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How and When to Use Different Leadership Styles

Wed, Feb 13, 2013

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

After all that discussion on leadership styles, let’s put things back into perspective with a simple comparison between the 4 main leadership concepts.

 

A Comparison of Leadership Styles

 Leadership Styles

 

How it Works

 

Transformational Leadership

 

Leaders use a ‘vision’ to direct followers. Each individual member is coached and invested in to bring out their best. Work is crafted to be engaging to specific followers.

 

Transactional Leadership

 

A system of punishments and rewards is used to mold workers into complying with specific expectations. The workplace is an exchange between leader and worker. The leader gives rewards in terms of money and bonuses whereas the worker contributes in terms of fulfilling the leader’s commands.

 

Autocratic Leadership

 

Strict and demanding expectations are set. The leader sets clear guidelines which are to be followed at the threat of punishment. Workers are rarely entrusted with high-level tasks.

 

Democratic Leadership

 

It has similarities to Transformational Leadership. Employees are encouraged to contribute more than just their labor. Suggestions, perspectives and opinions are welcomed. These leaders can choose to base their decision on those perspectives or go a step further and allow team members to carve their own paths.

 

 When it Works Best

 

Transformational Leadership

 

Ideally, a long period of time would be best. This allows the investment made in an employee to mature and grow. When dealing with projects that demand creativity, a free and positive environment allows it to thrive.

 

Transactional Leadership

 

It works best when stability and compliance is constantly needed. When workers are seen to be motivated by direct incentives such as cash, this leadership style becomes far more effective.

 

Autocratic Leadership

 

As it has been said many times, autocrats are masters of crises. They are able to clean up the mess and set clear work methods. This leadership style can be used to clear a path for other leadership methods to thrive. Lazy employees may be best dealt with an autocratic approach.

 

Democratic Leadership

 

It is best used when there is sufficient time, a small and manageable group, and a project that requires a vast range of input. By giving everyone a say, valuable opinions can be extracted and the leader can get the most out of every employee’s contribution.

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