Eight Common Leadership Styles

Whether you have been a leader for quite some time or are just beginning to manage, you might find yourself wondering what styles or skills could improve your management capabilities.

Perhaps your style emulates a wonderful relationship you had with a supportive manager, or possibly it is an about-face from the techniques used by someone so critical that you avoid the comparison at all costs.

Rather than looking at just “good” or “bad” management, a recent article in The Muse, titled “What Kind of Leader Are You? Eight Common Leadership Styles (and Their Pros and Cons),” takes a look at the benefits and drawbacks of these eight styles:

1. Transactional Leadership

The transactional leader establishes a system of “rewards and penalties” in a work setting with clearly defined expectations.

2. Transformational Leadership

Leads by inspiring employees to innovate.

3. Servant Leadership

Channels energy into elevating and “developing the people who follow.”

4. Democratic Leadership

Uses participatory, collaborative methods to emphasize working together and “actively involve team members in the decision-making process.”

5. Autocratic Leadership

Uses the “my way or the highway” approach to leading, dictating not only what needs to be done, but also how.

6. Bureaucratic Leadership

Utilizes a “set list of responsibilities, as well as clearly defined rules and systems” to manage others and make decisions.

7. Laissez-Faire Leadership

Instead of micro-management, uses a completely hands-off approach by providing “necessary tools and resources” only and then letting staff members “make decisions, solve problems, and get their work accomplished” on their own.

8. Charismatic Leadership

Uses charisma and conviction to unite a team around a shared objective.

According to the article, “you absolutely can change your personal leadership style and you can do it at any time [by swapping] out ineffective habits for new ones… and practicing your new leadership style and technique.”

Suggested methods include:

  • Reflect on qualities you admire in a leader and begin to incorporate them.
  • Hold a weekly brainstorming session with your team.
  • Consider others’ opinions on a decision you need to make.

The author outlines the pros and cons of these approaches with excellent and recognizable specifics and notes that it is equally important to understand that “anyone can be a leader,” and that leadership is not simply a matter of title, role, or hierarchy. “Fundamentally,” the author writes, “a leader is somebody who influences or guides other people through their own actions and behaviors.”