In order for members of an organisation to succeed, and the organisation itself, there is a growing emphasis on effective leadership practices, and using them to create a more productive work environment. Below are five different leadership styles, each showing their own advantages, disadvantages and the environment in which they are most effective.
Every leader has a natural leadership style; some may need to learn additional leadership styles to effectively lead a team through a specific situation. A successful leader is able to utilise one or more leadership styles that will produce the most effective results.
- Facilitative leadership
This leadership style focuses on the company culture as well as the process that supports the completion of work. A facilitative leader is one who works on building trust and productive working relationships between themselves and their peers, in order to mutually achieve their goals. These leaders have clear expectations from their team, as they understand how they work and encourage them as they do so. Facilitative leaders are positive, enthusiastic and motivational. This type of leader gets others to take responsibility and ownership of their own work.
This leadership style is best used in creative and high-pressure environments, as a structured type of leadership could lead to employee stress. This style is most effective in an environment where the team members are already at the stage where they are invested in providing the best work they can for the company.
- Laissez-faire leadership
Laissez-faire leadership is a style that is very hands-off, where every person has control over their actions. This type of leader provides very little guidance to their team, as they tend to trust their team to know and understand their roles, and what is expected of them.
This leadership style is only effective if each and every team member is self-motivated, experienced and competent at their jobs. Over-managing these types of employees would do more harm than good. If this style of leadership is used in the wrong environment, the results would cause lower productivity and accountability.
- Coaching leadership
There is a heavy emphasis on open, two-way communication with this type of leadership. Coaching leadership is ideal for developing long-term and stable communication between leaders and their team. A leader exhibiting this leadership style sets out clear goals and responsibilities for their team, as well as giving feedback to the members of their team.
This style works best for team members who lack attentiveness in their job. As a two-way communication is opened up by the leader, the coaching leadership style is able to hone in on issues in a team environment and inspire the entire team to work together.
- Authoritative leadership
Often referred to as a dictatorship, an authoritative leadership gives the leader all the control. A leader using this leadership style makes all the decisions, without the consultation of other team members. Authoritative leadership should not be used for long periods of time, as a working environment would become very bleak under constant authoritative leadership.
This style of leadership is best used with inexperienced employees, or in times of organisational transition or crises. In a crises, it is necessary for a leader to make fast, quick decisions to keep their team together.
- Democratic leadership
This leadership style is about the free exchange of ideas, opinions and thoughts. The democratic leadership style considers the opinions of every team member to be of value, and therefore considered in decision making processes. This leadership style encourages constant communication between leaders and members of the team.
Democratic leadership works best in strong teams that are comprised of accomplished and competent individuals. As this leadership style takes into account everyone’s opinion, decision processes can take more time. Therefore, this style is not ideal in times of crises or deadlines.
What is your natural leadership style? Are you able to identify with some of the above qualities? Trying new leadership qualities is a great way to test how they work in the real world, and is a great way to learn.
To learn more about any of the above leadership styles, here are some useful videos.