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Types of Leadership

In business, it is important to become aware of the major types of leadership.  By identifying styles of leadership and observing managers in various organizations, your business acumen can greatly increase. Moreover, you will be able to discover what effective leadership type fits your own personality so that you can manage your own organization well. John Maxwell wrote that “everything rises and falls on leadership”, and this is true. No firm or company can effect progress and contribute to the economy unless there is a leader who unites people and resources together.

Experts in the field of management have identified several dominant leadership types present in leaders of organizations. These styles of leadership greatly affect the way things are done within a firm. If you observe and compare two powerful companies in any given industry, you will notice the difference of leadership styles in the way methods and policies differ. The reason for this is that no two leaders are alike. If the success of an organization depends on the leader, then it is also true that no two organizations are alike!

There are three most common types of leadership. The first is autocratic leadership, the second is participative leadership, and the third is called free-rein leadership. Briefly, let’s take a look at the definition, advantages and disadvantages of each.

Autocratic leadership happens when the head of the organization have absolute power within the positional hierarchy. While there may be other powerful positions in the structure, the decision of the head of the organization is the only one that matters. Many call this style as the “intimidating style” of leadership, because here the leader depends on fear, intimidation, and positional force to implement policies.

This type of leadership allows the leader to be in complete control over the entire organization. It is mostly applied by leaders who believe that people tend to work better and display a good performance if they fear their boss. They will want to show higher standards of work for fear of embarrassment or unemployment.

The disadvantage is that autocratic leaders are less loved by people. In fact, under an autocratic setting, people usually hate their boss secretly. Rank and file employees simply follow instructions not because they enjoy them, but because they have no other choice. This sense of resentment towards the leadership can cause problems and a huge turnover of employees in the long run.

Participative leadership, meanwhile, is the type of leadership in which the leader consults his people first before making a managerial decision. The manager is still the main decision maker but the decision making process is a team effort. The advantage of this is that participative leaders are able to bring a sense of teamwork within the organization. People feel that their opinions and ideas matter, and they feel good about themselves. On the other hand, the disadvantage of leaning too much on this leadership style is that a manager can lose sight of the best decisions by listening to the opinions of people who don’t see the big picture.

Free rein leadership is the most democratic of all types of  leadership, because the leader delegates most of his major decision making responsibilities to subordinate leaders. The free rein leader will say, “I don’t care how you do it, just get it done. It’s up to you”. In this style of leadership, the subordinates usually feel a heightened sense of empowerment because each of them becomes a separate boss of their own. The main disadvantage of this is that the leader has little or no control over the actions of the subordinates, which could lead to anarchy and chaos within the firm.

Related Articles:

Styles of Leadership
Participative Leadership
Authoritarian Leadership

      Come back for new types of leadership! We update our information on frequent basis.


Struggling with your Leadership Style?

If you want to enhance your leadership skills or earn a leadership degree, visit the Creighton University online website to find out more about how it can help you achieve your career goals.



Types of Leadership > Styles of Leadership


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 Dr Franklin C. