With changing times, people have experienced different types of leaders. Times have also shown that leadership is not limited to certain genders and that it goes beyond titles. Just as each individual has their own principles, personality, and perspectives in life, the same goes for leaders.
There is no perfect leader, and each one has its own purpose, style, and brand of leadership. After all, leadership is always a learning process. Learn about different types of leaders.
An autocratic leader has absolute power. This type of leader has full authority, and you make all the decisions without the need to consult the members of your team or your subordinates. After making a decision on your own, you expect immediate execution. You dictate how tasks should be completed.
An autocratic leader is the opposite of a democratic leader. The great thing about an autocratic leader is that you can usually make crucial decisions when faced with a tight deadline. You also have full control of the team. This allows employees to focus on specific tasks without the responsibility of decision-making.
However, the disadvantages of this style are that team members may feel unheard, with the lack of open communication.
Examples of an autocratic leader: Richard Nixon, Bill Gates, Martha Stewart
This type of leader has a manual that they follow down to the last detail. You “go by the book” and follow a hierarchy of authority. The hierarchy is the system wherein each title and level is defined by the set of responsibilities and tasks.
With a bureaucratic leader, there is a clear, established system and procedure to be followed. The rules are highly essential. The same ground rules are passed on to the next generation of leaders.
This type of leader can be very efficient in teams where managers do not require creativity from their members. A possible weak point, however, is the lack of flexibility due to compliance with formal rules.
Examples of a bureaucratic leader: Steve Easterbrook, Winston Churchill
A charismatic leader has exceptional communication skills. You are the type of leader who can attract and persuade large groups of people. Other characteristics include enthusiasm, passion, positive body language, and a high level of confidence.
How effective a charismatic leader is, heavily depends on their positive charm. The great thing about charismatic leadership is the ability to inspire and motivate people towards success.
This leader has a powerful presence, almost likened to a hero. You can share your vision with conviction. This can help increase the team’s morale and gain other people’s personal trust.
What may be considered problematic for this kind of leader is that the spotlight is more focused on them. The collective efforts of the team might not be recognized.
Examples of a charismatic leader: Jack Welch, Steve Jobs
The core of transactional leadership is that there is an “exchange”. A transactional leader gives rewards to their performing members, while members who don’t deliver may get punished or don’t receive any recognition.
A transactional leader provides specific tasks to their subordinates and then rewards them according to their results. You use an incentive system for your team.
In this style of leadership, tasks and responsibilities are clear, because these have already been set by the leader. There is a clear chain of command. Having a transactional leader on the team is great for short term goals and projects.
The downside of this leadership is that expectations may lack flexibility. Employees may feel less creative. Underperforming team members might feel less motivated due to punishments.
Examples of a transactional leader: Joseph McCarthy, Charles de Gaulle
One of the most preferred types of leaders is the democratic leader, also known as the participative leader. You are characterized as considerate, creative, and highly-skilled. You highlight the importance of team members actively participating in a project or goal.
A democratic leader is open to the inputs of their subordinates in the decision-making process. You encourage open communication in teams. This type of leader is excellent in environments where they have competent members.
What’s great about a democratic type of leadership is that creativity is encouraged. There is room for innovation and flexibility. Everyone is motivated to work together and valued for their input. Employees are more likely to be satisfied in their working environment.
What may be a problem is that crucial decisions may get delayed because of the need for input from other people.
Examples of a democratic leader: Angela Merkel, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama
A servant leader puts the team first. You encourage team members to share their input in the decision-making process. This type of leader believes that prioritizing the needs of the team motivates them to produce results or perform better.
This leader is usually well-respected by colleagues. You inspire people by helping them first. You are the type that empowers, listens, and focuses on employee satisfaction. A servant leader prefers to share power.
The great thing about a servant leader is that they are able to gain a high level of trust from other people. You are able to build relationships. This boosts overall team morale and performance. A possible disadvantage, however, is suffering from conflicts of interest.
Examples of a servant leader: Tenzin Gyatso, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu
This is considered to be the most flexible and allowing of all leaders. “Laissez-faire” is a French term that means to leave alone or to allow. A laissez-faire leader leads by entrusting tasks to their team members or employees.
A laissez-faire leader is highly effective in environments where employees are highly competent and self-motivated. You work well with teams that don’t need to be micromanaged.
You will provide the necessary materials that will support your team. After that, you will simply step back and allow them to work without interference from you.
This type of leader is able to develop a high level of trust with their team. The amount of freedom can be energizing for creative individuals. You are also able to empower people to become successful by encouraging them to work on their own. You are the total opposite of a controlling leader.
There are potential disadvantages. Since you let your team be, the quality of work may be affected. You may also appear to be less involved.
Examples of a laissez-faire leader: Mahatma Gandhi, Herbert Hoover, Warren Buffet
What Type of Leader Are You?
Each type of leader has their own unique traits and style. However, anyone can be a great leader, and it is also possible to switch between types depending on the situation. Leadership may seem complex, but at its core, it is all about taking your team and organization to success.