4 Leadership Styles and Why You Need Them All

Regardless of what you think or the position you hold, you are a leader in some way. There are people you are responsible for and who are directly impacted by your actions and decisions. Given this, have you ever thought of what your particular leadership style is? If not, it’s worth considering and also understanding other styles that you may be able to pull from when various situations arise. After all, regardless of style, effective leaders are able to move among styles, selecting the one that is required in the moment. Here are four leadership styles and what you can learn from each.

Transactional

With this style of leadership, a task or project is assigned to an individual or team, and in return, the individual/team keeps their job, gets a check on their performance review, and can rely on a paycheck every two weeks. While this isn’t the most exciting style of leadership, there are benefits including clarity of what is expected and a solid give and take; the expectations are clear and the exchange is fair. However, this is not the best way to motivate and inspire. Without this element, there can be much higher turnover which can get very expensive for human resources to continuously hire new talent.

Charismatic

Those with this type of leadership style are able to deliver the motivation and inspiration so many long for. Some may argue that this is just a personality type but it can also be learned. Finding what drives individual team members is one great place to start. The downside of this particular style may include difficulty in delegating, listening, and/or taking responsibility for mistakes. A leader with a more transactional style can certainly learn from charismatic leaders, and vice versa, the charismatic leaders can grow by focusing equal amounts of time clarifying tasks and expectations.

Democratic

This leadership style seeks to involve as many people as possible in the decision-making process. They also do a great job encouraging creativity and problem-solving. When they are given the opportunity to use creative approaches to try new things and/or solve problems, the environment becomes exciting and energizing. Team members that are regularly engaged in decisions and work in a stimulating environment tend to have a higher job satisfaction rate and remain at the company longer. The downside of this style is that time can often be wasted if decision-making and team meetings are not handled efficiently. People with this style should seek to learn from those with transactional and charismatic leadership styles and understand that at times a final decision must be made to move forward.

Laissez-Faire

This laid-back style is my absolute favorite style personally. Why? Because I am a self-motivated worker who cannot stand being micro-managed or put through lengthy performance reviews. I know what I’m good at, what I need to work on, and how to obtain the resources and ask for the help I need to work on both. Does this style work for everyone? Absolutely not. Many people need direction and guidance on a weekly basis. They need to be monitored and reviewed to ensure they are growing and moving in the right direction. Therefore, this style is best for self-starters, high performers, and those that have been in their position for a while and are perhaps a leader themselves.

There are other leadership styles with pros and cons. Taking the time to assess your own style, the styles of others, and pulling from each will only make you a better leader. Because it isn’t any secret that most people leave their leaders, not their jobs.