Leadership Types and Styles


Three Basic Leadership Styles Theorized by Kurt Lewin in 1939:

  1. Authoritarian Leadership: "Authoritarian leadership is a type of leadership where the leader has control over all the actions of the group. There is a clear line between the management and the employees, and the flow of communication is largely up-to-down i.e. the employees have no say in the decision making process, and all the orders of the management need to be followed unquestioningly."
  2. Participative Leadership: "The next style is known as participative leadership. In this style, there is still a clear line of difference between employees and employers, but the employees are encouraged to come up with suggestions and take an active part in the decision making process. This style fosters a good employee-employer relationship and isn't as extreme as authoritarian or laissez-faire style of leadership."
  3. Laissez-Faire Leadership: "In a way, this isn't a style of leadership at all! Laissez-faire style of leadership means that anyone and everyone is empowered with the opportunity to make their own decisions. It may sound good, but more often than not, it leads to a chaotic situation. Laissez-faire leadership is best implemented only within a group which shows good group-dynamics, is highly motivated and needs its creative space, for e.g. a research and development department."

Types of Leaders from Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence (2002) by Daniel Goleman:

  • Democratic Leaders - "Democratic leaders are those who encourage participation of the workers in the decision making process. Collaboration and team spirit are best fostered with the help of this leadership style. Democratic leaders require good, intelligent and motivated workers."
  • Pace-Setting - "Pace-setting leaders believe in setting an example with their own superior quality of work. A pace setting leader aims to set the performance benchmark himself. This style of leadership thrives best in a highly competitive environment where both, leaders and subordinates strive to achieve their potential."
  • Coaching - "Coaching leadership type encourages the subordinates to learn from the leader. This style of leadership is most effective in an environment, where the employees are young and need to be trained properly. Effectively coaching the employees, helps build better long-term relationships."
  • Visionary - "A visionary leader is one who drives his subordinates towards a common goal. It is said to be the most effective leadership style. The motivation is not in terms of any monetary compensation, but its the very idea of striving to create a better company, which drives the employees into action. But the vision of the leader must be the one which is compelling as well as achievable."
  • Transformational - "Transformational leadership leads to positive changes in those who follow. These leaders are generally energetic, enthusiastic and passionate. These leaders are not only concerned and involved in the process; they are also focused on helping every member of the group succeed as well."
  • Affiliative - "An affiliative leader is one who believes in progressing as well as maintaining a good relationship with the employees. An affiliative leader is one whom the employees will like and will be more of a guide to them than a leader."
  • Transactional Leadership - "The transactional leader works through creating clear structures, whereby it is clear what is expected of their subordinates, and the rewards that they get for following orders. Their followers are considered to be "subordinates" rather than team members. Punishments are not always mentioned, but they are well understood and a formal system of discipline is generally in place." When looking at leaders and managers, this type of leadership is closer to manager on the scale. While responsibility is allocated to subordinates, the tools and resources to do the job are not always supplied, but the expectation that the job will be done regardless is clear. "If things go wrong, then the subordinate is considered to be personally at fault and is punished for their failure (just as they would be rewarded for success)."
  • Commanding
    "The last type of leader is the commanding leader. This is an *autocratic leadership style*. He, and he alone is the boss and no one dare to infringe his range of power! Few commanding leaders have shown success till date, but those who have, have shown phenomenal growth in the company."
*What is Autocratic Leadership?
"Autocratic leadership can be said to be synonymous to dictatorship where only one person has the authority over the followers or workers. Their decision has to be taken as the golden rule and should never be questioned. They plan out everything and order their subordinates to work according to their rules. For instance, if a company has an autocratic leader as the Managing Director, the employees in the company would have to work as per the rules set down by him/her. They would not be expected to make any contribution from their side, which may actually help in enhancing the productivity of the company. In short, the autocratic leader has full control of those around him/her and believes to have the complete authority to treat them as he/she wants."

Philosophical Foundations of the Seven Standards