Leadership, at its core, is all about providing direction to a group. This can be done using different leadership styles, depending on the circumstance, objectives, leadership mentoring, and organizational culture.
There is nothing like the best leadership style; a leader's role is to deliver the right leadership style to realize set objectives. This can be a daunting task for anyone new to a leadership role as often the results and not the process will judge them.
No matter the leadership style, it should be flexible enough to adapt to various situations but firm enough to withstand negative influences. Thomas Jefferson put it succinctly when he opined that in matters of (leadership) style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.
Mentoring and Coaching leadership initiatives can help refine leadership skills, impart Fundamentals of Leadership, and make one an effective leader.
This article will detail the eight common leadership styles and how they are applied.
Democratic leadership is based on group involvement. Democratic Leaders prioritize team members’ participation in generating ideas and voicing opinions when making decisions. In some quarters, this leadership style is also known as the participative leadership style.
At first glance, democratic leadership appears to be based on a free flow of ideas that could undermine leaders; however, with this leadership style, a leader still decides who contributes to the decisions being made.
A Democratic leader must be honest, intelligent, courageous, competent, and fair. If done right, this leadership style could yield significant benefits in creativity and engagement, boosting organizational productivity.
To paint a clearer picture of the potential and limitations of democratic leadership, here are some pros and cons of the democratic leadership style:
Given the significant advantages of the democratic leadership style, one might adopt it to boost team productivity. Here are some ways to boost your democratic leadership credentials:
The democratic style is an effective leadership style under the following circumstances:
Unlike other leadership styles, Autocratic leadership is all about control. The leader is central to team decisions and often works without the input of other team members. This leadership style is best suited for companies or organizations needing quick decision-making.
Elon Musk is a good example of an autocratic leader. His preference for this leadership style has been reported in engagements in Tesla and his recent acquisition of Twitter, where with little consultation, he is working at implementing changes, often with little or no consultations.
While this leadership style might seem outdated and counter-productive in modern times, it still has some advantages.
Here are some pros and cons of the autocratic leadership style:
Autocratic leaders work best when there is a need for quick decision-making. Moreover, it works best in small groups where leadership is absent or there is a history of factionalism or lack of team cohesion leading to poor results.
A charismatic leader uses communication skills and charm to influence team members and external parties. In essence, charismatic leaders connect with people on a deeper level, letting them extract more from team members or employees.
An example of a Charismatic leader is Barack Obama, who charmed his way to the American presidency.
It is difficult to pin down what makes one a charismatic leader; nevertheless, leaders who use this style are typically more confident, motivational, charming, optimistic, and possess excellent communication skills.
Given the nature of charismatic leadership, this style has the following pros and cons:
To become a charismatic leader, take the following steps:
Charismatic leadership works best when you want to inspire a group toward a given goal by connecting with them at an emotional level. This way, they can respond to initiatives and firmly believe that a leader's cause of action is worth it.
The Transformational Leadership Style is a style of leadership that seeks to motivate and inspire employees to achieve organizational goals. This leadership style focuses on creating a vision for the future and motivating employees to buy into that vision.
A transformational leader often builds trust and creates a sense of shared purpose among employees.
Some examples of transformational leaders include Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Oprah Winfrey.
Transformational leadership has many advantages, such as:
Transformational leadership also has some disadvantages, such as:
Transformational leaders often take a lot of time to achieve results. This is because they often need to slowly build trust and support from others before they can implement change.
Transformational leaders can sometimes be seen as autocratic or dictatorial. This is because they typically have a clear vision of how things should be done and may not be open to input from others.
The transformational leadership style is best used in situations where there is a need for change within an organization. It can be helpful when an organization is struggling and needs to improve.
Transformational leaders can also be successful in team-building situations. They can help inspire and motivate team members to work together towards a common goal.
Laissez-Faire leadership, also known as delegative, is a style of leadership in which the leader takes a hands-off approach and allows subordinates to make decisions and take action without interference or guidance.
This leadership style is best applied when the team has a high level of self-motivation and can work autonomously.
The transactional leadership style is a leadership style that emphasizes the exchange of rewards and punishments as a means to motivate followers. This leadership style follows the model of “tit-for-tat” or “quid pro quo.”
This type of leadership is ineffective in the long term, as it does not promote trust or respect between leaders and followers.
The transactional leader is more likely to be concerned with tasks, procedures, and outcomes than with people. The transactional leader's goal is to balance rewards for a good performance against punishments for poor performance.
This type of leadership works best in organizations with established structures when every team member has clearly defined duties.
This type of leadership can be effective in certain situations, such as when subordinates are highly skilled and motivated and need a little direction from the leader.
Coaching leadership is a leadership style where the leader is like a coach to a group. They exercise leadership by nurturing individual strengths within a team.
This leadership approach is best if the goal is to nurture individual strengths among team members. A coaching leader should recognize each member's strengths and plan to bring out the best.
Visionary leadership style is a type of leadership that emphasizes the importance of having a vision. Daniel Goleman first defined and popularised this type of leadership in his book “Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence.
Visionary leaders often have the following qualities: they see the world; differently; they can articulate their vision, help others see the vision, and turn the vision into reality.
This style of leadership is often associated with innovation and change.
The visionary leadership style can be characterized by a sense of inspiration or charisma, Innovation, and a willingness to take risks.
A servant leader prioritizes serving others as a primary goal of leadership. This leadership style is attributed to Robert K. Greenleaf. Servant leaders are characterized by the following distinct attributes: empathy, a high level of self-awareness, stewardship, and a sense of community building.
A servant leader encourages team members through the provision of growth opportunities.
At Highrise, we believe that a leadership style works best by not applying it unilaterally but by studying whether it will work in a given situation. This can be done through leadership style assessment.