Good leaders know and embrace their leadership style. Yet, many who wish to take on roles in management and other leadership positions are unaware of the impact of their leadership style or the fact that they can change it. Understanding the common leadership styles will help you pinpoint yours—and it can help you decide if you want to make a change. Here are the most common styles of leadership.
10 Leadership Styles Managers Need to Know
Authoritarian leaders like to hold their authority closely. They can be a bit dictatorial in their leadership style, taking a “my way or the highway” position with their employees. The authoritarian leader is the one who makes the decisions about policies and procedures within the organization. If someone does not follow the leader’s guidelines, they are going to be punished in some way.
Authoritarian leaders are leaders who get things done. This can be a benefit, but this leadership style comes with significant drawbacks. First, it can tempt leaders to abuse their power. Second, it can create emotional detachment between leadership and employees. Finally, people may have higher levels of stress when working under an authoritarian leader.
Paternalistic leadership involves taking the role of a patriarch or matriarch that leads team members as though the entire team is one big family with the leader as the “parent.” This leadership style assumes a high level of authority for the leader but also a high level of care between the leader and the team members. The leader is the one who makes the final decisions, but the opinion of the employees is also considered. The idea is that the manager knows what’s best for the team and the organization, but the team members’ input is important, too.
This style of leadership can be very successful if the employees respect the leader and the leader listens to them. These leaders are excellent at providing guidance to their team members. Sometimes the leader can play favorites, and this can upset the balance within the organization, which can be a drawback of this style.
Democratic leaders want the input of employees. They also are willing to share information with employees, when appropriate, to help them do their jobs better. Before they make any final decision, democratic leaders seek the opinions of their employees. However, decision-making ultimately remains the leader’s responsibility.
Democratic leaders get a high level of cooperation from their employees. Employees feel that their opinions are heard, and this often makes them work harder. However, sometimes too much democracy can make it difficult to get tasks done, which can be a drawback to this leadership style.
Transactional leaders appreciate structure and order within their organizations. These are the leaders at the head of large corporations or military operations, and they are quite organized in their style. These individuals thrive on following rules and ensuring their team members do the same. They do not appreciate creative approaches to problems because, all too often, that means going against the flow or the rules in some way.
Transactional leadership is great for achieving short-term goals and keeping policies and procedures going as they should. They are a bit inflexible in the way they do things, and they do not encourage creativity among their team members. They appreciate and reward efficiency and timeliness and are usually good at delegating tasks.
The Laissez-faire style of leader is the complete opposite of the authoritarian. They believe in allowing people to do their work in their own way. As long as the work gets done on time, the laissez-faire leader does not oversee much of what happens within the organization. Under this style of leadership, creativity thrives.
When done well, this style of leadership builds feelings of trust within team members. However, sometimes this leader can seem distant and aloof, and sometimes the complete lack of oversight and direction means the tasks do not get done or get done incorrectly.
Transformational leadership motivates people to be innovative. It encourages team members to find what motivates them and fosters standards and values in the work environment that help people strive for positive change. Transformational leaders mentor and coach their team members but also allow employees to take ownership of the tasks they complete.
Transformational leaders can be effective if their team numbers are on the same page as the leader. Giving people the freedom to make and own their own decisions and tasks within the organization is very effective. However, it is also possible for this leadership style to lead to negative outcomes because of the amount of freedom the leader gives.
Situational leaders are adaptive in their leadership styles. They can assess their teams and situations and decide the leadership style that best fits at the moment. Sometimes they may have a more authoritarian stance, while other times, they may resemble the laissez-faire leader more.
Situational leadership works well because it adapts to the situation and can change when the dynamics of the organization changes. It brings in the best of many leadership styles to pull from in various situations. However, it can sometimes be confusing to employees if the leadership style changes often.
Charismatic leaders use their communication skills, charm, and personal persuasiveness to create change in the people they lead. They are able to connect well with others and push them to move forward, even in challenging times. These are confident individuals who are engaging and good communicators. They also tend to be very optimistic.
People are naturally drawn to the charisma of these leaders, and that is what makes them effective. They can encourage a sense of camaraderie with the people they lead. However, they can be more focused on their own charm than the people they lead, and sometimes if the charisma is too heavy, they can be viewed as disingenuous.
A visionary leader sees the potential for what could happen within the organization. They then use that vision to inspire others to reach for that potential. They may not have a clear plan for how to reach that vision but rather set it in front of their people and encourage them to innovate to reach it.
Visionary leaders help inspire innovation within their team members. They listen well to the people they work with, and they also encourage risk-taking. However, because they don’t always have a clear plan, they can struggle to start the changes they wish to see happen and need to balance their vision with other leadership styles.
The pacesetter leads by example. They don’t just tell people what to do, but they also show them by doing it themselves. They will set the bar high, but the fact that they are willing to get dirty and do the work can inspire people to do it, too. These are the leaders who roll up their sleeves and get into a mess with their team members.
Pacesetters get things done. This leadership style works well when results are what is the main focus of the organization. However, the drive to get results can cause stress or discomfort for team members that can’t keep up the pace.
Why Leaders Should Earn an Advanced Degree
Leadership style is just one part of the picture of being a good leader. Great leaders know their leadership style and how it impacts their employees and the workplace in general. If you are in a leadership role, you should also consider earning an advanced degree to help you better inspire and lead the people under you. An advanced degree will help you hone in on your personal leadership style, find a style that fits your organization, and ensures you are correctly and effectively leading the people under you.
JWU Online has a number of advanced leadership degrees for your consideration. Our MBA in Organizational Leadership is ideal for those focused on leading in the business or nonprofit world. These professionals learn how to inspire teams of employees to achieve better results.
The MBA in Sports Leadership focuses on coaching and mentorship in the world of sports. This is an area where effective leadership is a must, but it also requires an understanding of athletes, what drives them and how to make them more successful. The MBA program from JWU Online will explore all of this.
JWU Online also offers an MBA in Event Leadership. This graduate degree explores the best ways to lead and organize large events. It examines leadership styles as well as the organization necessary to plan a successful event.
Being a more effective leader could be just one graduate degree away. Earn your MBA – Organizational Leadership, MBA – Sport Leadership, or MBA – Event Leadership from JWU. For more information, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected].