Six Leadership Styles: How They Lead

Leadership styles vary widely. Authoritarian (Autocratic), Participative (Democratic), Delegative (Laissez-faire), Transformational, Transactional, and Situational leadership styles are some of the most hotly debated. When leading, encouraging, guiding, and managing a group of people, a leader will often operate in a certain way.

Politics and societal transformation can be sparked by outstanding leaders. They can inspire people to work hard, develop, and create. The moment you start to think about some of the people you admire as leaders, it becomes clear that every leader operates very differently.

Thankfully, scientists have created a variety of concepts that help us recognize and comprehend these various leadership styles.

How Do Leadership Styles Differ?

There are different categories for leadership styles, which describe how a person acts when in charge of a team. The following leadership philosophies are described in depth below:

Authoritarian Leadership

When it comes to what needs to be done, when it should be done, and how it should be done, authoritarian leaders also known as autocratic leaders set clear expectations. The command and control of the followers are the two main focuses of this leadership style. Between the leader and the followers is also a distinct separation. Without much or any involvement from the group, authoritarian leaders make decisions on their own.

When collaborative decision-making is not possible or when the leader is the group’s most knowledgeable member, authoritarian leadership is best used. When a problem requires quick judgment and immediate action, the autocratic method might be beneficial. It frequently turns followers against the tyrannical leader and tends to produce dysfunctional, if not hostile, situations.

Participative Leadership

The most effective leadership style is often participative leadership, commonly referred to as democratic leadership. Democratic group leaders provide direction, but they also engage with the group and welcome feedback from other participants.

Participant leaders promote group participation while maintaining final decision-making authority. Members of the group are more driven and inventive because they feel invested in the process. Democratic leaders frequently instill a sense of belonging in their followers, which encourages devotion to the group’s objectives.

Recall that authoritarian leadership is frequently only discussed in negative, frequently condemning, terms. The stereotype of authoritarian leaders as oppressive and closed-minded ignores the possible benefits of emphasizing rules, demanding obedience, and accepting responsibility.

Although authoritarian leadership is not always the ideal option, it can be useful and effective in situations where followers require a lot of guidance and where rules and standards must be strictly adhered to. The capacity to uphold order is another advantage of the authoritarian approach that is frequently disregarded. Democratic leadership, on the other hand, has a propensity to be concentrated on the followers and is a successful strategy when attempting to maintain relationships with others.

People that follow these leaders typically get along well, are supportive of one another, and seek input from the group when making choices.

Delegative Leadership

The least effective of the three categories was delegation, commonly referred to as laissez-faire leadership. Additionally, the members of this group were less cooperative, placed greater expectations on the leader, and were unable to function independently.

Delegative leaders leave the decision-making to the group members and provide little to no advice to them. While this approach can be helpful in instances involving highly competent professionals, it frequently results in poorly defined responsibilities and a lack of drive.

Laissez-faire leadership usually led to groups that lacked direction and individuals who refused to take personal responsibility, made less progress, and generated less work.

Transformational Leadership

This style of leadership is frequently recognized as the most effective one. This style was initially discussed in the late 1970s and afterwards developed by researchers. Positive improvements in groups can be sparked by transformational leaders through inspiring and motivating their followers.

These leaders typically have high intelligence, high energy, and high enthusiasm. They are dedicated to not just assisting the group in achieving its objectives but also in assisting individuals inside the group in realizing their full potential.

According to research, this leadership style produces better group satisfaction and higher performance than others. Additionally, a study discovered that transformational leadership increased the wellbeing of group members.

Transactional Leadership

The leader-follower relationship is seen as a transaction by those who practice transactional leadership. A person who joins the group has consented to follow the leader by accepting a position in the group. The transaction here typically involves an employer-employee relationship, with the follower executing necessary chores in exchange for financial pay.

This leadership approach has the major benefit of creating roles with distinct definitions. People are aware of their obligations and the rewards that await them. If necessary, this style enables leaders to provide a lot of guidance and monitoring.

Members of the group could be inspired to do well if they expect to be rewarded. The transactional approach’s propensity to discourage originality and creative thinking is one of its main drawbacks.

Situational Leadership

Situational leadership emphasizes how much the environment and the situation affect leadership. This is one of the most well-known leadership style. This model outlines four main types of leadership, such as:

  • Advising others on what to do.
  • Getting followers to believe their teachings and ideologies.
  • Giving group members more freedom to participate actively in decision-making.
  • letting group members make the majority of the decisions while maintaining a hands-off leadership style.