If you are looking for the secret to running a successful business, management styles are one of the keys. Learn about the different types of leadership styles, when to use them, and how to improve your skills.
Good management makes good business. Leaders are essential in establishing and maintaining a vision for an organization and in showing leaders and employees how to bring that vision to life.
Some people are natural leaders. Others need to learn leadership skills. Most people are stronger in some areas of management than others.
If you want to become a better leader, this article is for you. It will help you understand some of the different types of leadership styles and frameworks. You will also learn when to use them and how to improve your leadership styles and skills.
defined leadership styles
When we talk about leadership styles, we mean how leaders act when leading and motivating their team members, employees or co-workers. This includes how managers behave by leading plans, developing strategies and executing them.
The importance of leadership styles
Your leadership style plays an important role in how successfully you can influence the behavior of others in your organization. As an employee motivation tool, your leadership style can help you improve your team's communication, collaboration and performance. This in turn makes it easier to position your company for business success, growth and innovation.
As CEO of General MotorsMaria Barramention that:
"If we win the hearts and minds of employees, we will have more business success."
That's why it's so important to understand the different types of leadership styles, identify your own style, and know which leadership style is appropriate and when.
9 main types of management styles and frameworks
Now let's look at some of the different leadership styles.
1. Lewin Leadership styles
- Authoritarian(autocratic). In this style, managers direct the work without much input from the team. An autocratic leader takes full control and takes charge.
- Participating(democratic). As the name suggests, the participative leadership style is about leaders who direct the work of the group, but also help. Democratic leaders encourage the involvement and contribution of team members. However, the ultimate responsibility for decision-making rests with the managers.
- delegate(laissez faire). Delegating leaders do not direct their team members and leave decisions to the group.
Developed by R.R. Blake and J.S. MoutonBlake-Mouton-Managerrasterconsists of two axes: care for people and care for production. Depending on whether you score high or low in each area, you have one of the following leadership styles:
- Manager of a country club(a lot of attention to people, little attention to production)
- impoverished governance(little attention to people, little concern for production)
- Team management(great care for people, great care for production)
- Compliance Management Authority(little attention to people, much concern for production)
- In the middle of the road control
The Blake-Mouton grid has been criticized for focusing on only two aspects of team performance.
3. Path Goal Theory
Developed by Robert J. House,road target theoryindicates that managers choose a leadership style (path) depending on the goal (goal) they want to achieve. The leader's behavior is influenced by the characteristics of the team and the environment. There are four main leadership styles within path-goal theory:
- politics, where leaders know what needs to be done and guide team members in a way that helps them achieve that goal. This works well for employees and teams that still need experience.
- supportive, where leaders empathize with their colleagues and care about their well-being. This can increase job satisfaction and boost morale.
- Result oriented, which is focused on goals and achieving excellence while having confidence in people's abilities.
- Participating, which is collaborative and involves team members in decisions.
4. Leadership style matrix
Ofmatrix of leadership styleswas created by Eric Flamholtz and Yvonne Randle. Like the Blake-Mouton Managerial Grid, this management style tool consists of a grid with four quadrants. There are two axes: programmability and autonomy. This results in the following leadership styles:
- Interactive(high programmability and autonomy AND low programmability and autonomy). Both are consultative and participative management styles.
- politics(high programmability and low autonomy), resulting in autocratic or benevolent autocratic leadership.
- non-directive(low programmability and high autonomy), leading to consensus or laissez-faire management
5. Transformational management
Although there are many different management styles,transformative leadershipis popular. Bernard M. Bass built on previous work in developing methods to measure transformational leadership, which Bass describes as follows:
"Transformational leaders help their followers become leaders by addressing the needs of individual followers, empowering them, and aligning the goals of the individual follower, the leader, the group, and the larger organization."
Bass suggests that transformational leadership consists of four points:
- Iindividual consideration
- Imental stimulation
- Iinspiring motivation,
- Iidealized influence
Transformational leaders have a high level of emotional intelligence and are good at itmanagementOpportunities.
6. Transaction management
Bass is also responsible for transactional management theory, where there are clearly defined roles and a chain of command. In this scenario, managers set the direction and employees or team members follow.
