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Posted by Maddie Brindley-Slater on 21 April 2022

Leadership 101: Exploring The Different Types Of Leadership

If you’ve recently been promoted to a managerial role, you may be wondering what type of leader you are. Leadership can be broken down into various different approaches and typically people fall under one of three core leadership styles. Your preferred leadership style often comes down to a mix of personality type, experience and sector.

Although you may tend to sway towards one particular style throughout the majority of your work life, many leaders employ a mixture of all three at differing times, depending on their needs.

When considering your own leadership style, contemplate which of these three popular styles best suits you and your current scenario. At the end of the day, there are pros and cons to all forms of leadership, so you should make your judgement on whether your current style works best for you.

Are you ready to explore the three most popular leadership styles?

What are the different leadership styles in management?

Leadershipstyles 2

Autocratic leadership style:

Autocratic leaders can be described as governing from the top, leaving minimal room for input from their teams. They tend to set the boundaries and provide instructions with little to no option for feedback, therefore the decision making process is streamlined.

Although on the surface this style of leadership can come across as inflexible, it can actually benefit teams that are struggling or going through periods of change. As the onus is largely on the leader alone, autocrats can help to navigate and stabilise a team during turbulent times.

This style of leadership is most commonly found in industries where strict regulations must be abided by, with little to no wriggle room on how a team can operate. Autocratic leadership can be particularly helpful for franchises, where a strict brand protocol must be abided by.

Studies have found that the popularity of this style of leadership has reduced in recent years, but is still the most common style in emerging markets.

Benefits:

  • Autocratic leaders are able to make swift decisions without relying on feedback from additional members of their team
  • Autocratic leadership is especially beneficial in industries where strict rules and regulations must be followed, with little leeway
  • Autocratic leadership shifts responsibility away from the wider team and onto the leader, which can be beneficial during periods of upheaval
Leadershipstyles 3

Democratic leadership style:

A democratic leader tends to take a balanced approach to leadership, employing a mixed input from themselves and their team. These leaders place emphasis on sharing responsibility, feedback and creative input from all members.

One of the many advantages of democratic leadership is this style’s ability to collaborate, which helps to grow trust amongst a team. As well as building trust, because everyone is given the opportunity to participate, it can lead to additional ideas, more creative solutions to issues and a better company culture.

Findings by Linkedin state that this leadership style is one of the most effective, due to its all-encompassing nature. Democratic leadership can be highly effective because of its well-rounded approach to decision making, team input and company morale.

When leading democratically, you may find that your teams feel less pressure from above, with a greater sense of being supported.

Benefits:

  • A democratic leader’s approach takes a well-balanced attitude to leadership, which gives the team opportunities to grow and develop
  • The middle ground approach helps to heighten creativity and build trust.
  • Its key factor is the emphasis on collaboration (which 75% of employees site as being very important)

Laissez-Faire leadership style:

Sharing many of the characteristics of democratic leadership, but with even less input from above, the laissez-faire leader is said to operate with the most leeway, giving their teams flexibility and the chance to take control themselves.

Utilising this form of leadership can help to take ideas and creativity from all areas of the business, which can massively benefit new and progressive companies. Focusing on the strengths and creativity of your team, this style places emphasis on all the beneficial qualities of your workforce and helps to harbor a strong environment.

Giving your team members this much autonomy allows them to learn from experience whilst boosting their skills on the job. It can be great for problem-solving.

Whilst it has been said that this attitude is adopted by transformational leaders, this type of leadership may not be suitable for some sectors or professions. Due to the high level of independence amongst staff, this style is preferable for forward-thinking cultures without strict regulatory bodies.

Laissez-faire approach particularly works well with modern startups, where the culture emphasizes input from all. Ultimately, as a hands-off approach to leadership this style cannot be utilised by all industries.

Benefits:

  • The laissez-faire style of leadership gives teams the greatest freedom to evolve and develop in their roles
  • This style of leadership opens up the door for creativity and fresh input
  • It gives your teams the opportunity to lead by example, without overreliance on leadership

The verdict

No matter the leadership style, we’re here to support all individuals on their journey to becoming the best version of themselves.

We’ve helped countless individuals through our hub of experts and pride ourselves on providing lots of helpful resources to leaders alike. Learn more about leadership and other management tips on our blog here.

If you’re ready to take the first step to learning more, explore our experts and book a free Virtual Coffee here.

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