Leadership Styles: Meaning and Types of Leadership Styles

An integral part of management and in most aspects of human life and endeavour is leadership. Leadership could mean different things in different context. A leader is someone who leads, someone who inspires confidence, motivation and passion in his/her followers; a leader has a vision and set paths towards achieving said vision; a leader ensures his/her has the necessary tools and support needed to actualize their personal and collective dreams.

A leader is both creative and empathetic; someone who strives for consistent improvements. A leader harness the tools and resources at his/her disposal to achieve the collective goals and ensure optimum benefits for the greater good. A leader asks those rather difficult and seemingly scary questions, seek answers to them embraces innovations and critical, outside-the-box thinking while being opened to honest feedbacks and criticism and ensuring transparency and accountability. Having talked about who a leader is, this article centers on leadership styles, its meaning and the various types of leadership styles available.

Leadership Styles: Meaning and Types of Leadership Styles 1

Key characteristics of a leader

  1. A leader must have a vision. This is invaluable as the welfare of the followers and organization as a whole, rests on the shoulders of the leader because of the confidence and trust reposed in him/her as capable of leading them towards the achievement of the set goals.
  2. A leader must have a sense of purpose. He/she should be able to examine his/herself and ask these questions: why am I leading? What is my purpose for leading? What do I stand to achieve in this leadership task? A leader with a sense of purpose give gives the followers added confidence that their trust bequeathed in him is not misplaced.
  3. Motivation. A leader should be capable of motivating his/her followers towards creating values and achieving goals. There are bound to be times when team members will feel tired and bored and intensely lacking in motivation to carry on. A good leader will be able to, at such times, rally together the team and get them dreaming and believing again and working towards the goals and objectives set down for the team.
  4. A leader ought to be empathetic. Being capable of aligning with and relating with the human sides of his/her followers is a key attribute of a good leader. Being able to understand, listen and share, show an appreciation for the efforts of their followers.
  5. Constantly striving for improvement. A good leader can not afford to relent on applause of his/her previous performance and feats but must be constantly trying to improve and do better, a striving for perfection.

Understanding who a leader is, set the stage for understanding the various leadership styles and which best to adopt as fitting a personality.

Leadership Style: What does it mean?

Styles of leadership refers to the approach and manner of providing direction, implementing plans, and motivating people. Observed from the perspective of the team/group members, it includes the total pattern of explicit and implicit actions performed by their leader. John Kotter defined the term leadership styles as the methods of leaders in providing direction, executing plans and motivating their followers. According to Wikipedia, leadership style is a leader’s method of providing direction, implementing plans, and motivating people. From the foregoing, three key words stands out when defining leadership styles: provide, implement/execute and motivate.

Recommended:  Oduduwa University JUPEB Admission Form for 2022/2023 Academic Session

Leadership style also refers to the behavioral patterns that a leader adopt to influence the behavior of his followers, that is, the way he/she provides clear and concise directions to his/her team/group members and motivates them to accomplish the given objectives.

8 Types of Leadership Styles

There are various types of leadership styles. They are:

1) Democratic or participative leadership

In this style of leadership, the leader empathize with and appreciate the opinions and views of his/her followers. There is freedom on the side of the followers to contribute to discussions on policy making and directions; have a say in decision making. The leader basically tells his/her followers “come let’s solve this together”. The followers or subordinates thus feel included, engaged and motivated to contribute. Ultimately, it is the leader who has the last word in the decision-making processes. Members of the team feel engaged in the process and are more motivated and creative. Here, the leaders encourage active participation of the followers in their leadership style through consensus building thereby making followers feel like they are an important part of the group and this aid in fostering commitment to the goals of the group. This style of leadership has been found to be the most effective. The major upside to this leadership style is that the follower feels a part of the team, feels like he/she has a voice in the team, a voice that is respected and appreciated and considered. The major downside to this leadership style is that it is time-consuming and hence tend to delay decision making.

2) Authoritarian or autocratic leadership style

This type of leadership style is the direct opposite of the democratic leadership style. In this type of leadership, one man runs the show, takes key decisions, most times without inputs from the followers or subordinates. It grants the leader the freedom to force on expectations and define outcomes. A one-man show can be successful in situations when a leader is the most knowledgeable in the team. Even though this is an efficient leadership style in time-constrained periods, creativity will be sacrificed since input from the team is limited. This style of leadership is a good one when the circumstances demands accurate and quick decisions and decisive actions but it creates dysfunctional and even hostile environments, often pitting followers against the domineering leader. A major upside to this leadership style is that time wastage is reduced and decisions are taken at set time. It removes the bureaucratic bottlenecks usually encountered in the  democratic leadership style.

