A leadership style can be defined as a method in which a leader leads his team and accomplishes its goals.
There are several types of leadership styles prevalent in the job market. Yet, the ultimate goal of all of them is to meet the team’s objective without losing the quality of the work or the mental well-being of the team members.
Some of the most common leadership styles include:
- Democratic Leadership (or Participative or Facilitative Leadership)
- Autocratic Leadership (Authoritarian, Coercive, or Commanding)
- Laissez-Faire Leadership (Delegative or Hands-off Leadership)
- Strategic Leadership
- Transformational Leadership
- Transactional Leadership
- Coaching Leadership (or Conscious Leadership)
- Bureaucratic Leadership
- Pace-Setting Leadership (aka Charismatic Leadership)
- Visionary Leadership (or Affiliative Leadership)
Let’s get familiar with them one by one.
1. Democratic Leadership
As the name suggests, it revolves around the concept of democracy. It includes taking inputs and suggestions from all the team members before making any final decisions. As such, it is largely based on the collaboration and inclusiveness of all.
Some of the key features of this style of leadership include:
- Effective communication.
- Support and empathy.
- Trust building.
- & Emotional Intelligence.
2. Autocratic Leadership
It’s the opposite of democratic leadership. In it, the leader makes all the decisions without taking input or advice from his team members.
Although not ideal in the long run, this type of leadership works best when immediate action is required to tackle a situation of an urgent or critical nature. For instance, a major crisis, disaster management, army, or espionage work.
The chief characteristics of this type of leadership are:
- Centralized decision-making.
- Direct and systematic communication.
- Minimum involvement and delegation.
- Limited freedom for team members.
- Too much emphasis on hierarchy and structure.
- Impervious to feedback and criticism.
3. Laissez-faire Leadership
This is yet another major style of leadership that professes the least amount of intrusion by the team leader and maximum control of the team members.
Under this method, the leader leaves the decision-making authority with the team members and holds them accountable for their work and productivity. Laissez-faire is a French term that literally means “let them do!”
Its features include:
- Heavy reliance on employees.
- Little guidance, oversight, or feedback.
- Minimum interference and control.
- Highest level of autonomy and independence.
- Empowerment and trust.
4. Strategic Leadership
This leadership style is the be-all and end-all of all combined as it is the most comprehensive and desired of them all. Mainly because it can tackle as many employees as needed at once while keeping the long-term goals of the company in mind as well.
Strategic leaders always strive to create a balanced work environment where business goals and employee interests can grow together in the modern progressive landscape.
As a visionary style of leadership, it includes a wide range of elements and objectives such as:
- Visualization and planning.
- Integration of available resources.
- Employee welfare.
- Self-awareness and open-mindedness
- Interpersonal communication.
- Accountability & Productivity.
- Collaboration and transparency.
5. Transformational Leadership
This style is about inspiring and motivating employees as well as employers to reach their full potential and further excel.
With a progressive mindset, it always welcomes new ideas and innovative thinking from its team members which in turn helps businesses improve and develop their products, and create more opportunities for profit in the run.
Employee satisfaction and individual growth are two of the main aspects of this type of leadership as it involves a lot of challenges and targets that are meant to be met within certain deadlines. Once accomplished, new tasks and even bigger challenges are given as an opportunity to grow along.
As a result, a win-win for both!
6. Transactional Leadership
This is a common style in pop-corporate culture and is strictly based on the idea of action and reward/ punishment.
As a task-oriented approach, it entices the team members to perform to the best of their abilities for the sake of reward or punishment. Therefore, while meeting the leader’s expectations is rewarded, failing to comply or not staying up to the mark brings repercussions.
The only drawback with this sort of leadership is the lack of emphasis on the workforce as a whole and more focus on individual performers with more one-on-one sessions.
7. Coaching or Coach-Style leadership
Similar to democratic and strategic style with the only exception of individuals being at the center of focus.
By focusing more on the employees, a coaching leader strives to understand the strengths and weaknesses of his team members to help them perform to the best of their abilities.
To accomplish that, he may employ several techniques such as discipline, punctuality, team engagement, group activities, etc.
8. Bureaucratic Leadership
This style is all about following rules and protocols. Although it does not mean total censorship of the opinions of individual employees, if they do not align with the company’s morals, standards, and ethics, they are straight away rejected or discarded.
Bureaucratic Leadership has several features including:
- Centralized decision and policy-making.
- Strict adherence to rules and protocols.
- Proper hierarchy and chain of command.
- Minimal autonomy.
9. Pace-setting Leadership
This type of leadership style demands high standards and sets ambitious goals in a perfectly laid out manner so the team does not deviate from its main objective.
With their persuasive communication skills, pace-setting leaders can unite the whole team towards the pursuit of a common goal and even take charge to get things done swiftly and smoothly.
The key features of this kind of leadership practice include:
- High-quality standards of work ethics.
- Ambitious goals and successful accomplishment.
- Leading by example!
- Speed and efficiency.
10. Visionary Leadership
Used for future and long-term goals as it motivates the team toward the completion of a shared vision.
A visionary in this case would be more than lenient towards his team members by encouraging teamwork, imagination, and emotional intelligence. He would also be more thoughtful of the ideas and suggestions that his peers bring to the table.
The ultimate goal of this type of leadership is to foster a culture of creativity and change for a better future.