leadership styles

Top 10 Leadership Style that matter 

Business 03 July 2024 7 Mins Read

Most successful leaders can adapt their leadership styles to the circumstances. But it may so happen that you are not ready to take on a new challenge.   

That’s why you must learn about the different leadership styles. Also, know when and where to use a particular leadership style from this article.  

At some point in your career, you will encounter leadership responsibilities. To grab the chance, you must hone your leadership skills beforehand.   

Most successful corporate personnel have their unique leadership styles. But it’s nothing genetic.     

Adopting a leadership style that suits the occasion should come easily to a natural leader.  

But you don’t need to live in despair, fathoming you are not a natural leader. Trust me, nobody is born a leader.   

In this article, we will discuss the aspects that make you a leader. We will discuss the most effective leadership styles as well. In addition, we will discuss situations where you can use a style, most apparently.   

The advent of leadership styles  

The advent of leadership styles

While Steve Jobs had an autocratic leadership style, Tim Cook changed his company’s leadership style later. He adopted the democratic style.   

Having said that, how did these leadership styles start existing in the first place?   

Originally, eminent psychologists like Goleman and Lewis suggested common leadership traits in the corporate world. Much later, the hypotheses were categorized as leadership styles.   

Definition of leadership styles  

Definition of leadership styles

Simply put, leadership styles are the patterns and traits that leaders display. These traits are based on:  

  • How it impacts the followers   
  • How does it motivate the followers   
  • How it guides the followers   

 Ideally, your leadership style should also match the vibes of your project goals and stakeholders.   

If you have a team of experienced and skilled people, you can follow a laissez-faire leadership style. However, a team of inexperienced candidates or apprentices will need an autocratic leader.   

Why do you need a suitable leadership style?   

Experts say that you need a leadership style that suits you as a leader before anything else. If you don’t have what it takes to be an autocratic leader, you won’t be good at it in the long run.   

That’s why you must foresee which style suits you.   

 Experienced and skilled leaders can shift to different leadership styles based on the situation’s demands.   

Most effective leadership styles   

Definition of leadership styles

The leadership styles depend on the situation in the first place. However, it also depends on how you fathom a problem as a leader.   

However, the leaders’ fraternity exhibits some common approaches. These approaches were clustered in some common leadership styles listed here.   

1. Goleman’s leadership styles   

HBR records six elementary leadership styles marked by Daniel Goleman. The article “Leadership that gets Results” captures an elaborate record of these styles. However, we are not concerned with the psychology and origination of the styles. Let’s find out how these styles are suited to the modern corporate leadership domain.   

  • Coercive leadership style  

An authoritarian attitude marks this style. Mostly top-down, this style also involved clear directives from the leader. So, there’s no scope for your employees to think outside the box.   

The dynamic CEO Elon Musk is essentially a coercive leader. He exercises central control over all aspects of his companies.   

Goleman said that this style can mostly yield short-term results. In the long run, it, however, has a corrosive effect on the company culture and workforce.   

Tesla had the highest employee turnover of all time – 27% recently. That said, the basis of Goleman’s assumption also turns true.   

  • Visionary leadership style   

Goleman categorized authoritarian leaders separately. According to him, authoritarian leadership is much more than a top-down approach.   

There are many more large-scale responsibilities of the top-down leaders.   

Firstly, they are expected to streamline the performance of all team members. Secondly, they must streamline one team member’s performance with another. So that the unanimous output of the team’s performance becomes more effective and scalable.   

Richard Branson is an elixir among visionary leaders. His leadership led the Virgin Group to open over 200 domains in different business sectors.   

  • Affiliative Leadership  

Such leaders are destined to create a culture of harmony and emotional dependability in the team. In a strife-torn team, breached by conflict and mistrust, such leaders play a decisive role.   

Their USP is letting team members to be themselves. They also ensure that the team has mutual respect and interdependence. Thus, all team members complement each other’s performance.   

Warren Buffet is the best name that comes to my mind when considering Affiliative US leaders.   

