Leadership Styles: A Curation

Let’s talk about Leadership Styles!

How many leadership styles are you familiar with or have heard of? What style do you favor or lean towards?

Leadership Style

Leadership style is a process that the leader uses or favors and for which s/he is noted for by her or his followers (and staff). Leadership style can vary depending on the situation and/or objectives. Whereas the style can be dynamic, the leader’s trait/characteristics ought to be constant.

The Various Styles

  1. Authentic

“The recent Authentic Leadership approach seems to have evolved in the light of major scams and scandals, a blind race for profits and personal gains and a short term perspective, involving the CEO of top organizations. It focuses on the character of the leader as the driver of positive interrelationships. Authenticity is about “being genuine and not attempting to play a role; not acting in a manipulative way.”

  1. Autocratic or Authoritarian

Autocratic or authoritarian leadership is a leadership style characterized by individual control over all decisions and little input from group members. Autocratic or authoritarian leaders typically make choices based on their ideas and judgments and rarely accept advice (or input) from followers.”

  1. Bureaucratic

“Bureaucratic leadership is one of the leadership styles postulated by Max Weber in 1947. It is a system of management whereby employees are made to follow specific rules and lines of authority created by the superiors. In other words, these set of leaders function based on official regulations fixed by higher authorities within the organization.”

“Under bureaucratic leadership, a leader believes in structured procedures and ensure that his or her employees follow procedures exactly.”

  1. Charismatic

“Charismatic leaders are essentially very skilled communicators – individuals who are verbally eloquent, but also able to communicate to followers on a deep, emotional level. They can articulate a compelling or captivating vision, and to arouse strong emotions in followers.”

  1. Collaborative

“Collaborative leadership is the type of leadership required to get effective and efficient results across internal or external organizational boundaries. A collaborative leader invests time to build relationships, constructively handles conflicts, and share control … collaborative leadership recognizes that power is greatest in a collective team.”

  1. Contrarian (as written by USC on behalf of, and on establishing a scholarship in the author’s (Steven Sample) name)

“A contrarian leader, as defined by Sample, is one who sees situations from his/her unique point of view and who finds genuinely new solutions to the challenges facing his organization …” I read The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership book and highly recommend it. There’s a lot more to my brief curation. Of course, same applies to the other styles, but since I haven’t read the specific book titles, I cannot attest to nor recommend it 🙂

  1. Democratic

“The word democracy means “rule by the people” and it has its roots in ancient Greece where democracy, as we have come to know it today, started from. The basic idea is that the people hold the power to decide who leads them instead of someone ruling over them, such as in tyranny or oligarchy … The democratic style also referred to as participative leadership, involved the subordinates in the decision-making. The leader and the subordinates shared an equal voice with no hierarchy. Both the leader and the subordinates were equally subject to appraisal, with strong feedback structures in place.”

“Leadership is solving problems.”

Colin Powell
  1. Laissez-faire

Laissez-faire leaders allow subordinates to decide how to complete their tasks and projects, but not to make organization-wide decisions. 

  1. Relational

“Relational Leadership is defined as a relational process of people together attempting to accomplish change or make a difference to benefit the common good. This philosophy would value being ethical and inclusive. It would acknowledge the diverse talents of group members and trust the process to bring good thinking to the socially responsible changes group members agree they want to work toward. Relationships are the key to leadership.”

  1. Servant

“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Servant leadership is a philosophy and set of practices that enrich the lives of individuals, builds better organizations, and ultimately creates a more just and caring world.”

  1. Situational

Situational Leadership® is an adaptive leadership style. This strategy encourages leaders to take stock of their team members, weigh the many variables in their workplace, and choose the leadership style that best fits their goals and circumstances.

Situational Leadership® is not based on a specific skill of the leader; instead, he or she modifies the style of management to suit the requirements of the organization.”

  1. Strategic

This is a style that encompasses all the other styles of leadership. It is visionary in mode, works to effect necessary change(s), apply and utilization of resources in means.

It is a leadership style that cannot be exhausted. There are tons of articles and books on Strategic Leadership. Find one that you like if you’re interested in learning more about this style.

  1. Transactional

“Transactional Leadership is also often known as Managerial Leadership, due to its objective focus on supervision, organization, and group performance … It is based around the simple behavioral tenet of motivators. Its main focus is on specific tasks, using rewards and punishments as incentives and motivation. When employees are successful, they are rewarded; and when they are unsuccessful, they are reprimanded … Transactional leaders view the relationship between employee and leader as an exchange. One offers the other something (e.g. a task) for something in return (e.g. a reward).”

  1. Transformational

It is a style that is utilized by leaders possessing specific traits, who look to work alongside their team members to identify change and develop the next action steps. But most importantly, they transform others – developing and empowering their followers to become leaders in and of themselves. 

Final thoughts

There are various new and emerging leadership styles out there which I will state are mostly a variant of existing ones. While some styles will remain with us forever, some will become unpopular and faze out.

Click here to take a leadership style quiz. For more ways on how to identify and develop your leadership style, I found this Harvard Business Review (HBR) article, by Matt Gavin, very helpful.

Care to share your leadership style(s), please leave a comment below. Thanks for reading.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s