8 Most Familiar Leadership Styles

A detailed description of different leadership styles along with a thorough analysis of action logics is given. Read on and you can analyse your own styles of working!

“Learning and leadership are indispensable to each other.”

 —John F. Kennedy

 

Leaders have their own operating styles. Extensive research conducted in the mid-twentieth century has given us a refined classification of different leadership styles today. There are eight most familiar leadership styles classified based on various qualities and methods a leader will employ.

 

What are the types of leadership?

Before digging into the various leadership styles, let us understand leadership and leadership skills to conclude the best leadership style.

In 2021, with advancing technology and soaring competition, leadership approaches will also need an update! Learning strategic leadership styles can effectively transform an organization. Let’s start with some basics:

Influencing and motivating a group of people or an organization where one willingly strives to achieve specific goals is leadership.

In our day-to-day life, whenever we hear success stories of individuals or organizations, we are instantly reminded of their leaders. Where would Microsoft stand if it weren’t for Bill Gates, or what would have been Reliance Industries’ position without the Ambani? All the more, how would 2021 look like if it weren’t for the countless efforts of a myriad of leaders!

A detailed description of different leadership styles along with a thorough analysis of action logic is given. Read on and you can analyze your own styles of working!

 

Leadership Styles

As leadership styles are the classifications of how a person behaves while leading a group, here are the different types of leadership styles in a detailed account:

 

1. Democratic Leadership

2. Strategic Leadership Style

3. Coach Style Leadership

4. Laissez-Faire Leadership

5. Transactional Leadership

6. Transformational Leadership

7. Bureaucratic Leadership

8. Autocratic Leadership

 

Democratic Leadership

Democratic Leadership

 

In this leadership style, a leader finalizes a decision after taking his/her team members’ input. Democratic leadership has an advantage over other leadership styles as here every member can exercise authority and learn to use their power wisely.

Let’s take an example:

When board meetings are organized under a democratic leadership style, there is considerable room for open discussions. The leader keeps in mind the various feedbacks or can even encourage voting.

It is one of the best leadership styles and effective in 2021’s work environment.

 

Strategic Leadership Style

Strategic Leadership Style

Under this leadership style in management, a strategy is maintained, while keeping its growth room and central operating sections in mind. Strategic leadership style is at an intersection of administrative interests and a stable working environment.

Consider an office where a diverse set of employees work. If we picture an example of strategic leadership style, we visualize an office where a balance is maintained, and the workload is managed to attain deadlines while supporting employees.

It is a common leadership style and proves to be effective in 2021 too. A strategic leadership style in management can get problematic when too many employees are supported at the expense of growth opportunities.

 

Coach Style Leadership

Coach Style Leadership

 

 

 

In the list of leadership styles, coach-style, as the name suggests, is based on the leadership skill where the leader motivates and nurtures their employees’ strengths. Thus, there is considerable focus on every member of the team. Teamwork is promoted, and better strategies are made for a team as a whole. This leadership style is very similar to the democratic and strategic leadership styles.

Let us look at an example:

A company is set up where coach-style leadership is practiced. Here, a team is considered as a working unit. Team members work on their skill set and do not need to achieve similar goals. A stronger and efficient team gets created where members work together with their unique qualities.

Leaders under this leadership style often provide their employees with newer goals and guidance. A better workplace gets created, and one can work on mastering their respective skills. Moreover, team members are also motivated to push their comfort zone and learn new tasks from their team members.

It is a very effective type and one of the best leadership styles that will work effectively in 2021.

 

Laissez-Faire Leadership

Laissez-Faire Leadership

 

Laissez-Faire is a type of leadership style where there is the least intrusion. The term is French for “allow to do”. Employees are allowed to work according to their design, and there is minimal interference. This leadership style in organizations can yield innovation.

Here’s an example:

Laissez-Faire is usually common in a young start-up company where there is flexibility regarding working hours and deadlines. Employees are trusted that they would stay focused on their own.

Among the rest of the list of leadership styles in organizations, the Laissez-Faire style can empower employees, but if it’s not kept in check, one can lose pivotal opportunities. It is sometimes seen to be effective among the different leadership styles.

 

Transactional Leadership

With growing flexible workplaces, transactional leadership style has become more common among the various leadership styles. In this, employees are rewarded for the work they have done. There are incentive plans delivered beforehand to the employees.

An example of this type of leadership style:

In marketing, a team gets a scheduled bonus for the amount of work they have done quarterly. As more targets are achieved, more incentives are rewarded by the company.

This type of leadership approach is usually seen in marketing and is quite a common one. It can prove to be effective sometimes. One of its drawbacks is that it can lead to bare-minimum work as individuals get to know their efforts’ designated value.

 

Transformational Leadership

Transformational Leadership

 

Among the list of leadership styles, the transformational leadership style is when employees are consistently motivated to get out of their comfort zones. A well-organized schedule of goals and their respective deadlines are usually assigned regularly under management’s leadership style. A well-suited leadership style for a growth-oriented organization, transformational leaders, can sometimes lose track of individual learning capabilities and create a stressful workplace instead.

For example:

A growth-minded company with a transformational leadership style sets compulsory online courses for everybody to be completed within five days. Employees need to follow the deadlines and are assigned new tasks afterwards.

This type of leadership style can sometimes prove useful and ensure the growth of a startup.

 

Bureaucratic Leadership

Bureaucratic Leadership

The bureaucratic leadership style is where a leader goes by the books for day-to-day managerial tasks. Leaders tend to listen to employee feedback, but new ideas are not always welcomed. Most of the time, ideas get rejected because they interfere with company policies or customary practices. It is a conventional type of leadership style, and it does not usually yield innovative ideas.

New strategies, when are suggested, are not encouraged by bureaucratic leaders. This kind of leadership style is commonly seen in already well-established companies.

Looking at an example, a company’s bureaucratic leaders let employees speak freely, but not all the discussions come to a valid conclusion. An employee’s innovative and eco-friendly idea declined by a firm because it was considered a wastage of time and resources, comes under this type of leadership style.

Such leadership styles are not usually effective and won’t be sustainable in 2021. With modernization and a rise in competition, innovation is a must for successful businesses.

 

Autocratic Leadership

Autocratic Leadership

Autocratic leadership style is opposite to democratic, which means decisions taken are solely in the leader’s hands. There are minimal discussions and, therefore, no employee involvement.

An example under this leadership style would be as follows:

When an office’s working duration is increased without any feedback of the affected employees or when schedule changes are made with no employee involvement, it comes under an autocratic leadership style.

This leadership style in organizations is unsustainable in today’s workplace.


Assessment:

Leaders, just like everybody, are not always the same and do react differently in different situations. They carry a blend of leadership styles which vary as per the challenges faced by leaders.

 

Action Logics

Action Logics are the root of the various leadership styles. The way leaders respond to certain problems when their security and power get challenged is their action logic. These eventually determine the different types of leadership styles a leader will exercise.

Some important action logics for a leader to assess their leadership styles are:

● Individualist
An individual who is creative, self-aware, and focuses mainly on self-development rather than on the organization as a whole is an individualist. There is a determination to improve one’s skills and achieve personal goals. They are intuitive. For easier communication, they tend to find people they can comfortably relate to.

● Strategist
A strategist human tends to be aware of the environment in which they work. Apart from that, they can evaluate procedures and structures carefully and point out the things that can be improved. They believe in the growth of the organization, along with the individual progress of the employees. Arguments are a part of the process, and they support freedom of speech and innovative ideas.

● Opportunist
Opportunists have a hard time trusting others and tend to keep a thorough check on their employees. They are usually very competitive and believe in payback. Opportunists are controlling in nature.

● Alchemist
The quality that distinguishes Alchemist individuals from an Individualist and a Strategist is the potential to see the big picture in everything. They focus on minute details. Under their leadership, no section or an employee of an organization is neglected. Alchemists are empathetic. They tend to create a balance between short-term tasks and long-term goals.

● Diplomat
A Diplomat is that person who does not care about the competition when compared to an Opportunist. They resist unnecessary change and prefer a smooth workflow. Diplomats tend to stay away from any sort of conflict. They can be team oriented.

● Expert
A talented individual who is well aware of his/her area of expertise and works to perform perfectly to match his/ her high expectations is an expert. They tend to be knowledgeable and contribute a considerable amount of energy to their progress.

Analysis
Analyzing the given action logics can help an individual understand the kinds of leadership styles one uses.

● Democratic leadership styles’ main action logic is the strategy, where the leader trusts his/her team to decide what’s best for them collaboratively.

● Strategic leadership styles’ primary action logic is strategy and alchemy. They tend to balance their short-term targets and future goals and focus on overall and individual growth.

● Laissez-Faire leadership styles’ action logics are mainly diplomacy and expertise. They stay away from arguments, are team-oriented, and possess a pursuit of knowledge.

● Transactional leadership styles’ action logic is team-oriented diplomacy. They tend to support leadership capabilities.

● Transformational leadership styles’ main action logics are individualism and alchemy. These leaders respect moral values, keep a positive environment, help employees attain their most significant potential, are intuitive and self-aware.

● Bureaucratic leadership styles’ primary action logic is diplomacy. Such leaders try to resist change that can potentially cause any friction in the workplace.

● Autocratic leadership styles’ main action logics are opportunism and expertise. They are competitive and believe their opinions should be valued. They possess a pursuit of knowledge.

 

Based on these action logics, you can have a mixture of different leadership styles in management.

Here is an example demonstrating the way it works:

In case you did agree with everything mentioned in the section strategic, you probably have 2/3rd strategic and 1/3rd democratic leadership styles.

Similarly, if a person agrees with the alchemist and strategic parts where one understands that conflicts are inevitable, you probably have ½ transformational, ¼ strategic, and ¼ democratic leadership styles.

Also, it should be noted that the mentioned criteria are not hard-and-fast attributes. Every leader keeps on progressing through various leadership styles in their respective careers.

We know that it is not possible to achieve success without such eminent leaders. Any organization or a team’s achievements and success largely depends on the different leadership styles in management. But who exactly is a good leader? What skills should one possess to become a better leader? What are the leadership qualities?

The crucial question which is yet to be answered is,

“Are leaders born or made?”

Although leaders require a set of skills and experience to become better at their game, that does not mean that they inherit different leadership qualities. Nobody is born perfect! Individuals who grab the opportunity and consistently learn from the mistakes are the ones who pass with flying colours.

 

Qualities in different leadership styles:

Here are a few skills that a person should learn to become a good leader:

 

● Integrity

“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.” - Bob Marley

A leader should possess a high level of honesty and integrity. He/She should act as a role model to others and should have the power to affect people around them positively. Various types of leadership skills foster pioneers. 

 

● Knowledge

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” – Ben Franklin

A well-acquainted leader efficiently instructs his/her team. One leadership quality that a leader should possess the most is an eagerness to learn and work in a dynamic environment.

 

● Self-Awareness

“Your mind is like a gold mine, and if you dig deep, you will find something golden.” - Gift Gugu Mona

Better a leader understands himself/herself, more effective and efficient he/she can be. This will not only help in building one’s confidence but will also enhance strategic leadership skills.

 

● Communication

“Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.” - Paul J. Meyer

Effective communication and effective leadership are intertwined. Different leadership styles have this leadership skill in common. Leaders should have a clear vision.

As a part of communication, a good leader should also be a good listener. He/She should be able to listen to its subordinates by maintaining a friendly yet professional bond and should be able to counsel them whenever required.

 

● Ability to Delegate

“No person will do a great business who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit.” - Andrew Carnegie


Delegation means assigning some authority to another person to carry specific activities and is a leader’s core responsibility. The art of delegation helps in better decision-making, facilitates teamwork, and builds trust. This leadership quality supports the growth of the employees as well.

