Although there are a lot of online tests and quizzes that can help you determine your leadership style, the most important method is to self-reflect and get to know yourself. “Self-awareness is the companion of good leadership,” said Merida Johns in her book called Leadership Development for Healthcare: A Pathway, Process and Workbook. To get the maximum positive result from your followers, to get them to stick by you, and to achieve the set goals, you need to know how you lead and what you can do to better your leadership.
There are several leadership styles out there but let’s investigate these 10 Leadership Styles we found interesting. Take note, it is very common for leaders to have a mix of these leadership styles as it all depends on their personality, their emotional intelligence, the industry they work in, changes they might have to manage as well as their background.
10 Leadership Styles
- Visionary and Strategic Leadership Styles are very similar because they both are thinkers and planners and want to lead toward the future. These leaders help companies expand and are useful in businesses that are undergoing change or small companies that are fast-growing. They can see the impact of decisions on multiple stakeholders and can maintain firm working conditions. However, these leaders might lose sight of what is happening right now. Because they are very much future-orientated and constantly focus on the “bigger picture” they tend to leave their team feeling unheard in the present. The common traits are leaders with creativity, who are innovative, and determined; they take risks easily, and are inspirational and optimistic.
- The Mentoring or also called Coaching Leadership Style is a very effective way to build and align teams through cultivating positive habits and focussing on developing each individual team member’s strengths and skillsets. Although ultimately contributing to the overall growth of the company they mainly focus on the development of each individual. Throughout the process, they offer guidance and constructive feedback to the team members. The traits of such leaders include an eagerness to learn and willingness to give advice and direction. These types of leaders are very self-aware and blend in well with the Servant Leadership Style.
- Democratic, Autocratic and Buerocratic leaders have very straight forward leadership styles. The Autocratic leader believes in a demand and control approach. They think that they are the best and smartest, which is the reason they think you must follow their exact commands. They are predominantly focused on results and therefore limit creativity. Traits of these leaders include self-confidence and motivation, they follow the rules strictly and believe that they should monitor their subordinates closely. Democratic leaders have a more participative approach and involve the individual more in the decision making giving them more freedom. This leadership style promotes discussions and partaking. They are adaptable and rational, value group efforts and promote work environments where a lot of input is received from their subordinates. Similar to Autocratic leaders, Bureaucratic leaders require subordinates to strictly and accurately follow the rules as they have determined within a framework of procedures. This greatly also limits creativity and innovation within the organisation. Although self-desciplined and strong-willed with a very good work ethic, these leaders don’t believe in building relationships and are emotionally detached from situations because they are only goal-driven, and detailed-oriented.
- Both Transactional and Transformational leaders concentrate on setting and achieving goals through effective communication and motivation. Transactional leaders are micromanagers but at least everyone knows exactly what is expected of them. They view the workplace relationship as a leader and follower transaction. Although they will also focus on training development among individuals in order to achieve the team’s objectives, they limit innovative thinking among employees. Transformational leaders on the other hand are highly emotionally intelligent leaders who lead without constant supervision. They inspire and motivate their followers to bring on positive change. They use delegation of tasks to various members to an extent, to ultimately achieve the organisation’s objectives.Transactional leaders are good controllers, are goal-driven, practical and value company structures whereas Transformational leaders are creative, inspire team members to think of the bigger picture, encourage them to work independently and understand the company’s needs.
- The Laissez-Faire Leadership Style is also referred to as the Delegative Leadership Style because they leave everything like decisions, outcomes, rules etc., up to their team members. They give little to no direction, guidance, or supervision and encourage accountability. The opposite of the autocratic leader, they don’t manage their employees unless absolutely necessary and sometimes leaders will adopt this type of style where their team members are well educated and experienced. But when this leadership style is used in leading less skilled employees, they might feel unsupported and confused.
- The Servant Leadership Style is a relatively new style of leading. These leaders value relationship building. They are also highly emotionally intelligent. Here the leader is leading from behind empowering the followers. They have a “put-the-people-first mindset” and encourage followers to discover themselves and develop their skillsets. They make their followers feel wanted and needed which ultimately increases job satisfaction and collaboration. These leaders have great communication skills, and they are committed to growing their teams because they genuinely care about the individual and the organisation’s success. However, this also poses a danger to the leaderhimself, as this type of leadership increases their chances of workplace burnout because they give so much of their own time and themselves to serve and benefit others.
Leaders in themselves are constantly evolving and many will have a blended leadership style of the above. As said in the beginning, it all depends on your industry, personality, skillset and what is being expected of you as a leader. At the end of the day, it is a constant development of yourself through continuously improving your unique leadership style. Remain authentic and stay true to who you are by dissecting each style, experimenting with the advantageous parts, getting yourself a mentor who is able to guide you through the process and regularly asking for constructive feedback. Develop a good style that works for you.