His leadership and guidance successfully created a team that assimilated the best strategies to run the business.   

He always treated managers as partners and not executives.   

  • Democratic leadership  

Democratic leaders allow all team members to make decisions on behalf of the team.   

A team run by a democratic leader brainstorm together. The leader of this team does not regulate the subordinates. He plays the role of a facilitator merely.   

However, Goleman said that good democratic leaders will ensure consensus with the team. He should also see to it that their selfish personal goals drive none of the team members.   

Tim Cook is a champion of this leadership style. He has never exercised his iron will. Instead, Apple became a hub of nurturing talent and brainstorming ideas under him.   

  • Pacesetting leadership style   

This abstract leadership style is most suitable in the modern business landscape.  

Experts say that most businesses are now rife with solid competition. That’s why you need a leader who motivates the associates to keep the company’s interests up front.  

You need a pacesetting leader to reduce conflicts, increase consensus, and keep the team motivated.    

The former GE CEO Jack Welch is an excellent example of a pacesetting leader. His decisions allowed GE to achieve the goals that such leaders could achieve.   

For instance, the top 20% of the performers were highly rewarded. The threshold of 10% was laid off.   

As a result, all GE employees were highly goal-oriented. Internal conflicts, bias, and other such drawbacks were fewer in the company, too. Primarily, employees aimed to achieve scalable growth at individual and group levels.   

  • Coaching style   

    This is another effective modern-day leadership style.   

    Such leaders can create geniuses of the future. They mostly let employees focus on sustainable goals.   

    As a result, most employees grow a unique vision of their own.   

    However, Goleman said that successful business coaches are always supportive. They are highly optimistic as well.   

    Satya Nadella is the perfect example of a coaching leader. He is the backbone behind crafting experts who designed the landmark Microsoft products.   

    2. Lewis’ leadership styles  

    Lewis narrowed down the genres of leadership skills and traits.   

    He said that binding leaders by typologies and ideologies is not accurate. It is the creativity and innovation of the leader that drives the team to perform better. So, he believed in three classifications only:  

    • Autocratic leaders, who make all decisions themselves and make employees go through routine portfolios only   
    • Democratic leaders, who guide and motivate the team to overcome biases and work together, keeping the best interests of the company in mind   
    • Laissez Faire leaders, who let their team have their own free will and maintain a complacent and delegating attitude throughout  

    3. Other leadership styles  

    There are some new and emerging leadership styles. These types of leadership are more common nowadays.   

    Here, I have discussed the leadership style types which may not be mentioned in the book. 

    The leadership style of many other business leaders resembles these traits.   

    • Transformational leadership   

    All successful business leaders have different leadership styles. But the answer would be evident if I asked which type of leader you would trust more.   

    Among all different leadership types, most subordinates trust transformational leaders.  

    Their main goal is to gain the faith and conviction of the team. They might exhibit other traits of different leadership styles. For instance, they may be top-down decision-makers. Alternatively, they may be democratic, too.   

    But the essential trait remains the same.   

    • Bureaucratic leaders   

    They are copybook leaders. They want everything and everyone to follow the staple regulations.   

    So, team members must follow all guidelines meticulously.   

    The most precise bureaucratic leader I can think of is Alfred Sloan, the former GM CEO. He developed a set of standard guidelines that all employees must follow.   

    • Servant leaders  

    Servant leadership is a comparatively new concept.   

    It is a culture of promoting the best performers or the most popular team members as future leaders. Their chances of success are more significant as they know the team and the company in and out.   

    Herb Kelleher, the previous CEO of SouthWest Airlines, had all the traits of servant leaders. He was highly capable of guiding and influencing the team as he also emerged from their ranks.  

    Wrapping Up………….  

    In this article, we explore different types of leadership. However, the sync between leaders and leadership styles may not be seamless. Many leaders failed in their leadership approach.   

    That’s why the potential and leadership styles are two different things. That is another reason you must know about leadership styles in depth.   

    If you need further explanation on any styles of leadership, comment below.   


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