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8 Popular Leadership Styles

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8 Popular Leadership Styles

Leadership style is in closely related to the leadership skill of the individual. The leadership style embodies the values, beliefs and traits of the leader. Different styles are needed to handle different situations and a leader should know which style best suits his situation. It is the leadership strategy that determines the leadership style.

So, let’s start with a brief overview of some of the popular leadership styles.

1. Autocratic Leadership Style: In Autocratic Leadership, a manager retains as much power as possible. It involves decision making and passing them to the subordinates. Employees are expected to follow the orders without soliciting any explanations. Employees have little opportunity to give suggestions even if is for the welfare of the organization. Autocratic Leadership has been greatly criticized as it leads to high levels of absenteeism and staff turnover. On the other hand, it could prove effective to train new staffs who do not know the tasks and the procedures.

2. Bureaucratic Leadership Style: In Bureaucratic Leadership, managers are governed by the “rule book”. They strictly abide by the rules, policies and procedures. Managers expect the same from their followers. The restraint and discipline enforced can curtail their freedom and creativity. However, this style of leadership proves to be effective for employees working on routine tasks, handling sophisticated items etc.

3. Democratic Leadership Style: Democratic leadership style or participative style is the most popular leadership style from the perspective of an employee. Employees enjoy the confidence of their leaders and are invited to contribute to the decision making process. It increases their job satisfaction and develops a sense of personal growth. It also yields high quality of work and boosts the staff’s morale by allowing them to accomplish their goals. For democratic leadership style the only drawback lies in the fact that it is a time consuming affair.

4. Laissez-Faire Leadership Style: Laissez-Faire literally means “leave alone to act freely”. In this style of leadership, the managers provide little or no direction to the employees. In fact the authority to determine the goals, making decisions and resolving problems are vested with the employees and they enjoy the maximum freedom. This sort of leadership style is applicable for highly experienced employees and also for employees working in a creative organization like that of fashion designing.

5. Charismatic Leadership Style: Charismatic leaders gather followers by virtue of their personality and charm. They do not use authority to force followers to obey their orders. They make best use of their body language and persuasive skills to arouse a sense of enthusiasm in the minds of their followers. The presence of the leader, the way he handles things can be seen as success in the eyes of the followers. Thus a charismatic leader carries lot of responsibility to satisfy the demands of his followers.

6. Transformational Leadership Style: Almost the same as charismatic leadership style. The only difference lies in the fact that the transformational leader focuses on transforming an organization whereas charismatic leader does not change anything. In this leadership style, the managers instill lot of enthusiasm in their teams by adding value with positive contribution. Transformational leader understands the strengths and weaknesses of his followers and assign tasks that optimize their performance. It is gaining importance in recent times and is being adopted in many western societies.

7. Transactional Leadership Style: This type of leadership style largely involves implementing managerial activities, as it starts with the idea that team members will abide by the leader. Moreover, the leaders have the right to punish the team members if they find the working standards do not comply with the required standard. In this case, the leaders follow “reward for better work” policy. This type of leadership style is suitable for short term tasks.

8. Servant Leadership Style: The term was originally coined by Robert Goldleaf in 1970s. According to this style of leadership, the leaders achieve results by focusing on the needs of their peers and their bosses. They would look at the needs of the people and work towards solving their problems and foster personal development.

Leadership strength lies in the ability of the leader to switch between the different leadership styles depending on the situation and the people they lead. In the long run, leaders are recognized and remembered by their capacity to care for their followers, their communication skills and their commitment to the cause. Do share your thoughts on the same.

Referred from: Leadership Foundation

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  • Grant Dawson

    Absolutly! A good leader assesses the whole situation and then selects the appropriate approach or leadership style. If urgent life/death decisions are reuired, as in a fire rescue situation then a “command and control” style is reuired. If the situation is less urgent, as in the selection of a new office block or head quarters then a much more relaxed participative team action style would fit.

    Likewise the leader must be able to assess the individual workers needs. At one end, structure and rules for the inexperienced workers, at the other end a complete deligation of authority and responsibility for the experienced workers.
    I’ll decide through we will decide together to you decide with your team.

    Feedback for the worker is also very important. Inexperienced workers need constructive specific positive feedback, delivered with care and genuine empathy. On the other hand experienced workers need to know that their efforts have made a difference and that the leader was correct in placing faith in the worker and is appreciative of the workers efforts.

  • Yes multiple styles are essential. Leaders must respond appropriately to the person and the situation, and the way these variables interact. Its the basis of Emotionally Intelligent Leadership. Good strating point for this Daniel Goleman’s book, Primal Leadership.