Leadership style is often dependent upon the leadership skills of the individual. One’s leadership style exemplifies the core values, beliefs, and traits of the leader. Different styles are necessary to handle different situations and a leader should know which style best suits their particular situation. A person’s leadership strategy is what determines their leadership style and their success depends on their ability to be observant, flexible, decisive, and forward-looking.
Here is a brief description of eight leadership styles:
Autocratic Leadership Style: In Autocratic Leadership, the leader retains as much power as possible. This is reflected in the decision-making process and means that is often passed to the subordinates. Employees are expected to follow orders without being able to ask for any explanations. Employees also seem to have little opportunity to offer suggestions even if their idea would be beneficial to the organization. Autocratic Leadership has been greatly criticized as it can result in high levels of absenteeism and staff turnover. However, this style could prove effective when training new hires who do not know how to perform the tasks and follow the procedures.
Bureaucratic Leadership Style: In Bureaucratic Leadership, leaders stick strictly to “rule book”. They diligently follow all the rules, policies, and procedures of the organization. In addition, they expect the same behaviour from their employees. The restraint and discipline enforced on the team can certainly shut down their freedom and creativity. Nonetheless, this style of leadership can prove effective for employees who are working on routine tasks, and handling sophisticated tasks.
Democratic Leadership Style: The Democratic or Participative leadership style is probably the most popular approach from the perspective of an employee. Under this style, employees enjoy the confidence of their leader and are encouraged to contribute to the decision-making process. This collaborative strategy increases job satisfaction and helps to develop a sense of personal growth. In addition, it tends to yield more high-quality work and boosts staff morale by allowing them to accomplish their goals. The only drawback to a democratic leadership style lies in the fact that it is a time-consuming approach. However, the rewards reaped are usually worth the effort!
Laissez-Faire Leadership Style: Laissez-Faire literally means “leave alone to act freely”. In this style of leadership, little or no direction is provided to the employees. In fact, the authority to determine goals to be reached, decisions to be made, and how to resolve problems are left entirely to the employees and so they enjoy maximum freedom. This sort of leadership style is mainly applicable only for highly experienced employees and as well as for employees working in a very creative organization like that of fashion design.
Charismatic Leadership Style: Charismatic leaders gather followers by virtue of their personality and charm. They do not use authority to force followers to obey their orders. They make the best use of body language and persuasive skills to arouse a sense of enthusiasm and passion in their employees. Therefore, from the employees’ perspective success is directly linked to the presence of the leader. Thus a charismatic leader carries a great deal of responsibility in being able to satisfy the demands of their team.
Transformational Leadership Style: This style is quite similar to that of the charismatic style. The only difference lies in the fact that the transformational leader focuses on transforming an organization whereas the charismatic leader does not effect any change. In this leadership style, the leader instills enthusiasm in their teams by adding value through positive contributions. The Transformational leader understands the strengths and weaknesses of the team members and appropriately assigns tasks that leverage their skills so that they can optimize their performance. This style is currently gaining importance and is being adopted in many Western societies.
Transactional Leadership Style: This type of leadership style largely involves implementing managerial activities, because it starts with the presumption that team members will abide by the leader. Moreover, the leader has the right to punish the team members if they find their working standards do not comply with the required company standard. In this case, the leaders follow a “reward for better work” policy. This type of leadership style is suitable only for short-term tasks.
Servant Leadership Style: This term was originally coined by Robert Goldleaf in the 1970s. According to this style of leadership, the leader achieves results by focusing on the needs of their peers and bosses. In other words, they would examine the needs of the team members and then work toward solving their problems and foster an environment for personal development.
Leadership strength lies in the ability of the leader to apply the different leadership styles to the appropriate situation and to the sorts of people they are leading. In the end, leaders are recognized and remembered for their capacity to support and encourage their team, for their effective communication skills, and their commitment to the realization of the team’s goals. The better they are at employing clear, honest, impactful and influential communication, the more likely they will have a successful high-performance team.