Leadership is more complex than most people would have it. Consequently, choosing from a wide array of leadership styles should take into account this inherent complexity.


Although there are certain ways to govern, which are favoured by a majority, it is important to accept that leadership can, at times, be conducted with suppleness and flexibility, and that one must at some point shift from one leadership style to another.


For this purpose, here is a quick review, commonly explored on good management courses, of ten of the most widely recognised leadership styles in contemporary organisations.


1. Transactional Leadership

This kind of leadership primarily works under the premise that employees are motivated by specific and agreed benefits, and that they are most likely to perform with utmost competency and consistency once these transactional returns are maintained.


2. Autocratic Leadership

Transactional leadership, practised to the extreme, becomes an autocratic leadership style. With this leadership style, subordinates are rid of any right, or opportunity to take part in decision making processes and other key organisational functions. They are merely expected to deliver their exact job requirements, while the leader takes on absolute command over his or her jurisdiction.


3. Charismatic Leadership

Charismatic leadership styles focus on employee motivation. The only setback inherent to this leadership model is how charismatic leaders, at times, could lean toward self-absorption as opposed to genuine confidence for their team.


4. Bureaucratic Leadership

Work environments or jobs in which there is a need for strict adherence to established rules and regulations, a bureaucratic leadership style can be observed, may it be for productivity, safety, or security purposes. Bureaucratic leaders conduct their operations by-the-book.


Leadership gives direction
Leadership gives direction


5. Democratic Leadership

The antithesis of both the autocratic and bureaucratic leadership styles is the democratic or, sometimes known as, participative leadership style. This style offers team members the opportunity to express their own leadership skills. Leaders that adopt this style recognise the power of creativity and employee engagement, in maintaining consistent and excellent team performance.


6. Laissez-Faire Leadership

Laissez-faire is a French phrase that literally translates to leave it be. As its name clearly states, this leadership style is characterised by utmost leniency on the part of the leader or manager. Employees are mostly left to their own devices, but are nonetheless expected to deliver their required outputs.


7. Task-Oriented Leadership

Closely linked to autocratic leadership, a task-oriented leadership style zeroes in on a specific goal and its required action plans. In this type of leadership, deadline and output quality are of the essence and these are used as the exact barometers of employees’ merits.


8. People-Oriented Leadership

On the opposite end of task-oriented approach, is the people-oriented leadership style, also known as relations-oriented leadership. In this leadership paradigm, team dynamics, collaboration, camaraderie, and creativity are considered with high regard, and leaders expect utmost engagement and participation from all team members.


9. Servant Leadership

Servant leaders are characterised by unrivalled benevolence, uncompromised moral fibre, and unwavering ethics. This leadership style is noteworthy for its steadfast dedication to the needs of a group as opposed to merely focusing on the achievement of planned goals or maintenance of consistent and quality work output.


10. Transformation Leadership

One of the most recommended leadership styles by current leaders and business and organisational experts alike, transformational leadership is an approach in governance, wherein the leader consciously inspires his or her team members to maximise their fullest potentials for their growth as individuals and for the betterment of the team in general.



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Nicholas Hill
Nicholas Hill

Nicholas C. Hill is Managing Director and Principal Trainer for The Hill Consultancy Ltd, London, specialising in UK-wide public training courses in leadership and management development. Become a highly productive manager and influential leader today. Claim £100 off the list price on any two-day course. Promotional code: PASSION0213. Visit the website or call now to find out more or request a FREE consultation. T: 020 7993 9955 W: www.nicholashill.com





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