Keep on reading to learn more about the most common leadership styles.
What is a leadership style?
A leadership style refers to the specific approach or manner in which a leader guides and influences their team. It encompasses the leader's behaviors, attitudes, and strategies when making decisions, communicating, and setting expectations. Leadership styles can vary widely and often reflect a leader's personality, values, and beliefs about how to achieve goals and motivate others.
Different leadership styles can be more effective in certain situations or with specific groups of people, and understanding these styles is important for effective leadership and management. Common leadership styles include autocratic, democratic, transformational, laissez-faire, servant, and more, each with its unique characteristics and principles.
Why is it important to know your own leadership style?
As a leader, having a clear understanding of your leadership style holds paramount importance. This understanding enables you to assess its impact on those you directly lead and facilitates the identification of your leadership strengths and areas in need of skill development.
While some leaders can readily categorize their current leadership style and gauge its effectiveness or how it is perceived by their employees, it's not always so straightforward. Often, leaders display traits associated with multiple leadership styles.
One effective means of discerning your leadership style is by seeking detailed feedback. Asking those under your leadership for candid and open feedback is a valuable exercise. This process allows you to refine and adjust the characteristics of your style as you carry out your day-to-day leadership responsibilities.
What are the most common leadership styles?
Autocratic (Authoritarian) leadership
Autocratic leadership, sometimes referred to as authoritarian leadership, is characterized by a top-down approach where the leader exercises complete control and authority over decision-making and expects strict compliance from subordinates, maintain a clear hierarchy within the organization or team, where their role is central, and subordinates are expected to follow orders without question. This hierarchical structure ensures a streamlined chain of command.
Autocratic leadership can be effective in situations that demand swift and decisive action. When time is of the essence, having a single decision-maker can prevent delays that might arise from a more collaborative approach.
Autocratic leadership does not provide many opportunities for skill development or leadership growth among team members. This style may hinder the professional growth and empowerment of individuals within the organization.
While it can be effective in certain contexts, it has the potential to inhibit creativity, lower morale, and create resistance among team members. Autocratic leaders should carefully consider when and how to apply this style to maximize its benefits while mitigating its limitations.
Democratic (Participative) Leadership
Sometimes known as democratic leadership, participative leadership is a leadership approach that promotes leaders' active listening to their employees and involving them in the decision-making process. This leadership style necessitates inclusivity, effective communication skills, and, notably, a willingness to share power and responsibility.
When a leader embraces a participative leadership style, it fosters collaboration through shared accountability. This typically results in a team's collective effort to identify problems and devise solutions, rather than attributing blame to individuals.
Historically, this leadership style has been widely practiced by leaders in various organizations. However, with changing work patterns accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing decentralization of teams, implementing this leadership style has become more complex.
Participative leadership is often well-regarded because it contributes to building trust among employees. By empowering and encouraging them to contribute their ideas on important matters, it demonstrates their significance to the team. Nevertheless, maintaining spontaneous, open, and candid communication, which is associated with participative leadership, can be particularly challenging in remote working or virtual team settings.
Delegative (Laissez-faire) leadership
Often termed as "laissez-faire," a delegative leadership style centers on entrusting team members with initiative. This is commonly recognized as one of the least intrusive leadership approaches, characterized by the principle of "let them do." As a result, it is regarded as a highly hands-off leadership style.
Leaders who embrace this style place their trust in their employees and depend on them to perform their roles. They refrain from excessive micromanagement and avoid extensive involvement in offering feedback or guidance. Instead, delegative leaders grant employees the freedom to harness their creativity, resources, and experience to accomplish their objectives.
This leadership strategy can prove effective when team members are skilled and take ownership of their responsibilities. Nonetheless, delegative leadership may also give rise to conflicts among team members and potentially lead to factionalism or division within the group.
Adapting to this style of leadership can pose challenges for newcomers, and staff members may grapple with determining who ultimately holds responsibility and authority for outcomes. Therefore, it is essential to exercise restraint when employing this leadership style.
Regardless of the leadership style employed, it is imperative for contemporary leaders to monitor their employees' working hours. Explore Traqq, a superlative time tracking software suitable for both large and small teams, facilitating precise and ethical time tracking.