6 Types of Leadership Styles in Management

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Written By Kevin

The insights I gained over the years help me lead and motivate teams to achieve business and operational goals. Allow me to share my learnings with you.

Leadership is not a one-size fits all game. It’s important to understand your strengths and weaknesses so you can best align yourself with the right approach for any given situation.

In this post we will discuss the 6 types of leadership styles for business leaders.

Apply the Leadership Style that Fits

As people we are more complicated than simply being good or bad at certain things; there are other factors involved, that shape our personalities and these affect our behavior patterns in each circumstance we encounter.

No amount of training will change these natural tendencies.

There are many different types of leadership styles, and each situation requires specific skills to handle it successfully.

In short, there isn’t just “one” way of doing things, for everyone in every industry or business model!

The best thing you can do as an entrepreneur with strong leadership qualities is to take a situational approach and adapt based on the situation you are facing.

This will ensure maximum effectiveness without compromising your identity as a business leader.

It is therefore important to understand the different types of leadership styles that are most common, and the various situations where each style can be effective in your daily work life.

If you’re not up for reading, we’ve got this article in video format also.

Leadership Styles

In this section we will look at the six main leaderships styles and where they work best.

Leadership Style Number 1. Authoritative Leadership.

The authoritative leader drives strategy using a vision to motivate and empower his/her team members .

This means that the authoritative leader will communicate the high-level direction that the organization wants to pursue, and then they let their people come up with out the best way to get there.

Authoritative leaders are constantly striving to achieve progress and they tend to inspire their teams to have a similar attitude.

In what situation does Authorative Leadership Work Best?

An authoritative leadership approach works best when the leader is naturally inclined and able to take charge in all situation.

Couple with this, the Leader must be working in an environment where the employees have the experience to work on their own initiative, and have the technical skills necessary for the job.

Employees also need the tools and resources to be able to perform their most effective work.

In short, an authoritative leader must be experienced, confident and backed up by a professional team of people, in order to be successful.

Leadership style Number 2. Transactional Leadership.

A transactional leader, takes more of a carrot and stick approach to managing and leading their teams.

As leaders, they might not be willing to change the status quo and re-invent processes or adopt change. Instead they enjoy the routine and are mainly task oriented. Therefor encouraging innovation is definitely not a priority for them.

The transactional leader will therefore assign roles, set up processes, and monitor closely the performance of their teams.

They will then reward employees who obtain positive results, and punish those who do not meet expectations.

This style of task-oriented leadership therefore is focused on meeting basic expectations.

In what situation does Transactional Leadership Work Best?

Transactional leadership works best when working with team members who are relatively new to a project or role, and need detailed monitoring and assistance.

As a team, the employees should work closely together, and hold each other accountable for the tasks they are meant to be addressing.

While transactional leadership has its place in certain situations, it should not be the norm for any leader. The main downside of this type of leadership style is that instead of focusing on the employees, it focuses on the work.

As a result, continuous exposure to transactional leadership will alienate employees, since it does not foster the much needed human-work connection.

Leadership Style Number 3. Servant Leadership.

The servant leadership style is a philosophy where the leader puts the needs and growth of their team above their own. Apart from being empathetic, they are also very much involved in the actual daily tasks, together with their team.

A servant leader ensures they are available to coach, mentor and help their team members with any issues or concerns. They engage emotional intelligence to guide their decisions.

This approach focuses on developing individuals, building strong relationships, and creating a positive work environment.

In servant leadership, communication is transparent and decision-making is inclusive.

In what situation does Servant Leadership Work Best?

Because of the emphasis on teamwork and communication, the servant leadership style can be particularly effective in team-based environments where collaboration and trust are vital for success.

It is also useful for managers who are looking for long-term solutions rather than short-term gain.

However, servant leadership may not be suitable for crisis situations or when quick decision making is required, since it is quite time-consuming.

Overall, servant leadership can be an effective approach for creating a motivated and productive team in the long run.

Leadership Style Number 4. Democratic Leadership.

The democratic leadership style, also known as participative leadership, values input and collaboration from team members.

As such, a democratic leader will get everyone’s input in the decision making process.