7. Situational management
Ofsituational leadershipThe model was developed by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard. Situational leaders are flexible and adaptable and encourage team members to remain the same. Like other leadership styles, situational leadership works on a grid, creating different approaches depending on how supportive or directive you want to be:
- lede(very directive, slightly supportive)
- Coaching(high guideline, high support)
- supportive(low directive, high supportive)
- Delegate(a little directive, a little supportive)
8. Bureaucratic management
bureaucratic managementIt's about having a chain of command. In contrast to autocratic leadership, where the leader controls everything. Everyone within a bureaucratic chain of command has clear roles and responsibilities. Weber's theory of bureaucratic leadership has six components:
- division of labour
- formal selection
- career orientation
- rules and regulations
9. Servant Management
The conditionservant leadershipwas created by Robert K. Greenleaf. Unlike other leadership styles, servant leadership focuses on empowering those who work for them and meeting their needs. As a result, they can unlock the potential of each employee and help employees act in accordance with the company's goals.
Advantages and disadvantages of different management styles
How are the different management styles related? Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of the leadership styles discussed above.
Lewin's management style - advantages and disadvantages
Autocratic leadership can be useful for making quick decisions and lead to higher productivity. But autocratic leaders are often seen as dictatorial. This can create a toxic work environment as employees may feel that they are against their manager. Autocratic leadership can also reduce team creativity.
Participative leadership can lead to more involvement, motivation and creativity when team members feel that their role in the team matters. However, the participative management style can lead to reduced productivity. When roles in the team are not clearly defined, it can lead to poor communication and bad decisions.
According to Lewin, delegated management leads to the lowest productivity. Unless you are dealing with highly qualified and motivated experts, the roles within the group are often unclear. Team members lack motivation. This management style can often lead to a culture of blame in the team, where employees do not take responsibility for their actions.
Blake-Mouton-Managerraster- Pros and cons
Here are the pros and cons of Blake Mouton's leadership styles:
- Running a country club can create a good atmosphere for the staff.Teams managed this way can be disorganized and unproductive.
- impoverished governance. In this management style, employees are often left to fend for themselves after tasks have been assigned. Achieving productivity targets is also not very important to the manager. This can lead to a high degree of disorganization in a team.
- Team management. The management style of team management leads to well-organized and highly motivated teams.
- Compliance Management Authority. Like Lewin's autocratic leadership, this style typically results in high productivity but low employee motivation.
- In the middle of the road control. With this management style, managers strive to reconcile the needs of employees and the company. But this approach may not be successful and results in reduced productivity without high employee satisfaction.
road target theory- Pros and cons
One of the great advantages of the path-goal theory is that it is flexible and allows managers to change their style according to the situation. This theory prioritizes employee satisfaction next to productivity. This only works if leaders are already effective and can adapt their style.
Leadership style matrix- Pros and cons
When used correctly, the leadership style matrix can empower leaders to bring out the best in their team. Therefore, it is imperative that they know their team members and goals so they can decide when to be directive, non-directive or interactive depending on the situation.
Transformational leadership- Pros and cons
Transformational leaders inspire and motivate their teams through their own integrity, self-awareness, empathy and authenticity, by recognizing all the skills individuals bring to teams and by coaching and empowering them to grow.
This type of leadership works when employees respect the leader. But this type of management can also lead to high work pressure and even burnout in some employees.
transaction management- Pros and cons
Transactional management has the advantage of clarity: people usually know what is expected of them. This type of management is also suitable for crisis situations. However, this type of management has been criticized for ignoring the emotional needs of employees and stifling creativity.
Situational leadership- Pros and cons
An advantage of situational leadership is the focus on developing and supporting team members. Another advantage is the flexibility of the system to handle different situations. This can also lead to high productivity.
This management style has been criticized for leaving most of the responsibility to the manager. Another disadvantage is the focus on short-term goals. It can also create confusion as the leadership style changes depending on the situation.
bureaucratic management- Pros and cons
One of the benefits of bureaucratic management is clarity around roles, responsibilities, policies and processes. But running everything through a chain of command can stifle creativity, innovation and personal growth.
servant leadership- Pros and cons
servant leadershipcan result in motivated and involved employees and also lead to high productivity and creativity. However, this can lead to slower decision-making and less authority for managers.
Find your management style
Do you want to know what your own leadership style is? Try one of the following tools:
What management style do you use when?
