Leadership Style

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Different types of leadership styles exist in work environments. Advantages and disadvantages exist within each leadership style. The culture and goals of an organization determine which leadership style fits the firm best. Some companies offer several leadership styles within the organization, dependent upon the necessary tasks to complete and departmental needs.

Laissez-Faire –  The laissez-faire style produces no leadership or supervision efforts from managers, which can lead to poor production, lack of control, and increasing costs.

Autocratic – This leadership style benefits employees who require close supervision. Creative employees who thrive in group functions detest this leadership style.

Participative – This style meets challenges when companies need to make a decision in a short period.

Transactional – The manager possesses the power to review results and train or correct employees when team members fail to meet goals. Employees receive rewards, such as bonuses, when they accomplish goals.

Transformational – This style of leadership requires the involvement of management to meet goals. Leaders focus on the big picture within an organization and delegate smaller tasks to the team to accomplish goals.

Narcissistic – The narcissism may be anywhere between positive and harmful. To critics, “narcissistic leadership (preferably destructive) is driven by uncompromising arrogance, self-absorption, and a personal need for power and admiration.”

Toxic – A toxic leader is someone who has responsibility over a group of people or an organization, and who exploits the leader-follower relationship by leaving the group or organization in a shoddier condition than when he/she joined it.

Task-oriented and relationship-oriented – Task-oriented leadership is a style in which the leader pays attention to the tasks that need to be performed in order to meet a certain production goal.


Gender Difference

Another factor that goes with leadership style is whether the person is male or female. When men and women come together in groups, they tend to utilize different leadership styles. Men generally take on a leadership style where they are in control of their subordinates. They are task-oriented, active, decision centric, and goal-oriented.

The Blake-Mouton Managerial Grid

The Blake-Mouton Managerial Grid was published in 1964, and it highlights the most appropriate style to use, based on your concern for your people and your concern for production/tasks.

With a people-oriented style, you focus on organizing, supporting, and developing your team members. This participatory style encourages good teamwork and creative collaboration.

With task-oriented leadership, you focus on getting the job done. You define the work and the roles required, put structures in place, and plan, organize, and monitor work.

According to this model, the best style to use is one that has both a high concern for people and a high concern for the task – it argues that you should aim for both, rather than trying to offset one against the other. Clearly, this is an important idea!

Path-Goal Theory

You may also have to think about what your team members want and need. This is where Path-Goal Theory – published in 1971 – is useful.

For example, highly-capable people, who are assigned to a complex task, will need a different leadership approach from people with low ability, who are assigned to an ambiguous task. (The former will want a participative approach, while the latter need to be told what to do.)

Charismatic Leadership

Charismatic leadership resembles transformational leadership: both types of leaders inspire and motivate their team members. The difference lies in their intent. Transformational leaders want to transform their teams and organizations, while leaders who rely on charisma often focus on themselves and their own ambitions, and they may not want to change anything.

Charismatic leaders might believe that they can do no wrong, even when others warn them about the path that they’re on. This feeling of invincibility can severely damage a team or an organization, as was shown in the 2008 financial crisis.

Servant Leadership

A “servant leader” is someone, regardless of level, who leads simply by meeting the needs of the team. The term sometimes describes a person without formal recognition as a leader.

Supporters of the servant leadership model suggest that it’s a good way to move ahead in a world where values are increasingly important, and where servant leaders can achieve power because of their values, ideals, and ethics.

However, others believe that people who practice servant leadership can find themselves “left behind” by other leaders, particularly in competitive situations. This style also takes time to apply correctly: it’s ill-suited to situations where you have to make quick decisions or meet tight deadlines.


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