3) Delegative/Laissez faire leadership style

In this type of leadership, total freedom is granted to the followers and subordinates in the area of decision making for the entire group. Group leaders offer little or no guidance to the subordinates, thereby resulting in a direction-less group and group members having to turn on each other as a result of mistakes and failings emanating from group decisions and discussions. This type of leadership style gives the widest amount of flexibility and innovation for the followers and it is mostly successful in situations where members of the group are competent and experienced. The upside to this leadership style is the copious amount of flexibility and freedom accorded to the group members. The downside to this leadership style is that adapting to change might prove difficult. This type of leadership style has often been associated with low productivity and overall group members satisfaction

Recommended:  O’Level and UTME/DE Subjects Combination For Physical Education and Recreation

4) Transformational leadership style

In this style of leadership, the followers are motivated and inspired to key into the vision of the leaders and work towards mutually achieving the set goals of the group. This leadership style pay more attention on setting high goals with strict deadlines and working in unison to accomplish them on time. In this way, transformational leaders set challenging expectations for themselves and the team to achieve exceptional results. Transformational leaders tend to be emotionally intelligent, energetic, and passionate and are not only committed toward helping the organization achieve its set goals, but also striving to ensure that group members fulfill their potentials. The major upside here is that employee turnover rate is minimized and also ensure a boost in their morale. The major downside of this leadership style is that protocols and conventions, regulations, could be subverted.

5) Charismatic leadership style

This style of leadership involves where a leader utilizes his/her charisma and charms to bring the group member together, set a vision, a course of action that the followers/team members follows. These set of leaders are brimming with confidence, passionate and self-motivated. This leadership style is considered less-favorable as the success or failure heavily relies on the leader and its impact. It is often perceived as more of a one-man show than a collective team effort.

6) Transactional leadership style

This style of leadership is akin to the “carrot and stick” approach. In this leadership style, clear goals and objectives are set and team members are aware as to how they stand to be rewarded for their compliance and participation towards achieving the goals and objectives. This leadership style concerns itself more with following established routines, conventions, procedures and regulations in a manner that is efficient rather than trying to engineer new changes. In this type of leadership style, the leader, in exchange for a certain level of compliance and performance, the leader identifies the needs of the team members and gives rewards and incentives to satisfy those needs.

7) Strategic leadership style

This style of leadership is one where the leader has the capability and the potential to set the vision for the organization and be capable of rallying together the followers/group members toward actualizing the set vision and ensuring that necessary tools and strategies needed to see this done are put in place. Wikipedia view this leadership style thus: “Strategic leadership is the ability to influence others to voluntarily make decisions that enhance the prospects for the organization’s long-term success.” Team members in this leadership style are experienced and well equipped to properly and conveniently deal with unforeseen risks and threats.

8) Paternalistic Leadership Style

This style of leadership is one where the leader play the role of a father to the team members. The leader is a father figure and takes cares of the followers much the same way a father will. He shows complete concerns for his followers and their struggles, emphasize with them and in return receives their complete loyalty and trust. Group members under this style of leadership are expected to become fully committed to the ideals and beliefs of the leader, thereby diminishing any prospects of independence. As a result of the trust and loyalty bequeathed to the leaders, employees turnover is minimal as employees are energized and encouraged to fully commit to the group/team for the long term. The major downside to this leadership style is the problem of favoritism as the leader could become predisposed and biased towards a team members and allowing said team member to influence group decisions.

Recommended:  109 Project Topics Under Financial Accounting (2022)

Authoritarian leadership style is not always so bad especially in situations demanding tough and firm willpower and strength of will to get the necessary things done that will ensure the achievement of group’s goals and objectives. If a leader feels the need to be authoritarian so as to bypass the numerous bureaucratic bottlenecks that are likely to impede actualization of group goals, then such a leadership style can be adopted.

Similarly, if the leader feel utmost confidence in the team members as being experienced and capable of making and handling group decisions, he/she can adopt the laissez faire leadership style and grant as much freedom to his/subordinates.

Using a system of reward and punishment for compliance and disobedience, a leader can rally his/her team members towards actualizing the set objectives and goals of the group. Team members that performs well and above board can be rewarded, which will in turn further motivate them to do more and better. Similarly, errant and non-performing group members can be accordingly punished to serve as a warning and lessons to others and thereby put them in line. This will help ensure discipline and orderliness in the team. This is the basis of the transactional leadership style. On the other hand, the leader can rally the team members behind the set goals and objectives of the team through his/her charm and charisma. Team members will invariably be drawn towards working with and under such a leader because they are confident and trust that the leader know what he/she is doing.

So far, it can be seen that the various leadership styles work for various people in various situations. A good leader will be able to tacitly combine the attributes of all or at least most of the leadership styles and apply same to his/her leadership role. There is an important need for flexibility as a leader while at the same time ensuring a considerable level of firmness, responsibility and accountability in leadership.

error: Schoolings is protecting this content !!