There are three accepted types of leadership styles: autocratic, democratic and laissez-faire. Each carries its own advantages and problems, and you will often find that a situation often requires just one, rather than blending them together. These leadership styles, when used effectively and in a situation that bests utilizes their strengths, will offer success. When they are used in the wrong type of situation, however, you will easily see their weaknesses. We intend to show you how to choose between them and find a balance that works best for you.
Leadership styles: Autocratic
Of all the leadership styles, this is the most domineering and it requires a strong force of will to manage it. With this style, you make all choices. Your staff and coworkers have little, if any, say in what goes on with a project. You assign work and then make sure it gets done; you take on all major responsibilities and, if there are decisions to be made, you work them out. The autocratic approach is one that requires a strong personality. Those uncomfortable with positions of power and dealing with the consequences should not try this.
Of course, it must be noted that this is usually the most hated form of leadership. Your staff will want to have their opinions heard and the autocratic form does not really allow for that. Sometimes, however, a situation calls for this kind of strict leadership. Perhaps you have come in to a staff that is used to missing deadlines or being coddled? An
established authority may be a necessity, even if it does make you less popular.
Leadership styles: Democratic
If you happen to have a team that is reliable and filled with people of good ideas, then this can be the right style for you. With democratic, you spend less time making sure everything gets done and more listening to the input
of others. When you have a team that does not require your constant supervision, you can enjoy their opinions and have the time to actually sort through them. The team is a part of the company, not just a part of you.
This is considered the most popular of styles as people will work harder–theoretically–for a leader who includes them. Still, this style will only work if you have a group that is willing to put their ideas into action, not just wait for your signal.
Leadership styles: Laissez-faire
This is a style that can be either a massive success or a massive failure, depending on how you handle. This gives your employees virtual run of projects, letting them make decisions and take responsibility. As a form of leadership, it’s somewhat of a contradiction as there is very little “leading”. You trust your team to make things happen and deal with the matters that directly concern you.
For a motivated group, this can work. The difficulty comes in keeping everyone on time and on pace when you are not stepping in to check. The laissez-faire is not recommended for most companies because it is such a risky venture. If one member fails, then everyone can fail. It takes a special team to pull that off.
You can get more insight into these styles and strategies from classes in an organizational leadership masters program. You can also attend business seminars and conventions to get tips from other business leaders.