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11 Common Leadership Styles: Which Type of Leader are You?

Leadership is an influence relationship among leaders and followers who intend real changes and reflect their mutual purpose.


With this definition, we accept the following attributes of ‘LEADERSHIP’

  • Leadership is not an act or set of acts, it is a process.
  • Leadership is not just influencing, yet it involves influencing others through leadership. While between the leader and followers, the influence is mutual, together, they influence the environment around them in some way.
  • Leadership goes beyond goals. There is a purpose a cause which a broad enough to create a vision that connects followers who might have a different individual goal.

Here is a list of Eleven Common Leadership Styles and a Brief Summary of their advantages and disadvantages:

1. Authentic Leadership

The recent authentic Leadership approach seems to have evolved in the light of major scams and scandals, a blind race for profits and personal gains and a short term perspective, involving the CEO of top organizations. It focuses on the charter of the leader as the driver of positive interrelationships. Authenticity is about being genuine and not attempting to play a role; not acting in a manipulative way.

2. Autocratic Leadership

Autocratic leadership allows the autocratic leader to take the ultimate control of taking decisions without consulting others. An autocratic leader possesses a high level of power and authority and imposes its will on its employees. This type of leadership proves to be useful where a close level of supervision is required. Creative employee’s morale goes down because their output is not given importance and is often detest by employees. Since they are unable to take any part in decision making, this results in job satisfaction and staff turnover.

3. Laissez-Faire Leadership

Under this type of leadership, a laissez-faire leader does not exercise control on its employees directly. Since employees are highly experienced and need little supervision, a laissez-faire leader fails to provide continuous feedback to employees under his or her supervision. This type of leadership is also associated with leaders that do not supervise their team members, failed to provide continuous feedback resulting in high costs, bad service, failure to meet deadlines, lack of control and poor production.

4. Informational Leadership

The Informational leadership highlights a leader as a facilitator of change occurring when one or more persons engage with others in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality.

The process of transformational leadership aims at influencing changes in attitudes and assumptions held by organizational members and building commitment for organizational goals and objectives. A high level of communication exits between managers and employees and it is under the guidance of leaders that employees meet their goals and enhance productivity and efficiency.

5. Transnational Leadership

Transnational Leadership contrast involves management –by- exception, intervention, and punishing those who made errors. This can lead to negative emotions and performance on the part of the subordinates. This approach would also require close monitoring of the subordinates, who would surely not like it, and if they felt constrained, their performance might not be best.

Additionally, some of their voluntary behaviors, like citizenship behaviors would be reduced. A manager leads a group of highly motivated individuals who follow his leadership and achieve their goals. Employees are trained or rewarded such as bonuses depending upon their performance.

6. Bureaucratic Leadership

Under bureaucratic leadership,  a leader believes in structured procedures and ensure that his or her employees follow procedures exactly. This type of leadership leaves no space to explore new ways to solve issues and in fact work by book.

This type of leadership is normally followed in hospitals, universities, banks (where a large amount of money is involved), and government organizations to reduce corruption and increase security. Self-motivated individuals who are highly energetic often feel frustrated due to because the organization’s inability to adapt to the changing environment.

7. Charismatic Leadership

The charismatic leader is visionary and works by infusing a high amount of energy and enthusiasm in his team. He sets a role model for his team and drives others to show a high level of performance.

This type of leader is committed to the organization and believes more in him rather than his team. The presence of a charismatic leader works as a boost for the rest of the employees and therefore such type of leader should be committed to the organization in the long run.

A charismatic leadership may pose a risk to the company if he decided to leave to explore new opportunities and it might take a lot of time and hard work by the company to win the confidence of its employees.

8. Participative Leadership

Also known as the democratic leadership style, participative leadership consults employees and seriously considers their ideas when making decisions. When a company makes changes within the organization, the participative leadership style helps employees accept changes easily because they had given a big role in the process.

Participative Leadership may be required for tasks that are non-routine or unstructured, where relationships are non-authoritarian and the subordinate‘s locus of control is internal.

9. Directive Leadership

Directive Leadership provides guidance about what should be done and how to do it, scheduling work, and maintaining standers of performance. Thus, it may be inferred that directive leadership is effective as the subordinators have an external locus of Control, lacks experience, has a high need for clarity or a low need for achievement.

Also, when the task is unstructured, or there is a conflict between workgroups, a more directive style would be useful.

10. Supportive Leadership

Supportive Leadership show concern for the needs of the employees, the leader is friendly and approachable. Supportive Leadership would be more suitable for highly structured tasks, under bureaucratic and formal authority relationship. In supportive Leadership, leader supports to their subordinates officially and sometimes personally also. A leader always tries to fulfill their requirements, it boosts employees’ morale also.

11. Achievement Oriented Leadership

Achievement-oriented Leadership encourages employees to perform at their highest level by setting challenging goals, emphasizing excellence and demonstrating confidence in employees’ abilities. Achievement Oriented Leadership is largely suitable for unstructured tasks, where the subordinate need for achievement is high.




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About Sonia Kukreja

I am a mother of a lovely kid, and an avid fan technology, computing and management related topics. I hold a degree in MBA from well known management college in India. After completing my post graduation I thought to start a website where I can share management related concepts with rest of the people.