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Five different leadership styles

This post, we’re discussing different leadership styles. Different types of leadership styles exist in work environments; each style has its advantages and disadvantages.

Following on from our last post on qualities that make an effective leader, we’re sticking to the leadership theme. This post, we’re discussing different leadership styles. Different types of leadership styles exist in work environments; each style has its advantages and disadvantages. The culture and goals of a specific organisation determines which leadership style fits best. However, different countries and cultures tend to prefer certain leadership styles due to cultural, societal and economic norms.

Transformational leadership is a style of leadership where the leader is charged with identifying the needed change, creating a vision to guide the change through inspiration and executing the change with the support of committed employees. Employees are motivated and enhance productivity and efficiency through communication and high visibility. This requires the involvement of management to focus on the big picture and delegate smaller tasks to the team to accomplish goals.

Laissez-Faire is French and literally means ‘let [them] do’, but broadly implies ‘let it be’, ‘let them do as they will’, or ‘leave it alone’. A leader with this style lacks direct supervision of employees and fails to provide regular feedback to those under his supervision. Highly experienced and well-trained employees requiring little supervision fall under the laissez-faire style. As not all employees possess these characteristics, this style can hinder the development of inexperienced employees, which can sometimes lead to poor productivity and lack of control.

The democratic leadership style consists of the leader sharing the decision-making abilities with group members and practicing social equality. Ideas are discussed openly and discussions are relatively free-flowing. This style is suited to dynamic and rapidly changing organisations where very little can be taken as a constant.

The autocratic leadership style allows managers to make decisions without the input of others. These leaders possess total authority and impose their will on employees. This style benefits employees who require close supervision. It is also appropriate when decisions need to made quickly, and when team input isn’t necessary for a successful outcome. However, this leadership style can inhibit employees who thrive on teamwork and can lead to high levels of absenteeism and staff turnover.

Leaders with a transactional style are delegated certain tasks to perform and provide rewards or punishment to employees based on performance results. Managers and team members set predetermined goals together and employees follow the direction of the manager to accomplish these goals. The manager possesses power to review results and train or correct employees when team members fail to meet goals. On the other hand, employees receive rewards when they accomplish goals.

Do you lead with a different style? Does your boss have a distinct leadership style? We’d love to hear what you think.


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