 

● Motivation Skills

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets people to do the greatest things.” - Ronald Reagan

Motivation is a necessary leadership skill as it allows a person to change, develop competencies, be creative, and get out of their comfort zone. A leader should be an effective motivator. He/She should understand his/her team’s needs and motivate them to be the best version of themselves. That can only happen via effective communication and healthy relationships between the former and the latter.

 

● Initiative

“Without initiative, leaders are simply workers in leadership positions.” - Bo Bennett

A good leader should never wait for opportunities, instead create them and use them to achieve the organization’s goals. This is because taking the initiative demonstrates insight, self-awareness, confidence, trust, and personal motivation. When a leader takes on the industry, it benefits the organization and his/her subordinates.

 

● Influence

“The key to successful leadership is influence, not authority.” - Ken Blanchard

Being able to convince people to do a certain thing/job by emotional, logical, and cooperative means is one of the many leadership skills. This is because influence is built upon a foundation of trust. It also motivates the employees to be better at their jobs. A leader who can influence and motivate his/ her employees is the one who can maintain a healthy relationship with them. If a leader is not trusted, it can limit his/her ability to progress.

 

● Empathy

“The highest form of knowledge is empathy.” - Bill Bullard


Empathy is a very critical part of emotional intelligence. It is a leadership quality that helps create an environment where there is open communication without any barriers. Moreover, being empathic also helps the leader to understand the employee’s situation effectively.

 

● Respect

“Knowledge will give you power, but character respect.” - Bruce Lee

A leader must be respectful to others. This mere gesture can ease stress, build trust, create an effective work environment and cultivate a healthier society. A regardful superior can nurture an innovative workspace.

All that matters on the grassroots level is that a person keeps learning from everyday situations and tries to analyze and experiment with different ideas. Small deeds matter. Working your way up the ladder step by step will yield extraordinary results. Persistence is the key. Practice and presence of mind help an individual become a better leader, a better mentor, and a far better team player. Everything takes time and effort.

 

Conclusion:

As the world evolves, so does our understanding of human behavior. Research and experimentation have helped us grow and transform into better beings. With the upcoming technology-centered society, everybody needs to become better in their fields to survive and flourish. Leadership skills need enhancement too. After getting to know the answer to the question -
“What are the types of leadership?”, one can analyze their capabilities and potential.

Acquiring better leadership qualities to become the kind of leader who promotes a positive environment and has a thorough understanding of his/her field is mandatory. With experience and awareness, one can master different leadership styles and can use them for his/ her benefit.

In 2021, a post-pandemic era, leaders need to shift to better leadership styles to enhance productivity with minimal friction. Innovation and creativity are essential for an organization’s progress. Changing with the ever-changing world is necessary to sustain in the fast-paced 21st century.

Anyone can learn and practice the art of leadership. It takes courage, resilience, strong will, and hard work to become better at different leadership styles. So, it is now time to answer the unanswered question:

Are leaders born or made?

In my opinion, leaders are made, and it is worth the effort!

 

You may also read: Best Jobs for Women

 

Author Bio:

Karunjit Kumar Dhir, Co-founder, SCIKEY

SCIKEY     LinkedIn

Karunjit is an entrepreneur, award-winning business leader, and Co-Founder of SCIKEY – a market network for jobs, work business solutions, supported by an integrated services ecosystem. He enjoys building great teams businesses ground-up and has scaled multiple million-dollar businesses from scratch, with customers across India, Asia and the US.

He is a Post-Graduate in Planning Entrepreneurship Management and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Applications where he was an awarded merit scholar for all the academic sessions. He has been featured in 70 Rising Personalities on LinkedIn in Malaysia by Marketing in Asia(MIA) and has various other professional achievements spanning his career, including CEO’s Award, Allegiance Award, Outstanding Contribution, and many more accolades for his accomplishments.


Karunjit Kumar Dhir

6 Blog posts

 Comments
Gaurav Mishra 1 year ago

Great insights! Very informative post to understand the different leadership styles.

Alok Kumar 1 year ago

Excellent article