No two leaders are the same. With so many different kinds of employees, there needs to be different kinds of leaders suited to their needs. Certain styles of leadership will work for one person, but not another. It’s up to a good leader to determine the style that works best for their team and stick with that. Here are five of the most common types of leaders you’ll see in the workplace.
A transactional leader is one who rewards their employees when they reach a certain goal. This type of leader will set goals with their team and use a carrot-and-stick approach to get those goals accomplished. With rewards for good behavior, there are often punishments for bad practices. This style can be effective in the short-term, but most employees won’t feel they can reach their full potential under this rule.
Originally an economics term, laissez-faire literally translates to “let them do.” This style of leader is known for their hands-off approach, allowing their employees to take control over their work. This style of leadership is especially effective in creative settings, or when managing very experienced employees. However, this style hinders those that rely on feedback from their supervisor. With no leadership or supervision from a leader, there can be a lack of control and lead to poor production. Research has shown that this style is the least effective and least favorite of employees.
Autocratic leadership is similar to transactional leadership, just to a more extreme level. This type of leader has complete power over their employees and rarely listen to employees or share any power. This type of leadership is common in military environments but does not lead to great results in a corporate workplace. Because these types of work environments have little or no flexibility, it can lead to a high turnover rate and frequently absent employees.
Transformational leaders are considered the most desirable among employees. These types of leaders use effective communication to create an intellectually stimulating environment. This style focuses on initiating change in a work environment. This leader sets high expectations and motivates their employees to do more than they originally intended.
Democratic leaders put a high value on team input. This style boosts morale because employees get to feel that they have a say in the decision-making process, though ultimately the final decision rests in the hand of the leader. Workers report high levels of job satisfaction in these environments. One downside to this style is that decision-making takes longer, making it an ineffective option for an environment where quick-decision making is crucial.