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Leadership is not a fluid practice; therefore, there is no one style to leading. There are different styles to lead. Though it is possible to say a leader is autocratic in his leadership style, it is also possible for a leader to exhibit more than one style.

Different situations warrant different styles, and a true leader would know what style to use for different situations.

In this blog post, I’ll be sharing seven common styles of leadership and ways to find your own style.

  1. Autocratic leadership 
  2. Democratic leadership
  3. Laissez faire leadership
  4. Strategic leadership
  5. Transformational leadership
  6. Coach-style leadership
  7. Transactional leadership
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Autocratic Leadership

The autocratic style is also known as authoritative leadership. This kind of leader dictates how things should go; he is strict about what he wants and how it should be done. An autocratic leader is known with the sentence “Do as I say”. He gives instructions and wants them followed to the end.

An autocratic leader has absolute power and control over his followers. He rarely asks or makes use of input from others. He makes most of the decisions and gives the method or processes of how things should be done.

Although this style of leader is usually seen as a dictator or bossy, it can be beneficial in some situations. In cases where the followers are new or clueless, a leader could take on the autocratic style. Also, if the leader is an expert on the task at hand, he can be authoritative.

Autocratic leadership could pose a hindrance to creativity in teamwork. Because the leader rarely asks for the team’s input, members would be limited in doing things creatively.

You could be an authoritarian if you are fond of dictating the affairs of things in a “do as I say!” manner.

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Democratic leadership

The democratic style is characterized by active participation in decision making on the part of the followers. Here, the leader involves the other members. He’s a listener and encourages his members to contribute. A democratic leader considers his team members’ contributions.

This style of leadership is usually encouraged in every setting because it allows creativity and communication.

In a democratic setting with a demonstrating democratic style, team members are carried along in the decision making and process. They are allowed to come up with ideas and be creative. In this situation, it is easier to get the optimum way of solving problems. 

This style of leadership also fosters good communication between the leader and his members. The work environment is friendly and positive.

Laissez-faire

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines laissez-faire leadership as:

A philosophy or practice characterized by a usually deliberate abstention from direction or interference, especially with individual freedom of choice and action.

merriam-webster

This style is the opposite of the autocratic style. The subordinates are mostly in charge. Leaders leave most or all the tasks to their subordinates to do in a manner they choose, without giving strict policies.

In the situation where the leader displays the Laissez-faire style, team members are allowed to do as they like. This could be because the leader trusts the members or because he is new on the job.

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Strategic Leadership

A leadership style that intersects between the central hub of a company’s operations and its growth rates is strategic leadership. This is quite desired by many organizations because strategic thinking annexes different types of employees at a spine.

Another aim of strategic leadership is to erect an atmosphere that enables workers to forecast the company needs relative to their job. It creates environments in which employees can expand and utilize their ideas.

Strategic leadership revolves around perception, inventiveness, and planning to help employees in realizing personal and company objectives and goals. It offers objectivity and a potential dip into the bigger picture.

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership is a highly encouraged style of leadership among growth-driven companies as it offers employees the incentives of what they are capable of delivering. This involves cracks of innovations and the introduction of new ideas to spark up developmental process in a team of a company.

But transformational leaders can risk losing sight of individual adaptation curves if direct reports are not followed by proper assessments to put them through new responsibilities.

Transformational leadership devotes volumes of energy to unravelling an organization’s goals, as this style is suitable for handling many delegated tasks driven by a commitment to the goals.

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Coach-Style Leadership

The coach leadership style is one of the most advantageous for leaders as well as the team they lead. The leader is keen on the identification and nurturing of each team member’s strengths and weaknesses.

Instead of forcing all employees to focus on particular skills and goals, this leader builds a team where an individual has expertise and mastery over different fractions and effectively synergizes them.

Over time this leader targets building strong teams that can collaborate well and enhance each other’s unique expertise as productivity is ensured.

Managers with this leadership style assist employees to improve their capacities by assigning them tasks coupled with proper guidance and follow-up to discuss constructive feedback.

Transactional Leadership

Transactional leadership is quite adopted in recent times. These leaders are laser-focused on performance, as the leader employs reward as motivation for members to get the job done.

A transactional leader establishes predetermined incentives usually in the form of monetary reward for success and disciplinary action for failure.

The leader facilitates the achievement of goals; through short-term goals, perks, and clearly defined structure. This style is a sniper goal-getter, and it has been adopted by CEOs to pull employees’ energies into an overload of tasks to yield outputs that are larger than supposed.

But if repeatedly deployed, it might result in workers having wrong motives and passion for offering their services and also reduces effectiveness.

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DISCOVERING YOUR STYLE

There are some right and wrong ways to lead. Discovering the right form of leadership that works makes you a better leader. You may be diving between a mixture of styles, but a more precise approach to leadership prevents confusion from setting in.

When you know the style that suits you, you can easily manoeuvre your ways to get what you want when times are hitting the rock. There are many different ways to lead a group, and you should find the leadership style that best fits you and the goals you are trying to achieve.

If you’re looking to harness your leadership abilities, here are ways to figure out what style of leader you are:

• Know Your Personality Traits

A pragmatic step to launch, if you truly want to understand the style of leader you are, is to assess your personality. Examine the prevalent characteristics of your personality, and note how they emerge as you work, make friends, and in relating with people.

Ruminate on the attributes colleagues most often ascribe to you. Assessing the scope of the characters you exhibit in these settings is a pointer to understanding how you will lead a team. This is because our behavioural traits often play a crucial role in how we make certain decisions, interact with our circles and handle matters.

Kindly use moments to ask yourself what typically motivates your actions and drives your passion. Think about how often factors such as determination, impulsiveness, and patience structure how you act and find resolutions. 

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• Know Your Values

Values are yardsticks to your standards and principles. They are concepts upon which reputations are built. People use values to gauge personalities, understand things that appease you, and evaluate what you dare condone. This depicts the way you like to be perceived and treated.

Values help you filter your circles and help determine the people you can depend on, and shoulder your future. When employees cannot identify the core values of their leader, they tend to feel suspicious of the leader’s abilities and are likely to misjudge their direction and agenda.

Respect, impact, authenticity, courage, and integrity are all core values that influence how you consciously and subconsciously lead your team. Consider what you believe and appreciate; you can effectively build on the comprehension of your leadership qualities and abilities.

• Identify Your Weaknesses

Often leaders focus too much on their strength and become unconscious of the loopholes they have to fill. Leading by your strengths isn’t always as effective as you might think. When you can understand your weaknesses you can carefully know what you can do effectively and the nuts that are hard to crack, it will help you.

Once you identify them you can use that knowledge to select the leadership style. Also when the flaws are known, you equally work on overcoming them as you annex the effect on your leadership role, and hence help inspire your team to improve themselves as well.

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• Assess Your Delegation Power.

A strong indicator of leadership lies in a person’s ability to entrust others with complex details. At times it’s difficult to let go. This is virtually true for leaders who’ve cradled a business from the scratch.

As you try to figure out what type of leader you are and formulate a way to improve your leadership style, another factor that dictates your style is the tasks you could authorize to others. This helps rate your sense of entrusting others with tasks, ranging from casual to crucial.

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Please feel free to share some of your leadership experiences and thoughts in the comments section below!

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References

https://www.americanexpress.com/en-us/business/trends-and-insights/articles/the-7-most-common-leadership-styles-and-how-to-find-your-own/

https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/leadership-styles

https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/10-common-leadership-styles

https://online.stu.edu/articles/education/what-is-laissezfaire-leadership.aspx

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