Leadership Styles – Autocratic, Democratic, Laissez-Faire etc

The style is the way in which the leader influences followers. Leadership style is the pattern of behaviour that a leader exhibits, in influencing his/her subordinates towards the goals of an organization. A single style of leadership cannot suit different situations. Based on the situation and needs of the employee and organization, a leader can combine one or more leadership styles in influencing people towards the goals of the organization. Thus, choosing the right style, in the right situation, at the right time is the key to the success of a leader.

Leadership Styles

Broadly speaking there are three different styles of leadership:

  • Autocratic Style
  • Democratic Style
  • Laissez-Faire Style

Let’s discuss these leadership styles one by one.

Autocratic Style of Leadership

The autocratic style of leadership is also known as authoritative style or directive style of leadership, in which the autocratic leader retains most of the authority for himself/herself. An autocratic leader gives orders to his/her subordinates and expects that subordinates should give complete obedience to the orders issued. In this type, the decisions are taken by the leader without consulting others.

Democratic Style of Leadership

This style of leadership is also known as participative style of leadership. In this style, the subordinates are also involved in decision making. The democratic style of leadership can be further categorized into three types:

  • Consensus: A consensus leader makes a decision only after consulting the group members. A decision is not made final until all the members agree with the decisions
  • Consultative: A consultative leader takes the opinion of the employees before making a decision
  • Democratic: In the democratic style, the final authority of making decisions rests with the subordinates.

Laissez-Faire Style of Leadership

The Laissez-Faire leadership is also known as free-reign leadership. In this style of leadership, the decision making power is completely left with the subordinates. The leader’s involvement in making decision is minimized and the people are allowed to make their own decisions. The group members are given complete freedom in setting their own goals and achieving them, which give them complete autonomy. Employees under this leader, tend to become self-sufficient and guidance is not offered by leaders unless requested

Other Important Leadership styles

Based on the various leadership theories, some other different types of leadership styles that emerge are:

  • Bureaucratic Style of Leadership
  • Charismatic Style of Leadership
  • People-Oriented Style of Leadership
  • Task Oriented Style of Leadership
  • Servant Style of Leadership
  • Transaction Style of Leadership
  • Transformation Style of Leadership
  • Environment Style of Leadership
  • Situation Style of Leadership

leadership styles

Bureaucratic Style of Leadership

The bureaucratic leader is very structured and follows the procedures as had been established. This type of leadership has no space to explore new ways to solve problems and is usually slow paced to ensure approval of the ladders stated by the company. Leaders ensure that all the steps had been followed prior sending it to the next level of authority

Charismatic Style of Leadership

The charismatic leader leads by infusing energy and eagerness into their team members.

People-Oriented Style of Leadership

People-Oriented leader is the one that in order to comply with effectiveness and efficiency, support, train and develop his personnel increasing job satisfaction and genuine interest to do a good.

Task Oriented Style of Leadership

Task oriented leaders are those who focus on the job, and concentrate in the specific tasks assigned to each employee to reach goal accomplishment.

Servant Style of Leadership

A servant leader is the leader that facilitates goal accomplishment by giving its team members what they need in order to be productive. It is an instrument employees uses to reach the goal rather than a commanding voice that moves to change

Transaction Style of Leadership

In transaction leadership, the power is given to a certain person to perform certain tasks and reward or punish for the team’s performance.

Transformation Style of Leadership

A transformation leader is the one who motivates his team to be effective and efficient. Communication is the base for goal achievement focusing the group in the final desired outcome or goal attainment. This leader is highly visible and uses chain of command to get the job done. Transformational leaders focus on the vision. The leader is always looking for ways to ideas that moves the organization to reach the company’s vision

Environment Style of Leadership

The Environment Leader is the one who nurtures group or organizational environment to affect the emotional and psychological perception of an individual’s place in that group or organization. An understanding and application of group psychology and dynamics is essential for this style to be effective. The leader uses organizational culture to inspire individuals to and develop leaders at all level

Situation Style of Leadership

The situation leader is the leader that uses different leadership styles depending on the situation and the type of employee that is being supervised. The Situational Leadership theory of Hersey and Blanchard identifies four styles of leadership based on the relative amount of task and relationship behaviour that a leader engages in.

  1. Telling Style: The telling style is seen as highly directive as the leader pays more attention to the task and less importance to the relationship. This style can be used by leaders where the followers are unable and unwilling to take responsibility and they need the direction of leaders in clarifying the goals expected of them.
  2. Selling Style: Selling style is adopted by a leader, when the followers are unable to take the lead, but are willing and confident. In such situations, the leaders exhibit high orientation towards both task and relationship. The selling style is also very directive, but in a more persuasive and guiding manner.
  3. Participating Style: In participating style, the leaders give less direction and there is more collaboration among leaders and employees. In this style, the leader just shares the ideas, as the employees are able to do, but unwilling due to lack confidence and thus, there is high relationship and low task orientation in this style.
  4. Delegating Style: In this style, the leader just delegates the tasks to the followers and is kept informed of progress, as the followers are able to do, willing and confident to take responsibility. Thus, in this style, low relationship and task orientation is shown by the leader.

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