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Different Leadership Styles in Business

Learn more about the different leadership styles in business to understand what type of leader you might be.

If you want to put your company in a position to be successful, you need to make sure that you provide it with strong leadership. There are different management styles of leadership, and you need to think about which one is best for your company.

Of course, your personality is your personality, but when you are looking for managers who can handle different tasks, you need to think about their leadership ability and how it pertains to creating a psychologically safe workplace.

There are different types of leadership out there, and you need to think about which style is best for leading your team through tough times. Different leadership styles are better for crisis communication, and you need to think about which styles of leadership are best to help you delegate tasks effectively.

Learn more about how different types of leadership can be effective in different situations, and make sure you put yourself in the best position possible to be a strong leader for your company.

What are leadership styles?

Leadership styles refer to different ways that you can galvanize people around you to do the best they can in a difficult situation. For example, there are some people who prefer to lead by example. Instead of being vocal, they may be relatively quiet, allowing people to decide for themselves how they want to act while the leader emulates a specific work ethic or habit set.

On the other hand, some leaders are more vocal. For example, the captain of the football team is probably going to be relatively vocal, encouraging his or her teammates to do their best every time.

One type of leadership is not necessarily better than the other, but different leadership styles can be more or less effective in different situations. That is why you need to be familiar with different management styles. The ability to switch your leadership style from time to time can have a significant impact on the success of your company.

Why are leadership styles important?

Leadership styles are important because they can significantly impact the attitudes, morale, and actions of the people working around you. For example, some people do not necessarily respond well to an overbearing leadership style. They might feel like that person is intimidating, and they might be so worried that they will make a mistake that they simply freeze in a difficult situation.

Alternatively, there are certain situations where leading by example may not necessarily be the best option either. Someone who leads by example tends to be relatively quiet. A quiet person may not necessarily be the most inspirational person, so people in the office may have a difficult time deciding what they need to do in a certain situation.

Even though there are lots of leadership styles that can be effective in certain situations, it is critical to think about which one is best for the leader and which leadership style is best for the people working in that area.

How do I choose the right leadership style for myself?

If you are curious about which leadership style is best for you, there are a lot of factors you should consider. Instead of trying to find the best leadership style and sticking to it no matter what, it is better to think about the people who work around you and the type of work you will do. That way, you can find the best leadership style to meet that specific project.

The best leader has the ability to get the best out of his or her teammates in a difficult situation. If you have the ability to change your leadership style to suit the needs of the project, you may have an easier time convincing people to go the extra mile and do their best. It is also helpful to take a closer look at different types of leadership, which might help you figure out the type of leader you want to be.

Main styles of leadership

There are several different types of leadership, and you need to think about the benefits and drawbacks of each option. Some of the most common leadership styles include:

Common types of leadership styles

Democratic leadership

The democratic leadership style is also called participative leadership. The goal is to give everyone a role in the decision-making process to foster a committed workforce. It can be seen in various governments all over the world, and it is great because it encourages collaboration. There are plenty of opportunities for people who have slightly different manners of thinking, and it can lead to higher rates of engagement and productivity.

However, the minority opinion is frequently overridden, and it can be incredibly inefficient to have a democratic leader because everyone has to say something before a decision can be made.

Transformational leadership

Transformational leadership is popular because it allows readers to create a vision based on specific needs and goals. Then, it encourages everyone to work toward that common goal. This can be a motivating leadership style that encourages team building, giving team members a significant amount of autonomy.

On the other hand, with a lot of moving parts, this style can lead to a significant amount of instability. It also places a significant amount of pressure on transformational leaders, who are expected to lead by example.

Strategic leadership

Strategic leadership can create a shifting leadership style, encouraging the leader to change his or her approach to match the situation.

Even though there are opportunities to increase efficiency, it can also lead to some confusion among the employees because they may not know exactly how the leader is going to respond to certain situations. There is a significant amount of freedom, but it can take a lot of energy to adapt to different leadership styles.

Laissez-faire leadership

As the name suggests, this leadership style is very hands-off. It gives people the freedom to make their own decisions. Even though leaders will provide the tools and resources necessary to succeed, they are not necessarily involved in daily operations.

Laissez-faire leadership doesn't require a lot of resources, but it can also lead to low productivity. Individuals get to practice their own leadership skills without fear of failure, but it can also lead to a lot of confusion about specific roles and responsibilities.

