Different Leadership Styles

Not all leaders are the same.

In fact, there are several effective leadership styles.

Certain styles of leadership are better suited for certain situations. For example a leader in the business world would use different techniques for motivating employees than a leader running for political office trying to garner supporters.

Here is a look at some common styles of leadership.

- The indifferent leadership style where the leader has low concern for both people and production and a focus on avoiding mistakes and trouble.
Not a very innovative or even useful or leadership style.

- The opportunistic style of leadership where the leader will exploit and manipulate to look good, because the leader has a focus on personal benefit and cares neither for people nor production.
Also not a very useful leadership style.

- The accommodating leadership  where the leader has a high concern for people and a low concern for production.
An employee friendly leadership style which may or may not be productive.

- The dictatorial leadership  where the leader has a high concern for production, and a low concern for people.
Rules and punishments are used extensively and some (scared) companies resort to it in times of crisis, much like the 'dictators' of ancient Rome.

- The paternalistic style of leadership where the leader will alternate between the accommodating and the dictatorial leadership styles.
A leader using this style will support and praise, but will also discourage challenges to their way of thinking.

- The status quo leadership  where the leader has a focus on balance and compromise between company goals and workers' needs.
This approach has the typical problems of any compromise: Nobody is truly happy and greatness is seldom achieved.

- The sound (or: team) style of leadership where the leader has a high concern for both people and production.
Teamwork and commitment among employees is encouraged, and provided that the employees experience themselves as constructive, responsible parts of the company, it pretty much works.

- Transformational leadership is the primary style true leaders use and is very effective in the corporate world. A transformational leader is able to inspire co-workers and influence them towards the common corporate objective.

For this style to be effective, the leader must have won the trust of the people on his team. He must look out for their interests and act as a bridge between the team and the organization, bringing them to mutual satisfaction rather than trying to force corporate policies.

- Transactional leadership is a little different yet is also one of the effective leadership styles. Corporations often use both transactional and transformational leaders in order to meet goals.

A transactional leader is more of a manager and holds team members accountable. Rather than fostering creativity and the mutual exchange of ideas like a transformational leader, this leader sets the rules and the team members sign on with the agreement they will follow them without question. If they do not, there will be some sort of repercussion or punishment to suffer.

These two styles of leadership vary quite a bit and can be used to compliment each other to spur team members on to maximum achievements.

- Task oriented leadership has the purpose of setting a goal and achieving it without discussion or compromise.

Because team members are locked into set tasks they must perform without deviation, it can be difficult to keep them motivated. Job burnout and dissatisfaction are higher when team members don't have a voice.

- Laissez-faire leadership is much more relaxed, as its name suggests. Styles of leadership like this can easily be abused with the wrong team members.
When a leader has a hands-off approach, the other members need to be self starters and highly skilled so no supervision is needed.
The leader must offer feedback occasionally to keep the workers on the right track and keep the lines of communication open, but for the most part, team members are allowed to work on their own.

- Bureaucratic leadership: One of the effective leadership styles in situations where safety or the need to strictly follow guidelines is needed, is bureaucratic leadership. This leader focuses his efforts on making sure his people follow corporate regulations down to the letter.
Team members are educated on the regulations when they hire on and are expected to follow them without deviation.

The leader's job then is to simply monitor and make sure guidelines are followed. This type of leadership is necessary for jobs that work with machinery or chemicals but is not suited to jobs that require creativity or are knowledge based.

- Participation leadership is one of the styles of leadership that leads to employee satisfaction because they have a say in decisions about their jobs and working conditions.

They can offer input but not necessarily vote, as the leader and management have the final say for setting policies. This keeps team members motivated and invested.

This approach requires a lot more time and may make it take longer to reach goals than styles of leadership that dictate policy, but the quality of work and overall productivity are usually much better.

- Charismatic leadership is what many politicians and religious leaders use but it can also be used in the workplace.

With this style, the leader draws supporters by virtue of his innate personality. People become committed to supporting the leader who becomes more important to them than his cause.

While this can keep workers highly productive and motivated, it can backfire on management if they ever mistreat the leader or if he leaves the organization.

Leadership is directly linked to employee motivation and productivity so it has been extensively studied.

Certain styles of leaders have been found more effective in certain industries than others so it helps to know what works best to keep a company working at peak efficiency.

Effective leadership styles are important to those outside of the workforce too. Politicians must be good leaders and use leadership styles that attract supporters rather than alienate them.


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