How do you know which one to choose when there are so many different leadership styles to choose from? Here are a few tips:
- as you have seenSome leadership styles work well in crisis situations.Others work for day-to-day operations. Still others focus on developing and inspiring employees and future managers. Choose your management style depending on the situation and the goal.
- You can also think about itwho is involved in a situation and who is affected by it. This can lead you to the right leadership style.
- Think about the implementation. Sometimes it's a question ofWhat you can do now. Telling people what to do can be a good short-term approach to solving an immediate need. In the long term, you may want to develop leadership styles that require more emotional intelligence.
- The 12 Greatest TED Talks of All Time (For Business Leaders in 2022) Laura Spencer27. August 2021
How to improve your management style
If you wantImprove your leadership skillsUse the above tools to determine your leadership style. You can also think about the keyleadership qualitiessuch as communication, assertiveness, empowerment, empathy, and more, and figure out which ones to work on. Besides, practice makes perfect. Look for opportunities to take the lead and develop your leadership skills.
Learn more about leadership
Do you want to know more about management? We have several interesting tutorials you might want to read:
- What is ethical leadership? How to become a more ethical leader Andrew Blackman14. October 2021
- Top 10 Leadership Skills for Entrepreneurs, Managers and Other Business Leaders Sharon Hurley Hall08. July 2020
- 7 Key Tools to Coach Your Management Team in 2022Lisa Jo Rudy24. September 2021
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Improve your leadership style today!
You have learned about the different types of leadership styles. You have discovered how you can use them effectively in different work situations. You also know how to find and improve your own management style. Now it's up to you to put what you've learned into practice and become a great leader!
Editor's note: This content was originally published in January 2022. We are re-sharing it because our editors have determined that this information remains accurate and relevant.
1. Authoritative Leadership. The authoritative leader knows the mission, is confident in working toward it, and empowers team members to take charge just as she is. The authoritative leader uses vision to drive strategy and encourages team members to use their strengths and emerge as leaders themselves.Which type of leadership style is best? ›
1. Authoritative Leadership. The authoritative leader knows the mission, is confident in working toward it, and empowers team members to take charge just as she is. The authoritative leader uses vision to drive strategy and encourages team members to use their strengths and emerge as leaders themselves.What are the 3 styles of leaders what is the best for you? ›
- The autocratic business leader. The autocratic leader understands the strength of authority. ...
- The democratic business leader. A democratic leader encourages the free exchange of ideas throughout the team. ...
- The laissez-faire business leader.
Effective leaders know that there is no one best way to manage people. Instead, they adapt their style according to the development level of the people they are managing.Which leadership style do you think is the least effective? ›
On the contrary, the least effective leadership styles are opportunist and autocratic, due to their demand for control and egocentricism.Which leadership style is best for motivation? ›
- Share a common vision and purpose. ...
- Set clear goals and expectations. ...
- Encourage employee self-development. ...
- Provide opportunities for collaboration. ...
- Foster healthy workplaces. ...
- Give positive feedback and reward hard work. ...
- Communicate effectively with employees.
Having an understanding of the different approaches can help leaders be more effective through comprehending how and why they do what they do, as well as helping them identify where and when they need to adapt their style.What are the different styles of leadership and explain each? ›
Some of the most widely discussed include: authoritarian (autocratic), participative (democratic), delegative (laissez-faire), transformational, transactional, and situational. Great leaders can inspire political movements and social change. They can also motivate others to perform, create, and innovate.Which leadership style is best for change management? ›
Transformational leadership style
Transformational leadership is a leadership style in which leaders inspire their teams and employees to work toward a needed change and guide them to become better versions of themselves.
Leadership style is a leader's approach to providing direction, implementing plans, and motivating people. In 1939, psychologist Kurt Lewin and a team of researchers determined that there were three basic leadership styles: Authoritarian (Autocratic), Participative (Democratic) and Delegative (Laissez-Faire).
Good leaders are those who talk about what needs to happen and then do something about it or have a bias for action. Leaders with a bias for action do not freeze in times of uncertainty or when a decision needs to be made. They courageously decide and act and hold themselves accountable for their decisions and actions.What is your style as a leader? ›
Your leadership style refers to the method you adopt to guide, monitor, and motivate your team. Some leaders use more than one leadership style. You should know how to use various leadership styles to suit your goals at a certain time.Which is the most difficult leadership style? ›
There are a lot of skills that make up good leadership, but there is one quality that is possibly the most challenging, that is self-awareness, because self-awareness requires you to focus on yourself—not the easiest thing to do for an outwardly focused leader.What leadership style is not good? ›
- Extreme Micromanagement. As a manager, your team's performance reflects on you. ...
