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The 5 most Common Leadership Styles

Leadership is the art of leading a group of people in a company or business. The same manager can and should use different management styles, using the one that is most effective in each situation. A good manager is precisely one who knows how to use the style that is most convenient in each context.

The different types of leaders in business:

The word “leader” comes from the English language and designates the leader, as a person who will inspire other people, and unite them to achieve common goals. Leaders must demonstrate some common emotional, relational, and personal qualities, but not all leadership styles are created equal! In general, a study has shown that there are over 4000 leadership styles exist. But Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist, conducted a study for Harvard Business Review in the 2000s that allowed him to highlight 6 different types of leadership within organizations and the related impacts on teamwork and departments.


Leaders are superhumans empowering others while getting the work done. In the business world, leadership is of the utmost importance, since it directly influences a team’s work. In this regard, it should be understood that there are different types of leadership, all of which have their advantages and disadvantages in setting goals and leading employees. To choose the most appropriate style, it is essential to take into account the work environment, but also the personality of the collaborators, and the goals or objectives pursued by the leader.

However, it is not impossible to combine various types of leadership, in order to adapt to each task or situation that may arise. To learn more about the different leadership styles and their characteristics, let’s take a look at some of the most prevalent styles of leadership in the business world.

A good leader always believes in teamwork and gives equal importance to every member of his team. The leadership style of the team manager or company manager directly impacts the employees and collaborators confronted with their management. Although it seems relatively harmless, it can even influence the mood and personality of group members, particularly by the quality of the work environment it creates. Thus, depending on his objectives and values, the leader must always be aware of the managerial power that he has in his hands and his influence on the employees who report to him.

Therefore, it is essential that a leader knows how to question himself, even if he has practiced a particular leadership style for several years. In fact, the business world is constantly evolving and the expectations of employees in the same organization evolve at the same time. In other words, good leadership must adapt to the teams and people of the company, but also to the world around it.

Keep in mind that if we are talking about good leadership, which can improve employee productivity while respecting their well-being within the company, there is also bad leadership, which can lead to stress and a worried and anxious environment.

Traditionally, we recognize only a few types of leadership, more or less common in the business and work world in general. In today’s article, we’re going to discuss the 5 common but most important types of leadership. These are:

  • The leadership of letting go
  • Autocratic leadership
  • Democratic leadership
  • Transactional leadership
  • Transformational leadership

Although the style chosen depends largely on the personality of the leader and his values, he can also decide to adapt to the objectives of the company he works for, the image he wants to convey, and the expectations and needs of employees.

Laissez-faire leadership (Leadership of letting go):

As the name suggests, laissez-faire leadership refers to a leader’s non-directive management of his team. In this case, the most important decisions are made by the employees, without actually being under the control of a boss or manager. The leader intervenes as little as possible in the work process and is content to delegate as many tasks as possible to the members of his group.

By stimulating and motivating company staff in this way, laissez-faire leadership can mislead someone who lacks experience, as they must work primarily with complete autonomy.

Autocratic Leadership:

Unlike laissez-faire (letting go) leadership, autocratic leadership relies on the leader, particularly the direction of his team. In this situation, the latter even has all the powers and makes all the decisions, perfectly unilaterally and without consulting the members of his group. Therefore, employees must necessarily follow their manager, even when they disagree with him.

Of course, this type of leadership is the opposite of issues related to well-being in the company, since the staff is not considered competent, but only as executives. Therefore, some members may develop significant stress in the face of such a leader, not to mention burnouts, which are innumerable. However, in times of crisis that require quick decision-making, this leadership model can be effective.

Democratic Leadership:

In total opposition to autocratic leadership, democratic leadership is a participatory management model, particularly appreciated by team members. In this case, the collaborative aspect of work and decision-making is prioritized, since all employees participate in the process. On the leader’s side, priority is given to communication and exchanges between employees, in order to take into account opinions and needs.

Obviously, this leadership is often acclaimed by company staff, especially because it helps improve their motivation and commitment. However, when disagreements arise, problem resolution can make it difficult to achieve the stated goals.

Transactional Leadership:

Transactional leadership is still a very different management model since it is based on an exchange between the leader and the members of his team. Most of the time it is about money, as with the implementation of bonuses, which encourage employees to commit to their work and achieve the objectives set from the beginning. Essentially results-oriented, this leadership style has the advantage of providing an obvious and structured framework for the members of the team.

Styles of leadership
5 Styles of Leadership (image source Unsplash)

However, commitment to the company is only superficial and the slightest problem can disturb the proper functioning of relationships. Likewise, it is a vision that does not adapt to the constant changes in the business world.

Transformational Leadership:

Transformational leadership is a fairly recent model of the relationship between a leader and his or her employees, although it looks particularly promising. In this type of management, the leader of a team uses his ability to communicate with the latter to convey his vision and values. In this way, you help influence the abilities of your group members, but also your own vision, which quickly joins that of your leader.

A little more complex than in the other types of leadership discussed so far, the transformational leader must follow some essential criteria from the point of view of the collaborators:

  • Create an inspiring vision of the future;
  • Naturally, motivate your team members;
  • Manage the achievement of your vision with the support of the team;
  • Supervise employees and promote their individual development within the group.

To implement transformational leadership, the leader must have a strong personality, otherwise, he will not be able to meet the perceptions and expectations of his team. Therefore, the impact of the chef on the staff is essential, whether it is to earn their trust, their respect, or even their admiration.

Keep in mind that this type of leadership is based exclusively on sharing common values and ideas, which can cause problems when one person in the group differs from the other members.

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