6 Types of Leadership Styles – Which One Do You Follow?

Just like humans have evolved over the past several decades and centuries, 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 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 to the current scenario. 

It’s important to adapt to the hard times life throws at you which call for you to stand and press on instead of giving in. Similarly, to be effective in your approach and be successful you have to adapt to different leadership styles depending on the situation you are in. 

Management is not Leadership

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 towards the success of that goal. 

Types of Leadership Styles

Here are the six most commonly found types of leadership styles:

1. Democratic Leadership Style

Makes your followers feel important and boosts their morale. 

Democratic leadership is one of the most preferred forms of leadership styles which is pursued by organizations today. 

As the name suggests, this is a leadership style that enables every team member to participate. The leader takes input from every team member and normally makes a decision based on it.

However, the leader has the final say. This type of leadership style is normally very effective in a group of highly skilled and experienced individuals.

2. Autocratic Leadership Style

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

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 their own knowledge and expertise. The team is given directions, which they have to adhere to within the time stipulated by the leader. Not many organizations today follow an autocratic leadership approach and rightly so, as it often leads to employee dissatisfaction and loss of morale. 

3. Transformational Leadership Style

Become an inspiration for your team with this ideal leadership style.

This is considered 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 their strengths and weaknesses so that everyone can effectively contribute to success. 

4. Laissez-faire Leadership Style

Works well when followers are well experienced and you’re confident they can get things done by themselves.

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

5. Transactional Leadership Style

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.

This leadership approach is quite common in Sales and Marketing roles these days. Having reached a desired set of quota of leads or customers, the employees get rewarded in the form of additional bonuses, according to this leadership style.

A transactional leadership style can be a good way to enhance productivity and ensure a bare minimum of work gets completed on time. Having said that it could add added pressure on the employees and could 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. 

6. Bureaucratic Leadership Style

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

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 have to follow everything by the books. It works well in organizations where you’re legally enforced to stay on track however this can cause a severe headache to the creative bunch in your team. 

While there are many other leadership styles, these are the most common ones. Do you fall in any of the above? If not tell us about your leadership style in the comments below.

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