Charismatic leadership

Charismatic leadership relies on the communication skills of the leader to influence other people. This is an inspirational, motivational, and encouraging style of leadership. They can foster collaboration and camaraderie. Charismatic leaders tend to have strong conflict resolution skills, but they may struggle in other areas.

On the other hand, this type of leadership also tends to focus more on the people instead of the project at hand. It can also be seen as a self-serving, shallow, or disingenuous leadership style.

A charismatic leader typically has the ability to connect with people quickly and deeply

Autocratic leadership

Another common type of leadership is called autocratic leadership. Essentially, this is a top-down approach where all of the decision-making comes from the very top. The leader will not necessarily collect input from different people before making a decision. Autocratic leaders are typically good at taking action during a crisis, which can help speed up the conflict resolution process.

This is a very efficient type of leadership that can keep teams cohesive, but it can also stifle innovation, collaboration, and creativity. It also does not leave a lot of room for different types of thought, which is a common issue with authoritarian leaders.

Servant leadership

With servant leadership, the needs of the followers are put ahead of the needs of the leader. Essentially, this is a bottom-up approach. It encourages people to grow by giving them a bit more freedom. Active listening can also lead to better performance, collaboration, and innovation.

It also creates a safe environment, encouraging people to take risks because they will not be afraid of failure. On the other hand, servant leaders can be burnt out quickly, it is difficult to train employees using this approach, and it takes a lot of energy.

Transactional leadership

Another common type of leadership is called transactional leadership. This is ideal for short-term planning. Leaders who use this type of leadership typically rely on rewards and punishments to motivate the people who work around them.

Transactional leader definition

This is a very efficient type of leadership where all goals are clearly defined, but transactional leaders can also limit creativity and growth. Furthermore, if people are not motivated by extrinsic rewards, it may not inspire them.

Coach leadership

The coaching leadership style fosters collaboration, guidance, and support. In this type of leadership, the leader acts like a coach, trying to bring out the best in his or her team members. This is great for two-way communication, feedback, and professional development.

On the other hand, it is very resource-intensive. It is not necessarily the fastest type of leadership, and it requires a lot of time and energy.

Situational leadership

With situational leadership, you will adapt your management style to match each unique situation. You will change your approach depending on the individual team member.

This is an effective leadership style because it allows you to tailor your supposed to meet the needs of the team member, but it can also be demanding because you need to change your leadership style from time to time.

Visionary leadership

Visionary leadership is a type of leadership that focuses on the future and setting goals to create that future. In order to get everybody on board with the vision, visionary leaders have to be inspirational. Essentially, these leaders have to set clear goals for the future and motivate employees to meet those goals.

Visionary leadership is effective as long as you can keep things moving, but present obstacles often interfere. In order for visionary leaders to succeed, the whole team needs to be motivated to consistently work toward the future.

Leadership style FAQs

Can you change your leadership style?

Your leadership style is both a choice and a product of your personality, so you can change it to some degree. When you’re working on your leadership skills, it’s important to understand your shortcomings and what you do well. Maybe you’re bad at conducting one-on-ones but great at motivating the team. Use your strengths and weaknesses to figure out where you need to improve and what type of leader you want to become.

What are common leadership pitfalls to avoid?

As a leader, there are some common pitfalls you should specifically work to avoid. You don’t want to micromanage employees and restrict their freedom, but you need to make sure you’re hands-on to some degree. While putting work on others may not be your first instinct, delegating is key as a leader.

Common leadership pitfalls

Leaders should also be consistent and self-aware. Understand your leadership traits and how they affect your employees, and work to be a consistent role model for team members. This means providing constructive feedback and being receptive to feedback, as well as being consistent with your actions. Your leadership skills can have a major effect on employee job satisfaction.

Can a leader use more than one type of leadership style?

You can definitely combine traits from various leadership types to create your own unique style. The best leaders often have the ability to switch between different styles of leadership depending on what the role requires. For example, you can use autocratic leadership when you need to be skilled in the art of decision-making or visionary leadership when you want to motivate and inspire your team for the future. You can even combine traits of bureaucratic leadership and laissez-faire leaders to become more successful leaders.

Be the leader your team needs

In the end, there are many different effective leadership styles, and you need to think about which one is best for your team. That is why you might be interested in a manager handbook that can go to the basics of different leadership styles, allowing you to find the right one for your company.

Keep in mind that you can always reach out to a professional who can help you figure out how to put your team members in a position to be successful.

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