Different Leadership Styles and Their Advantages and Disadvantages
When it comes to the workplace, the manager may not be the only person in a leadership role. A leader can be anyone with significant talent, experience and capability to rise above and lead based on his or her strengths, not a position title. Usually, managers will allow different leaders to come forward and inspire the rest of the employees to advance to the next level. However, different situations call for different leadership styles. This is important to keep in mind as some styles may not be as effective as others depending on the circumstances.
While there are several variations of different leadership styles, they stem from three basic approaches: Authoritarian, Laissez-faire and Participative. As mentioned before, each of these leadership styles may be effective depending on the situation. A true leader will be able to recognize when to use each style in order to drive the best results.
The authoritarian leadership style, also referred to as autocratic leadership, is a style in which the leader ultimately holds all the power. Autocratic leaders have individual control over any decisions with little or no input from others. These leaders tell others what to do, how to do it and when it should be done. Though it’s not preferred, this leadership style can be beneficial at times. For example, when the team needs a new vision, when deadlines are tight, or when decisions need to be made quickly. Especially if a lot of people are involved in the project and there is little or no time for everyone to discuss the matter and try to come to an agreement. Some projects and situations require strong leadership in order to get things accomplished effectively and on time. While this leadership style can be effective at times, for the most part is it is not favored and can be problematic. Many times this leadership style can make the leader come off as bossy, controlling, dictatorial or even abusive. It can cause people to feel bullied or resentful, which can hinder the way the team operates as a whole. This leadership style also will not work well if the rest of the group is as experienced or more knowledgeable than the leader.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is the laissez-faire leadership style, which is more of a hands-off approach. A laissez-faire leader provides others with the proper tools and resources needed, and then backs off, giving little guidance and direction, allowing members to have the freedom to make decisions. This leadership approach can be effective when the group members are highly skilled, experienced, motivated and capable of working on their own. Although this style is not ideal in most situations, especially if the group does not have the proper experience or knowledge needed to complete the tasks or make decisions. Not to mention, some people are just not as good at setting their own deadlines or managing their own projects as others. Some people in the group may also lack the motivation needed to get certain tasks done on time and without that extra push from the leader, deadlines may be missed.
The participative leadership style meets somewhere in the middle between the authoritarian and laissez-faire approaches. A participative leader allows others to contribute to the decision-making process, allowing them to give their input and share their ideas. However, the leader ultimately has the final say. This leadership style also boosts employees’ morale because their creativity is encouraged and rewarded, and they are able to contribute in the decision-making process, which can make them feel more valued and important to the company. This leadership approach can be effective and beneficial as it helps employees feel more involved and committed to their work and projects, which can make them more motivated to go above and beyond. It can also lead to higher productivity among employees as well. While this leadership style usually the most effective, it does have some potential downsides. For example, in some instances, group members may not have the necessary knowledge or expertise to make a quality decision or contribution to the decision-making process. For the most part, however, this is the most favorable type of leadership style. This approach works the absolute best when group members are skilled, have at least some experience and are eager to give their input.
Evaluate the Circumstances
One important thing to remember, however, is it’s best to utilize different aspects of different styles depending on the current situation at hand rather than sticking to just one leadership style all the time. The best leaders will be able to evaluate the situation, the employees and their capabilities and apply whichever leadership style will work best with the given circumstances.