The Main Styles of Leadership in Businesses

There are 3 main types of leadership style that are globally recognised in the workplace which we have reviewed below which are at both ends of the spectrum of task management.

There are also 4 new types of leadership that have also been identified in the modern office environment that perhaps a new breed of manager falls into. All will work in the right circumstances or project to get things done quickly or to motivate a work force and staffing over a longer period of time.

About Leadership

Leadership is not to be taken lightly. Everyone needs to find the leadership style that works best for them and their subordinates. What works for your superiors may not work for you and your team. However, if you take some time and analyse different leadership styles and how they work for different personality types, you stand a much better chance of success as a leader.

The Three Classic Styles of Leadership

There are three leadership styles that are considered to be among the "classic" styles used by business leaders throughout the country. Each has its strengths and drawbacks - here are more details on each of them:

  • Laissez Faire Leadership - This is the largely hands off approach where actual direction and face time are minimised as much as possible. The key to using this method is having well trained and efficient directors who can work as intermediaries between you and your employees.
  • Autocratic Leadership - This is a leadership style that has become something of a relic in today's business environment. The reason is that most employees work better without the overbearing presence of their boss around at all times. However, there are some who would argue that the Autocratic methods are still as effective as they were in Feudal Europe - but only if properly balanced with feedback and face time.
  • Participative Leadership - The third style is to find a happy medium between the above two methods, backing off a bit to allow people to tap their creatively and think independently, while still maintaining enough control to guide the overall vision of your teams without imposing your own visions on their decisions. In short, you're giving them a much greater lead and will need to be more trusting of decisions made by your directors.

These three leadership styles form the foundation of most styles used by corporate leaders today. However, they do not necessarily encompass every philosophy on the nature of business and how leadership should be handled.

Other Leadership Styles

Other leadership styles that are popular in a number of fields, or that have been popular in the past include:

  • Situational Leadership - This has leaders using their leadership skills in different methods depending on if the situation calls for task or relationship oriented decisions.
  • Transactional Leadership - This style has you getting things done within the current methods accepted by the industry. This is basically what you'd call a "by the book" management style.
  • Transformational Leadership - The opposite of Transactional, Transformational Leadership revolves around breeding change in as many ways as possible.
  • Strategic Leadership - Many large corporations, as well as the armed forces, use this leadership style - essentially working to outwit an opponent at every step.

Leadership is not something to be stepped into lightly, and if it does not come to you naturally, as is the case for many new managers or business owners, it's important to spend some time determining which method of leadership will work best. If you know the culture of your particular business well, this may be easier, as you need only adjust to the needs of your employees. However, if you are moving into a new industry or an established corporation, making the right leadership decisions can be hard when you're not prepared.