties.
Below, we look at the 5 leadership styles in more detail and where they each fit into an organization.
Table of Contents
5 Types Of Leadership Styles
1. Autocratic leadership style
Autocraticform of leadership also referred to as authoritarian leadership normally involves leaders giving orders and expecting the orders to be obeyed without question by their subordinates.
Authoritarian leadership is not in actual case a form of leadership, but some disciplinarian management and these types of leaders are often likely to become dictators. In this style of leadership, all decision making within the department or organization is centralized to the leader. These do not in any way encourage sharing of ideas and knowledge especially from subordinates and will in most cases brush off any ideas or suggestions given by those that they manage.
An autocratic leadership provides strong motivation to the leader, and this is shown to be true as it has been successful in the past. It is effective as it permits quick decision-making as only the one person needs to decide for the whole group and this individual keeps decisions to themselves until they feel the rest of the team need to know what they are.
The problem with autocratic leaders, however, is that they do not trust anyone and this doesn’t in anyway contribute to the positive development of an organization.
2. Democratic leadership style
Also known as participative, this style involves situations where the leader still gives orders but allows some input from his/her subordinates regarding what has been outlined. In this form of leadership, the manager will often give employees a chance to express their ideas, suggestions, and concerns regarding situations within the organization.
Democratic leadership favours group decision making. Unlike in the autocratic style of leadership where decision-making is unilateral, here, the leader will only give an order or decide after consulting the other members of the department or team. Leaders who adopt this style tend to earn lots of admiration and cooperation. They can therefore highly motivate employees more efficiently and positively.
In organizational settings, Democratic leaders tend to produce a work environment that satisfies employees. Subordinates also feel that their opinion counts because of the shared communication and because of that feeling they can become more committed to achieving the goals and objectives of the organization.
3. Delegative leadership style
This is the third and most empowering of our five types of leadership. The delegating style also known as the laissez-faire or free-reign style involves a leader setting an overall priority or goal but then stands out of the way to let things happen.
This style of leadership allows subordinates to make decisions that he/she will take responsibility for. The leader will often task employees with the responsibility of analyzing, evaluating and solving issues and problems as they move along. The free-reign style is more appropriate for more experienced and mature employees/ teams-those that have over time proven their abilities, skills, and competencies and have also proven to have the necessary confidence to handle issues efficiently and soberly.
One of the biggest drawbacks of this leadership style involves failure. If something goes amiss, it is not in the place of a manager to cast blame on employees which are the most likely reaction for a leader practising this kind of leadership.
4. Transactional leadership style
Transactional leaders, in essence, clarify the role of employees, initiate structures and reward or punish individual employees for the team’s performance. In this style of leadership, an employee is given the opportunity to lead a team. The members of that team are expected to follow the leader and work together to ensure that they achieve their set goal and in return receive something worthwhile.
The leader of a team is given the power to evaluate, correct and train the employees when productivity is not at the appropriate level, and they can reward effectiveness and efficiency when the outcome expected is reached.
5. Transformational leadership style
Transformational leadership is effective where change and adaptation to change are the forerunners of a successful modern organization. A transformational leader is a person who has a positive vision of the organization in the future and of what they want to achieve and transform followers’ beliefs, values, and needs.
The transformational leader seeks to accomplish their goals by making workers or followers feelings more aware of the importance of want they are trying to do, convincing them to put the organizations or teams needs ahead of their self-accomplishments and to appeal to their achievement and mastery needs.
Many other types of leadership exist as well, but you have to be diligent in choosing the right leadership style to employ in your setting. As a manager and a leader, you have to be able to choose a style that is right for certain situations. Any method that you opt to employ has to be effective in managing the situation at hand while at the same time allow employees and subordinates to stay motivated and convinced to listen, believe, and follow your leadership.
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