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10 Common Leadership Styles

The definition of leadership usually differs from person to person. For some, a leader is the one who stays motivated all the time. For some, it might be the one who has a solution for every problem. This difference in the perspective of what a leader is reflected in one’s leadership styles.

While a leader leads, he or she might take different paths to lead. These paths that a leader traces to achieve a goal defines his/her leadership style.

Leadership style can thus be defined as a way of providing direction, a person’s approach towards a situation, his or her style of working, of motivating and influencing the team, creating plans and implementing them to achieve the desired goal.

Some leaders might lead aggressively, some with a defensive mindset. Some might lead goal-oriented and some people-oriented. Every leader has his own leadership style that he or she’s proud of. However, a good leader always alters his/her leadership styles based on the need of the situation.

Leadership is the ability to get extraordinary achievement from ordinary people. - Brian Tracy

Why leadership styles are important?

The way you lead is based on various aspects such as your personality traits and body language. Your characteristics as a leader determine your leadership style.

Leadership skills are a must in everybody’s personal and professional growth. Ranging from an educational institute to business organizations, we all work along with people, in groups, and in teams.

Playing the role of the leader becomes a necessity at some point in our lives.

May it be a study club, head of the department, or a project leader; you need to lead at various levels in an organization.

Having your own leadership style can help you lead your team effectively. Your leadership style determines your strategies and your course of action.

Since the entire team looks up to you as a leader, you need to be responsible for whatever action you choose to take.

Your leadership style must be the one that gets the best results and inspires your team to achieve great things.

While some leadership styles can appear better than others, a leader must understand when to go for which one. Being able to use different leadership styles as per the need is a characteristic of a great leader.

The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” – Ronald Reagan

There are various leadership styles ranging from visionary to hands-off to bureaucratic based on various characteristics, leaders possess.

Here are the 10 most common leadership styles that can help you assess what leadership style you possess.

The 10 most common leadership styles:

10 Common Leadership Styles

1. Coach:

A coach has the capability to bring out the best in you.

A leader like this shows you a mirror. Shows you a direction, working in which you realize your capabilities.

A coach has the ability to quickly assess people and understand their strengths and weaknesses. This type of leader often inspires people and guides them through their tasks.

He or she also provides regular feedback and ways to improve on areas where the team lacks.

A coaching style of leadership is advantageous for employers. Employers can hire talent and promote them to achieve goals by making them realize their true potential.

10 Common Leadership Styles

2. Visionary:

Visionary leadership lifts people through constant inspiration and helps them reach specific goals.

Visionary leaders set goals and encourage people to achieve them.

Leaders with a visionary style of leadership have a futuristic approach. Through their visions, these leaders lift up the organization to new heights.

They take time to explain their visionary ideas to their teammates. These leaders stress the importance of working with a vision in mind.

This style of leadership establishes a feeling of trust among the people. This leadership style proves beneficial for small or medium-scale organizations.

10 Common Leadership Styles

3. Servant:

A servant type of leader is a person who simply helps out people in need.

These types of leaders build an atmosphere of positivity and hope amongst the people.

These leaders have the capability to lift the spirits of people in distress. They possess high integrity and generosity values.

Servant leadership style is based on ethics, values, and ideals and requires a positive attitude. This style of leadership promotes an empathetic path to achieve goals.

Developing this style might need a lot of effort since it requires tremendous trust and credibility. People will let you help them only when they’ll believe in you.

When they will know that all you need to see is their success and you have no wrong intentions behind helping them out.

10 Common Leadership Styles

4. Autocratic

The autocratic or authoritarian leadership style is a result and efficiency-oriented approach.

Autocratic leaders make their own decisions. Both, for themselves and their teams.

This leadership style requires the team to perform tasks in just a similar way as mentioned by the leader.

Organizations having to comply with strict guidelines, confidential matters and safety procedures require this type of leadership. For example, military organizations.

It can be also employed where a great deal of supervision is required. It might however be difficult to work under this type of leadership, the leader must be able to convince his/her team, the necessity of his/her decisions.

5. Laissez-faire or hands-off:

Laissez-faire or hands-off leadership style gives freedom to the employees to do their work. These types of leaders provide resources and guidelines to carry out a task to their teams.

They recommend a certain way to complete the task within the deadlines but do not interfere with the working style of the employees.

This leadership style is exactly opposite to that of autocratic. A hands-off leadership style can be implemented in organizations where minimum supervision is needed.

These types of leaders focus more on the projects rather than managing employees. Laissez-faire leadership style ensures job satisfaction to the employees.

However, it might sometimes be damaging if the employees don't accomplish their tasks in time. This leadership style can be useful when all the team members experienced and highly skilled professionals.

6. Democratic:

The democratic leadership style or participative style is a combination of the autocratic and laissez-faire types of leadership.

These kinds of leaders share data about the projects or information related to the company's growth. They consider the employee's opinion and feedback before coming to a final decision.

Under such leadership, employees feel respected. Employees tend to work to the best of their potential because they know that their opinions matter.

The participative style of leadership ensures and promotes team spirit. This leadership style brings in both job satisfaction and the growth of the organization.

10 Common Leadership Styles

7. Pacesetter:

The pacesetter leadership style follows the "Do as I do" method.

This style sets a pace. Whenever an organization is in search of fast results, such a type of leadership style is executed.

Pacesetters set high standards and encourage the team members to finish the projects before the deadline.

This type of leader is focused on increasing performance and ensuring quality work within less time. Though the pacesetting style is motivational and prefers the fast pace method, most of the employees might get stressed out.

This type of leadership style is not suitable where training or mentoring an employee is required.

10 Common Leadership Styles

8. Transformational:

The transformational type of leadership is focused on transforming and improving the company's prospects.

It is similar to the coach leadership style. Coach-style is focused on an individual's growth, goal setting, and motivation to do better.

Transformational leadership, however, is responsible for organizational goal setting and growth. This leadership style is highly encouraging and motivates employees to see what they are capable of. It is best for teams that need to handle delegated tasks with the utmost attention.

10 Common Leadership Styles

9. Transactional:

A transactional leader is focused on performance like a pacesetter leader.

This type of leader employs reward systems. He or she appreciates employees for their performance.

These leaders are involved in constant mentoring, giving instructions, and training their teams to achieve goals.

This style is helpful in increasing the sales and revenue of a business. Plus, it is helpful to complete short-term goals. Common features of transactional leadership style are motivation, discipline, and organization.

10. Bureaucratic:

Similar to autocratic leaders, bureaucratic leaders expect their team members to follow the protocols and procedures exactly as structured.

Most of the time, they make decisions on their own and later consider the feedback of the employees.

The duties of employees working under bureaucratic leadership are predefined. This type of leadership is most effective in finance, government, and healthcare services.

Now that you know different leadership styles you can see which one suits you the most.

To become a successful leader, one must first understand what type of leadership works best for the organization. The leadership style varies from types of industries to the challenges they face.

Every leadership style has its own pros and cons. In order to lead with confidence, a leader must adopt a leadership style based on the requirements of the challenge. It is in your hand to choose a type of leadership that proves to be beneficial for both your team and the organization.

So, what is your leadership style? Let us know in the comments.


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