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Which Of These Five Different Styles of Leadership Are You?

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There is a lot that your leadership style says about you.

Often, when thinking of the kinds of leaders out there we bring them down to three categories, the bad leaders, the good leaders and the great leaders.

Truth is, there are multiple different styles of leadership and each have their strengths, weaknesses and how effective they are can completely depend on the work environment that they are being exercised in. Here are 5 of the most commonly seen leadership styles in business today. Read on to see which of these leadership styles most accurately describes you.

Autocratic Leader:
Autocratic leadership characteristics involve individual control of the company decisions, with little to no input from group members. Rarely will autocratic leaders make decisions based on the thoughts and advice of others.

The person in charge has complete authority and monitors the team and their work performance very closely. This style of leadership can be an effective one when there is very little room for error i.e. if work conditions are dangerous, or if the team members are inexperienced and need significant training.

In many work environments, this style of leadership is often described as micromanagement as it is suffocating and rigid. This environment can cause tension within the work environment. Ideally, this style of leadership is better suited for the military or construction work where error can result in a team member being harmed.

Democratic Leader:
In complete contrast to an autocratic leader, a democratic leader is a highly inclusive style, encouraging team members to take involved roles in decision-making processes, and their thoughts, input and ideas are highly valued, listened to, and often implemented. This style of leadership creates a collaborative environment.

This style of leadership is an open way to lead a team, which allows for the ideas to run freely and gives everyone a seat at the table.

This is a strong style of leadership for work environments that are constantly changing and fast moving, where any idea of improvement has to be taken into consideration.

The democratic leader needs to facilitate these open conversations, encouraging people to share their ideas and opinions, and then taking all of that information in to make the best possible decision.

This leadership style is an ideal approach for work environments such as creative agencies (i.e. marketing or design), education and the service industry. Democratic leaders capitalise on the strengths and talent in their teams, however at times, it can prolong the decision-making process.

Laissez-Faire Leader:
Also known as delegation leadership, Laissez-Faire is a leadership style where the leaders are very ‘hands-off’ with their team members, allowing them to make decisions for themselves. While the leader provides the tools and resources that the team requires, they provide minimum guidance elsewhere.

The power of making decisions is handed over the team, however, the leader still takes responsibility for all decisions and actions. This form of leadership can be highly effective amongst teams of highly motivated, skilled, knowledgeable teams who are comfortable working on their own.

Since the team members are considered experts in their field, little decision-making input is needed by the leader.  It empowers team members to make their projects and their role their own.

However, Laissez-Faire is not an ideal leadership style if the team members don’t have that level of knowledge and experience and some people require more hands-on and guided approach to help them manage their projects and deadlines.

Transformational Leader:
Transformational leadership requires a leader who unites their team around a common purpose. They inspire their employees through clearly communicating the company’s vision – the contribution centric reason for its existence.

They set clear goals for the team and hold high expectations, however they are encouraging and provide support and recognition where needed. A style of leadership that encourages people to look past their self-interest, transformational works towards getting everyone on board the company’s vision, motivated and inspired enough to want to drive the business towards that.

It’s believed that this is the style of leadership that can prompt change in people who are under this leadership, as well as the social system. It encourages all employees to believe in the vision and mission of the company and to understand how what they do each day, impacts the wider company goals and influences change.

Transactional Leader:
Transactional leadership has a reward and punishment focus. They work through creating clear structures of what is required and expected from team members and the rewards they get for producing high-performance results.

They are considered leaders who are good at setting expectations in a way that maximises the productivity and efficiency of an organisation.

When they allocate work to a team member, that personal is considered to be fully responsible for that task or project and have the ability to carry out. If they don’t, they are considered personally at fault and would be punished, just as they would have been rewarded if they had completed the work to the correct standard within the deadline.

Clearly communicated rules, procedures and standards are the expectations of Transactional leaders. Although transactional leaders can be considered insufficient in allowing team members to reach their full potential, it’s a useful style in crisis mode as it assigns clear duties to people in the team, and clarity around what happens if people don’t complete what is expected of them.

Which of the above leaders are you?

Our team here at The Entourage work with business owners and people within larger organisations, to give them the skills they need to uncover opportunities, generate innovative ideas and drive entrepreneurial growth. If you’d like to chat to someone from our team about how you can become a great leader, register your interest here today. 


About The Entourage

The Entourage is Australia’s largest educator and community of entrepreneurs with over 100,000 members around the world.

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