What are the distinguishing factors that define leadership? To put it differently, what leadership styles identify a leader as either good or bad? Think about it for a minute. You’ve probably had a former boss who made you feel confident and valuable. Additionally, you may also have had bosses who made you feel worthless or consider quitting the job. What were the differences between both bosses and their styles of leadership? The question of leadership styles becomes even more intriguing when we consider that there is a broader definition to it than just good or bad. So, in this post, we will discuss five of the most common leadership styles, including their pros and cons. We believe that being able to identify leadership styles and their benefits and disadvantages may be quite beneficial. For one, it could help one develop a unique leadership style that avoids the disadvantages of others.
Leadership is dynamic and sometimes requires employing different styles to meet unique managerial goals. One of the responsibilities of a leader is to understand what styles work best and to employ them where necessary. Understanding how team members perform under certain types of leadership styles could help a leader achieve goals with less difficulty.
Before we proceed to discuss these management styles, here are some related posts you might enjoy:
- Five Essential Qualities of Leadership
- Everything Rises and Falls on Leadership
- How Passion creates Great Leaders
- Ten Qualities of Bad Leadership to Avoid
- Fifteen Inspiring Quotes by Steve Jobs to Motivate You
- Five Useful Tips for Living a Balanced Life
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In the following sections, we consider five common types of leadership styles, their pros and their cons.
Leadership Style 1: The Autocratic Leader
In the Autocratic style of leadership, the leader manages with undisputed and unchallenged authority. Such a leader makes decision with very little, if any, input from team members. In such cases, the focus of the leader is efficiency and productivity, most times at the expense of teammates.
Pros: As you can imagine, since decisions are made without debate, work tends to move along faster. Additionally, since only one person makes all decisions, there is a clear chain of command.
Cons: Not only does Autocratic leadership not only discourages input from teammates, it rejects such input completely. Consequently, team morale may be low. Additionally, since team involvement is discouraged, creativity and innovative solutions are not common.
Leadership Style 2: The Democratic Leader
In the Democratic style of leadership, the leader encourages the active involvement of team members in decision making. As the name implies, the leader implements decisions that are made by majority vote. Sometimes, this style is called participative leadership because it fosters participation between the leader and team members.
Pros: This style of leadership encourages creativity and innovation which further boosts productivity. Additionally, team member morale is high because they are included in the decision-making process.
Cons: The decision-making process can be time consuming because every team member must make a contribution. In some cases, additional input may ultimately be required, especially when teammates are undecided on an issue. Finally, this management may not be effective in some cases because teammates don’t have expertise on the issue.
Leadership Style 3: The Transformational Leader
This leadership style generally focuses on the transformation of organizations. In such cases, the leader ensures that team members are actively focused on improving the company. As a result, a transformational leader is always committed to the objectives and goals of the organization.
Pros: Transformational leaders motivate their team members to see what they can achieve for the organization. As a result, this encourages change and transformation.
Cons: This style of leadership places too much focus on the bigger picture and what can be achieved for the company. Sometimes, this could put increased pressure on team members and even lead to burnout.
Leadership Style 4: The Visionary Leader
Visionary leaders create a vision and lead team members to achieve that vision. They usually do this by showing team members what things could be like when the vision is achieved. In this style of leadership, the leader clearly communicates the vision, aims and objectives to stimulate their interest and passion.
Pros: Visionary leaders value innovation and creativity which help their team members thrive. In addition, they value contribution and inspire unity.
Cons: Because emphasis is generally placed on the future, this style tends to make such leaders lose sight of the present. Due to this fixation on the future, sometimes, potentially good ideas for the present may be tossed aside.
Leadership Style 5: The Servant leader
Servant leaders believes in serving first and then leading. In this management style, the leader inspires team members to be the better versions of themselves. In other words, such a leader prioritizes the needs of teammates above that of the organization. The assumption with this style is that better team members ultimately make for a better team.
Pros: It engages collaborative decision making and keeps team morale is high. Additionally, the leader tends to show empathy and consider the impact of decisions on team members.
Cons: Such leaders tend to be perceived as weak or taken advantage of by team members. Additionally, it requires a huge investment in team members at the expense of the company.
Developing your own Style of Leadership
While all styles of leadership have their strengths and weaknesses, sometimes, leaders combine different styles to produce a unique style. Ultimately, the situation, company goals and leaders’ principles determine which styles are combined. To effectively develop your own style of leadership, consider doing the following:
- Experiment: Try different styles and find which ones work best and produce results
- Ask for Feedback: Based on what we understand about leadership today, feedback is important for improvement and effectiveness.
- Be Flexible: Different situations may require one to adopt a different leadership style. As such, a good leader must be sensitive to the needs of individual team members and be willing to adjust.
- Be Real: There is nothing more important than being yourself as a leader. Be real and find ways to channel your strengths and skills to developing yourself as a leader.
How have you developed your own leadership style? What is your primary leadership style, and which other styles do you use from time to time? Let us know your answers to these questions by leaving them in the comments at the end of this post. As always, we would love to hear from you.
Today’s Funny Quote
Our funny quote for today is by Oscar Wilde, the Irish Poet and Playwright:
I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.
Do you ever feel that way? If you do, you’re not alone.
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