Recognize and classify leadership styles

What is leadership?

Leadership is the ability to influence a group to achieve goals. In management, it is the use of the authority associated with assigned formal rank to elicit collaboration from organizational members. Team leaders or managers help their team members to promote their professional development. You assign tasks to each team member. Their leadership styles can improve team performance, which is beneficial to the company. Good managers are very important in building a successful organization.

Definition: What are leadership styles?

We all have our own style: how we dress, which films we like, which car we prefer and we even have our communication style, how we communicate. We often refer to the different ways people communicate when leading groups as their leadership style.

The style’s perspective on leadership is particularly shaped by the view proposed by Kurt Lewin in 1939. Lewin is considered by some to be the father of modern psychology. After trait leadership fell out of favor (which was the belief that leaders are born, not made and share some common traits), Lewin proposed an alternative approach. Instead of focusing on leader characteristics, he advised looking at leadership styles. He came to this conclusion after conducting experiments on children to see how they responded to different behaviors. Lewin identified three styles of leadership, and he said that there are three types of leaders:

  • authoritarian
  • democratic
  • laissez faire.

The leadership style is necessary because an effective leadership style provides the following key points:

  • Better results
  • Greater efficiency
  • Better ideas
  • Mutual support
  • Increased competence
  • The feeling of having achieved something.

Why is leadership style important for a leader?

She is responsible for developing a grand vision and providing the goals and direction for the team and company to achieve the needs and goals of each company and team. It gives people direction, helps them understand what daily activities they need to do, without goals they just wander aimlessly. Leadership qualities move people towards a common goal.

As a leader, you have to get everyone to work towards a common goal. This is why managers and their leadership styles are so valuable to companies.

theories of leadership

Leadership is based on the following leadership theories :

  • Charismatic leadership or characteristic approach – the focus is on the personality of the leader
  • Theory of character traits – here the personality structure of the leader, the group members, the group and the situation are put in the foreground, which are in an interactive relationship with each other.
  • Behavior-based theory – the focus is on leadership styles that are chosen depending on the maturity of the person being led and are implemented by the manager with task and employee-related.
  • Situational Theory – Depending on the favorable or unfavorable situation, the appropriate situational leadership style results, which is either task-oriented or person-oriented.

What types of leadership styles are there?

Before we begin, it’s important to realize that the leadership styles we’re going to talk about are the approaches managers in organizations use to direct or influence their followers toward a specific goal. The five types of leadership styles described below differ from the six emotional leadership styles that affect people’s emotions and the atmosphere in the team.

There are different leadership styles, the following is a selection of common leadership styles, which your leadership behavior suggests right away:

  • Democratic style of leadership
  • Autocratic and authoritarian style of leadership
  • transactional leadership
  • Transformational leadership style
  • Servant leadership style
  • Laissez-faire leadership style
  • Charismatic leadership
  • bureaucratic management style
  • Coaching style leadership
  • Task-oriented leadership style
  • Delegative leadership style.
  • participatory leadership.

Leadership styles that we want to present in detail

1. Democratic leadership

This is a leadership style that involves the members of the group in the decision-making process. An example of this is that the individual employees are allowed to vote on decisions that are made.


Democratic leadership has many advantages, e.g. e.g.:

  • Employees are better prepared for a promotion because they already have tougher decisions to make. They are self-motivated and get to know their skills and personality better.
  • Subordinates are more able to accept changes within the organization as they know why changes are being made as they are involved in the decision-making process.

Disadvantages of democratic leadership include the following:

  • It can take a long time to make a decision
  • or the democratic leadership often has to discuss between employees so that there is a clear communication of ideas.

2. Autocratic or authoritarian style of leadership

Autocratic leadership is also known as authoritarian leadership. It is a style of leadership in which one person is in control of all decisions and group members have little influence. A manager who behaves in an authoritarian manner usually makes decisions based on his own ideas and considerations.


Some advantages of autocratic leadership are:

  • The decisions can be made quickly because the senior management makes all the decisions.
  • Employees have clear instructions on what to do and what needs to be met, which can increase efficiency in the company.

Some of the disadvantages are:

  • The creativity and ideas of the employees are ignored.
  • Employees can feel demotivated because they don’t have the opportunity to contribute their ideas and feedback or take responsibility.

3. Transactional leadership

As the name suggests, transactional leadership means “I give you this and you give me that”. A transactional manager gives direction and team members are expected to carry out the task accordingly. Managers are known to employ this type of behavior.

This leadership style is also referred to as an exceptional leadership style, since exceptional performance is repeatedly rewarded or punished. Those who work well are rewarded. If you do poor work, you will be punished or not rewarded. An example of this would be when you tell your friends to order a pizza. If they manage to order a pizza, the reward is that you all have to go eat. If not, the penalty is that you and your friends will starve.

Advantage and disadvantage

The leader may appear impersonal as this style is very direct. However, the advantage of this leadership style is that the instructions are obvious, so there can be less misunderstanding or confusion. However, earning employee trust can be difficult, and employee creativity can be limited.

4. Transformational Leadership

This leadership style focuses on transforming the people they lead. The leaders see the potential of people and want to exploit this potential for their own benefit and for the benefit of the company and the organization. They often give employees more freedom and promote creativity and innovation.

