What are the Most Common Leadership Styles?

All leaders have different approaches, styles and qualities in their take on leadership. Every leader exhibits certain leadership styles, but great leaders are expert at adapting, switching between different modes according to what the situation demands.

The 6 most common types of Leaderships

Here are 6 most common leadership styles that you can incorporate or mix depending on your workplace:

1. Autocratic Leadership Style

The main focus of an Autocratic or Authoritarian Leadership style is the leader. An autocratic style is simply defined as, “My way or the highway.” The Leader takes full authority in making decisions or deriving solutions and the approach is top to bottom.

The three pillars of this leadership is Discipline, Preparation and Victory. Its sole purpose is the results. This can be beneficial in establishing strict compliance to certain guidelines of the company, or to make sure there is no delay in taking decisions. However the rigid nature of the model might hamper an employee’s creativity and make them feel confined.

2. Democratic Leadership Style

Practising social equality in the workplace, consulting with employees before makings decisions, promoting interest of group members and more encompasses a Democratic Leadership Style. It is based on mutual respect between the leader and the people they guide. An important feature of this style is active communication in all levels of work force.

Democratic leaders emphasize participation, collaboration, free-flow of ideas and at the same time responsibility is shared by all members of staff. The primary concern here is on the quality of work, the performance and productivity.

The pros involve making employees feel like an important part of the company. Increase participation and boost employee morale – which in turn – can naturally improve productivity.

3. Coaching Leadership Style

Coaching leadership style is increasing becoming popular thanks to rapid changes in technology, techniques, and functions at all professional platforms. As organizations transition using more modern methods, the need for a coaching leader arises. A manager who not only leads and gives guidance but someone who instructs employees to adapt and learn.

The leader becomes a coach. The leader personally motivates, grooms and instructs his followers to increase their performance and maximize their potential. It builds trust in the leader-follower relationship. It also tests the leader’s skill, their knowledge and the way they impart it.

4. Transformational Leadership Style

Transformational leaders make it a point to identify areas that need change, create goals and visions for the organization. They provide guidance and support in executing the visions they have set. They are role models and goal setters who fully leverage the potential of their workforce. Transformational Leadership is rooted in charisma, using influence to guide their followers rather than management.

Unlike Autocratic leadership, they do not command but nudge their workforce to achieve the goals they have set. A transformational leader encourages employees to be creative, challenges them to go beyond what they planned to do and builds trust.

5. Transactional Leadership Style

A Transactional Leadership style is basically promoting employee compliance through certain rewards or punishments for their work. This can ensure motivation in case of particular projects that need to be completed within a set time frame. The rewards system can prove effective in improving quality of work by encouraging competition.

It is a give and take relationship between the leader and the follower. This can be used in short-term tasks and projects. For example, bonus for completing a particular work.

6. Laissez-faire Leadership Style

Laissez-faire is a French term which literally means “Let them do” or “Let it be”. The Laissez-faire Leadership Style is usually adopted when all employees in the team are highly skilled, with little need for supervision.

This style involves delegating tasks but not interfering in the work assigned letting the employee take up full responsibility of the given work. This can be beneficial in helping boost innovation and expand creativity.

It might have been clear by now, no particular leadership style can be considered the “best.” Depending on the situation, a leader might need to switch from being a Democratic leader to an autocratic one. To improve your leadership skills, you will have to familiarize yourself with all the styles and blend as per required.

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