leadership styles

What are different types of leadership styles?

Most often we listen about which leadership styles are best or we think of a particular leadership style as better than the others. However, every style has its own importance in a leader’s toolkit. A wise leader switches his leadership style of management depending on the situation.

Basically, there are 7 types of leadership styles. They range from the autocratic style of leadership to one end, to laissez-faire at the other end. Following are the details of these leadership styles.

Autocratic style of leadership

“Do as I say” best depict this style of leadership. Autocratic leadership believes they know more than other people and take major decisions on their own. They involve minimum suggestions from others in the organization. This style of leadership was mostly followed in the past. But still, it is appropriate in certain conditions. For example, a decision on the spot by a leader with appropriate knowledge is the best practice even today. In such a situation autocratic best suits a leader.

Authoritative style of leadership

The phrase “Follow me” best defines the authoritative style of leadership. The leader maps the ground and set expectations and then engage his followers. This style of leadership is termed Visionary leadership.

In uncertain situations, such leaders clear the way for their followers. They also explain where they are going and what is going to happen when they reach there. In a nutshell, they are clear about what they are doing and build confidence in the followers as well. They take their time to explain their viewpoint. They do not just issue orders but also give followers the right participation in achieving common goals.

Pacesetter style of leadership

“Keep up” is the phrase that best describes a pacesetting style of leadership. The leaders set a pace for the followers to follow. The leaders set high targets and push the followers to run fast to achieve those targets.

This style is appropriate in the short run but can be frustrating and stressful in the long run. Team members or followers may get tired after some time. For example, if a company wants to launch a new project, a leader can follow this style for a short span to make the project successful. But in the long run, it will not be appropriate.

leadership styles

Democratic style of leadership

The democratic style of leadership encourages the involvement of team members. Such leaders involve team members in their decision-making process. These leaders share information with followers and seek their opinion before making a final decision.

The democratic style is also known as the participative style and it encourages trust and promotes team spirit. By involving team members leaders most often get very good ideas and solutions to problems.

Coaching style of leadership

In the coaching style of leadership, the leader considers the team members as a pool of talent that needs to be developed and furnished. Such leaders unlock the potential of the people. Leaders following the coaching approach open their hearts for people. They believe that every person has talent and power within himself. Such leaders provide little direction to the people in order to furnish their talent and achieve their full potential. This type of leadership style is common in sports teams, where every team has its own coach.

Affiliative style of leadership

The phrase “people come first” best describes the affiliative style of leadership. In this style of leadership, the leader is very close and personal to the teammates. The leader forms a close relationship between him and his team members. Such leaders provide support and pay attention to the emotional needs of the followers.

This type of leadership style is followed in situations of conflict or dispute between team members or at the time of stress among people.

Laissez-Faire style of leadership

This style involves minimum monitoring and control by the leader. In this approach leaders let the members do things the way they want to do it. Leaders trust their members and allow them to manage things.

Sometimes such a hands-off approach may be risky and can result in awful results. The approach is best to practice when leaders have members who are highly qualified, skillful, and experienced.

Best style of leadership

The suitable style of leadership depends on the situation. Sometimes an autocratic can be effective whereas on the other occasion democratic can yield better results. Even in some situations, a leader can adopt different leadership styles.


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