This approach focuses on personal strengths and weaknesses and addresses them accordingly. Transformational leaders also lead by example. Therefore, this type is often seen as inspirational or empowering. An example of this is a music teacher who thinks you’re better at the piano than the guitar and wants you to discover your strengths in order to excel.

Advantages and disadvantages

As a transformational leader, you often encourage your employees to push their boundaries. This leadership style is good when both the leader and the follower have the same goal.

The downside of being a transformational leader is that conflict can arise when change occurs, as everyone has a different perspective or approach to managing those changes.

5. Servant Leadership

Rather than leading or inspiring, a serving manager supports and guides the team’s efforts. They put the needs of their employees first and their own needs second. Servant leaders are good listeners, empathetic, engaging, persuasive, and community builders. They are highly emotional, they are aware of other people’s needs, they are the ones to start a movement or support a good charity or cause.

Advantages and disadvantages

The servant leadership style allows for a very positive work culture and strong trust between all team members. They always keep an eye on job satisfaction and constructive feedback from their employees. This leadership style has grown in popularity over the years because the best leaders make their people feel understood.

However, a downside is that this leadership style gives too much priority to others and sometimes the leader neglects their own needs.

6. Laissez-faire leadership style

The term laissez-faire is the French expression for “let it be”. Laissez-faire leaders take an approach that makes them very reserved. She often leaves it to the team to accomplish their tasks and issues, and lets them manage themselves. The premise is that most people hate being micromanaged. While micromanaging means the manager takes care of every detail, they don’t ask and trust you will get the job done.

This leadership style is often used in organizations or teams that have very well established protocols and work systems. This type of management style is very popular in the IT industry because the managers don’t demand to see every single code that is written since the programmers are experts in their fields. Managers may only want a weekly update.

Pros and cons of laissez-faire leadership

An advantage of the laissez-faire leadership style is that the trust and independence allows the job to be done better as there are no constraints and no pressure.

However, if the protocols and system of work are not well established, teams can descend into chaos with no leader to oversee the work.

Also, laissez-faire leaders often feel absent because they leave the team to its own devices.

7. Charismatic leadership

A charismatic leader possesses eloquent communication skills, one of the most important prerequisites for effective leadership, and can inspire their team members to work towards goals and vision. A charismatic leader uses persuasive arguments to persuade or charm others.

They often create unity among team members by inspiring everyone with a well-described vision and end goal.

Advantages and disadvantages

These charismatic leaders can be very inspirational and boost team morale.

On the other hand, they can focus very much on their charisma and neglect important tasks or expertise.

Many followers are blinded by the Halo Effect and willingly follow this type of leader even when they are clearly wrong.

Digression: halo effect

The halo effect, also known as a halo error, is when you have a positive impression of a [person in one area, but it carries over to another area. A simplified example of the halo effect is that when you see a good-looking person, you’re more likely to think that person is also nice or friendly. This is a type of cognitive bias

8. Bureaucratic leadership

Bureaucratic managers use a system of rules for administration and decision-making. These rules are established either by the leader themselves or by the company or organization they work for. All tasks are assigned to groups with clear authority, responsibility and accountability. You are generally very task oriented, hardworking and detail oriented. A bureaucratic executive has an eye on every single detail.


Some advantages of the bureaucratic management style are:

This management style is very efficient. Everyone in the group knows exactly what to expect from you. He’s very predictable. You always know exactly what your boss expects.

If there are several companies and different stores and you have worked in one, you know exactly what to expect from the others.

  • Some disadvantages are:
  • lack of flexibility
  • loss of control
  • very strict
  • impersonal

9. Coaching-style leadership

Coaching leaders are considered important advisors and are among the effective leadership styles. They guide their team members through difficulties and help them achieve their goals. The coaching leadership style differs from other leadership styles because it focuses on achieving goals through collaborative partnerships. It is used by many companies to increase the satisfaction of their team members and employees and improve their professional development. Coaching leaders are characterized by their interest and ability to help others achieve long-term plans and goals.

  • The benefits of the coaching leadership style are:
  • Cooperation and mutual communication
  • supports the professional and personal development of employees
  • constant leadership
  • empowers individual employees
  • she encourages instead of judging.

Disadvantages are:

  • Very energy and time consuming
  • Supervisors may not have good coaching skills and may be unsuitable. Not suitable for companies that are result-oriented and under high pressure.
  • Coaching is about mutual concessions
  • does not necessarily lead to efficient or quick results
  • complacent or reluctant employees
  • clash of opinions.

10. Task-oriented leadership

Task-oriented leadership focuses on achieving goals. These managers are typically less interested in building relationships with employees. This approach tends to be autocratic, and the leader places a high value on structure plans and timelines to get things done.

There are rules and guidelines that everyone must adhere to and from which no deviations are permitted.

What management style do employers prefer?

Transformational leaders are better suited or most effective for the modern 21st century business simply because the pace of change is so important. Don’t just rely on one leadership style. A combination of two or styles appropriate to the business is best.

There are no good or bad leadership styles as they all have their pros and cons. It is important that you know which leadership style to use at the right time and under the right circumstances.

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