Leadership is a practice. We are constantly changing and improving the way we lead and help our direct subordinates and the company grow. The longer we lead, the more likely it is for us to change our leadership style. A leader is no longer seen as an all-powerful individual who has the right to tell people what to do or not do. A leader is now seen as someone who can take his/her team to the next level by showing them how to get there not just telling them.

To know what your leadership style is, you have to first understand the various types of leadership styles there are. Then, you can determine which style will work best for you, given your peculiar circumstances

Type of leadership styles.

  1. Democratic Leadership Style: This is commonly known as the participative leadership style. In this style of leadership, each member of the team is equally involved in the direction of the project with the leader making the final decisions based on his team’s feedback. This style of leadership is highly effective in organisations because it allows the flow of communication between lower-level staff and higher-level staff and allows lower-level staff to exercise the authority they might need later in future positions.
  1. Coach Leadership Style: This leader focuses on nurturing the strength of each team member. Leaders that fall under this category focus on teaching or coaching their team members. They also try to find strategies that would enable their team members to work better together.
  1. Bureaucratic Leadership Style: This leader usually goes by the books. They might listen to inputs from team members but would most likely reject them if they go against the company’s policy. Bureaucratic leaders are usually found in older, larger, traditional organisations. They are usually most effective in highly regulated industries such as finance, healthcare, or government.  
  1. Transformational Leadership Style: Transformational leaders are always looking to transform and improve the company. They are constantly pushing and encouraging their team members to operate outside their comfort zone. This style of leadership is one of the most effective styles of leadership, focused on creating a thriving work culture through effective communication.
  1. Laissez-faire Leadership Style: Laissez-faire is a French word that literally means ‘let them do’ and ‘let it be’ in English. This leader delegates duties to each team member and allows them to work with little or no supervision. This leadership style allows innovation and flexibility. It works best for self-motivated and experienced individuals who don’t require lots of supervision.
  1. Autocratic Leadership Style: This leadership style doesn’t seek the team’s input before making decisions. Employees are not consulted but are expected to follow through on whatever decision the leader takes. This leadership style stifles creativity and makes the team feel confined. This leadership style is highly ineffective in the workplace, although it can be useful in organisations with a very strict guideline or compliance–heavy industries.
  1. Transactional Leadership Style: This leader offers a form of reward for a job well done and disciplinary action for failures. There is usually a predetermined incentive such as bonuses for marketing teams when they meet a target. Transactional leaders are focused on mentorship, instruction, and training to achieve goals and enjoy benefits.
  1. Strategic Leadership Style: This leader can express a vision for the organisation and can convince the team to pursue this vision with the right tools and strategies. This leadership style can create more leaders.
  1. Pacesetting Leadership Style: This leader is focused primarily on performance. She tends to set high standards and hold her team members accountable for meeting them. This leadership style is not best for teams that require mentorship.

Leaders can have a mix of the various styles listed above, depending on their industries and the type of challenges they face. There are a dozen of other styles but these are some of the most common ones. It might get a bit confusing trying to figure out what type of style to implement in different scenarios, but knowing your personality, the personalities of your team members and the type of style that resonates with you best, it might be easier.

As a team lead or manager, what leadership style do you practise? Tell us in the comments.

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