For them, transparency in decision-making is critical, and they want to make their team members feel involved in the organization’s strategy, culture and overall work environment.

However, it is important to note that democratic leadership can result in slower decision making, due to the need for input and consensus building.

Additionally, not all team members may feel comfortable speaking up or may lack the necessary expertise to contribute meaningfully.

In these cases, democratic leadership should not be the sole form of leadership utilized, and the leader needs to know when a situation arises that requires them to step in and take the decision on their own.

In what situation does Democratic Leadership Work Best?

This style can be particularly effective in business environments when decisions require buy-in from a group or when brainstorming creative solutions to problems. In fact, these leaders usually adopt group meetings and survey feedbacks quite often.

When new projects come on board, and fresh ideas or brainstorming sessions are needed, a democratic leadership style can work wonders.

Startups and small businesses also can benefit by having a democratic leader in charge. This is because these usually consist of small collaborative teams and they don’t have the necessary expertise in all fields. Getting group feedback would therefore help the leader arrive at a sound decision.

Ultimately, democratic leadership can be an effective tool in certain situations, but it is important for leaders to assess their team dynamics and make informed decisions about when and how to implement this style.

Leadership Style Number 5. Empathetic Leadership.

Empathetic leadership involves putting oneself in the shoes of one’s team and taking their feelings, experiences, and perspectives into account when making decisions. So this type of leader puts people first.

These leaders believe that by putting the people themselves at the center of their decision making, they will create strong emotional bonds with the team members. Eventually these bonds will lead to more engaged workers and a sense of belonging.

Empathetic leaders do not micromanage their teams. On the contrary, they give clear goals and direction and then empower their team members to carry out the tasks how they believe is best.

They therefore encourage employees to to use their talent to shape the workflow, project or product. As long they arrive at the pre-established goals.

These leaders make themselves available as support for the employees and encourage them forward through positive feedback and guidance.

In what situation does Empathetic Leadership Work Best?

This style of leadership is particularly important in moments of change or conflict, as it allows for a deeper understanding of the needs and concerns of the team.

Empathy can also lead to better communication and connection within a team or organization, improving morale and overall performance.

Empathetic leadership should be used in all aspects of business but should be especially emphasized when addressing sensitive issues or handling a crisis situation. In such cases, taking an empathetic approach can result in more effective solutions that consider the well-being and satisfaction of all parties involved.

Ultimately, empathetic leadership fosters a positive and supportive work environment, leading to greater success for both individuals and the organization as a whole.

It is important that empathetic leaders give clear goals to their teams, as otherwise they will risk leaving employees confused and unmotivated.

Leadership Style Number 6. Narcissistic Leadership

This is one to absolutely avoid!

Narcissistic leadership is defined as a leadership style where the individual prioritizes their own needs and desires above those of the team or organization. They are usually disrespectful to their subordinates and tend to dictate orders instead of leading.

While this style may obtain some short-term success, it can lead to long-term problems such as disgruntled employees, disinterest, disassociation from the organization and high turnover rates among team members.

Narcissistic leaders often struggle with delegating tasks and providing constructive criticism, creating a toxic work environment.

This leadership style can be effective in certain situations, such as during a crisis where quick decision making is necessary. However, in most cases it should be avoided in favor of styles that prioritize teamwork and communication.

Overall, narcissistic leadership can provide quick results but ultimately undermines the health and sustainability of a business or team.

Find the Most Effective Leadership Style for You.

Do you recognize any one of the above mentioned leadership styles that dominates your own style of managing? ,

If so, try and notice situations or opportunities where it might make sense to you can implement any of the other leadership styles.

If you haven’t connected with your team members on a personal level, put on your empathetic leader hat and have some one-on-ones, where you get to know each team member’s perceived strengths and career goals.

For example, if you usually take a hands-off approach, think about future project opportunities, where you could be more involved to enhance the team’s motivation and obtain better results.

Remember, adapting your leadership style based on the situation at hand, or the different personalities of the people you are dealing with can drastically improve your overall success. This will allow you to connect more effectively with your team and guide them towards better performance and results.

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