- Autocratic Leadership. ...
- Neglectful Management. ...
- Indecisiveness. ...
- Playing Favorites. ...
- Poor Organization. ...
- Being Overly Critical.
There isn't necessarily one management style that is better than another; they are simply different and might be used in a variety of situations.What type of leadership is the least satisfying and least effective style? ›
According to research, laissez-faire leadership is the least satisfying and least effective.What is positive leadership style? ›
Positive leadership involves experiencing, modeling, and purposefully enhancing positive emotions. A positive leader is interested in his or her employees' development as well as the bottom line. High self-awareness, optimism, and personal integrity (Avolio & Gardner, 2005).How can a leader motivate their team? ›
These include: Encouraging team members to collaborate and work on tasks and projects together, where appropriate. Holding team-building exercises every so often to help team members bond and work together more effectively. Conducting regular temperature checks to establish the mood of the team.What is leadership in your own words? ›
In simple words, leadership is about taking risks and challenging the status quo. Leaders motivate others to achieve something new and better. Interestingly, leaders do what they do to pursue innovation, not as an obligation. They measure success by looking at the team's achievements and learning.What is your leadership style interview answer? ›
Sample answer: “Leadership is about collaboration and inspiring others to do their best work. I aim to be direct and collaborate with my team members by delegating tasks, leading by example, and making sure they know I care.”
In conclusion, understanding and embracing different leadership styles can significantly impact personal and organizational growth. Moreover, by recognizing each style's unique strengths and weaknesses, leaders can adapt their approach to suit the specific needs of their team and organization.What leadership style do managers use? ›
Authoritative leadership means a manager takes complete control of (and responsibility for) a situation. This directive leadership style can suit your team when members have little or no experience. Of course, it also becomes necessary in high-risk fields.How do you lead a team through change? ›
- Ensure that your leadership is strong before any change. ...
- Consider using outside help. ...
- Create a detailed plan. ...
- Keep your team informed at all times. ...
- Provide resources. ...
- Prioritise important tasks. ...
- Give your team members the support they need. ...
- Take time for yourself.
There are three basic styles of leadership decision-making: authoritarian, democratic, and laissez-faire. Authoritarian leaders rule their groups, democratic leaders try to include everyone in the decision-making process, and laissez-faire leaders let the group function without much - if any - interference.What are the different types of leadership in an organization? ›
A good leader should have integrity, self-awareness, courage, respect, empathy, and gratitude. They should be learning agile and flex their influence while communicating and delegating effectively. See how these key leadership qualities can be learned and improved at all levels of your organization.How to be a strong leader? ›
- Be an empathetic leader.
- Be a good listener.
- Be a model for embracing change.
- Incorporate a shared vision.
- Develop your followers.
- Communicate realistic and clear expectations.
- Learn how to handle failure.
- Continue your education.
- Mahatma Gandhi. The founding father of nonviolent protest and a staunch pursuer of peace, Mahatma Gandhi embodied a complex leadership style, espousing many of the principles of intelligent leadership. ...
- Martin Luther King Jr. ...
- Abraham Lincoln. ...
- Nelson Mandela. ...
- Winston Churchill.
What is a True Leader? Simply put, a true leader leads by example, fostering strong relationships with individuals and teams alike and ensuring that all reach their full potential while, importantly, achieving organizational goals.What 3 words would best describe your leadership style? ›
- Accountable. Accountable leaders accept the outcome of the decisions they make and address any concerns others have about them. ...
- Innovative. ...
- Decisive. ...
- Supportive. ...
- Dedicated. ...
- Objective. ...
- Focused. ...
What is leading by example? Leading by example is a leadership style where you model the behavior you want to see in your team members. When you lead by example, you don't just push team members towards excellence—rather, you actively demonstrate that excellence.What are toxic leadership styles? ›
Toxic leaders consistently use dysfunctional behaviors to deceive, intimidate, coerce, or unfairly punish others to get what they want for themselves." Toxic leaders tend to also be toxic team members and colleagues. Some are hard-working individuals and loyal to their organizations.Why do I want to be a leader? ›
You want to be a leader because a leader is, above all, a motivator. Leaders generate team morale and focus on objectives. They are a crucial part of success in almost any industry. Many leaders are also innovators that come up with new concepts or products, business objectives, or original ideas.What makes a weak leader? ›
A weak leader focuses solely on getting the job done instead of using the job as a way to help their people develop new competencies and skills. It's an ineffective leader who keeps their people playing small without investing in them, whether it's through neglect or because they see others as a threat.Who are examples of bad leaders? ›
- Adolf Hitler. Throughout history, humanity has inflicted countless instances of unspeakable cruelty, madness, and horror upon itself. ...
- Joseph Stalin. ...
- Mao Zedong. ...
- King Leopold II. ...
- Pol Pot.
A manager with an autocratic management style will then delegate work to the team member they think is best suited for the job. This is the most top-down approach to management. The advantages of an autocratic management style: It's easier to make quick decisions since there is only one decision-maker.What is the most effective manager? ›
Effective managers are always good delegators. They can distribute tasks to their team as well as ensuring that their own time is well used for management issues and important tasks. Employees that feel trusted are better placed to achieve their potential and are given an incentive to ensure that they perform well.What type of management style do you work best with why? ›
"I usually prefer leaders who have a democratic management style because it demonstrates their respect for all employees and their ideas regardless of whether they work in an entry-level position or senior-level position. Similarly, I also work well under managers who have a coaching management style.Which leadership style is considered the best quizlet? ›
Laissez Faire Leadership is most effective and appropriate for experienced, educated, and highly skilled employees.Why democratic leadership style is the best? ›
What is the importance of the Democratic Leadership Style? Democratic leadership is important because it allows every employee to voice their opinions and promotes team effort and collaboration. It is a leadership style that enhances creativity and innovation because every member gets the chance to ideate and suggest.
The seven primary leadership styles are: (1) Autocratic, (2) Authoritative, (3) Pace-Setting, (4) Democratic, (5) Coaching, (6) Affiliative, (7) Laissez-faire.Which leadership style is not effective? ›
Autocratic leadership: It is least effective because an autocratic leader takes every decision, and employees' ideas and input also matter. An autocratic leader does not take any pinion of teams. Employees, in this case, feel unappreciated, demoralized, and undervalued.What makes a good leader? ›
Good leaders possess self-awareness, garner credibility, focus on relationship-building, have a bias for action, exhibit humility, empower others, stay authentic, present themselves as constant and consistent, become role models and are fully present.What is the difference between hard leadership and soft leadership? ›
Hard leaders are competitive, data-driven and short-term focused while soft leaders are creative, collaborative, organic and long-term focused. Hard leaders take people where they want to go, while soft leaders take people where they don't necessarily want to go, but where they ought to be.What are the 2 main types of leadership styles? ›
There are typically two types of leadership: instrumental and expressive. Instrumental leadership focuses on achieving goals. Leaders who are dominantly instrumental work to maintain productivity and ensure that tasks are completed.Which type of leader is the most team oriented? ›
Democratic Leadership Style
This style is also known as participative leadership. By the very name, it is easy to conclude this style seeks the input of their team to make decisions. This leadership style can be characterized as team-oriented by their: Appreciation for diversity of thought.
Authoritative leaders, also called visionary leaders, tend to approach leadership like a mentor guiding a mentee. Instead of telling their team to follow instructions and do as they say, authoritative leaders put themselves in the scenario and utilize a “come with me” approach.Why is autocratic leadership good? ›
It gives organisations a clear chain of command
Autocratic leadership styles offer structure to organisations, establish clear rules, and can streamline communications. People who work under an autocratic leader will know exactly who to talk to and who they should ask for approval.
Democratic leadership encourages a free flow of ideas to aim for creative solutions. Overly autocratic leadership styles led to revolution, whilst under a laissez-faire approach, people did not work together and did not work as hard as they did when being actively led.Is the democratic leadership style the best? ›
Democratic leadership, also known as participative leadership, is one of the most effective leadership styles.
Modern leadership involves sharing information, creating a higher level of trust, and promoting a sense of inclusion and belonging. These leaders care and invest more time into their team members' wellbeing, career goals, contributions, and accomplishments.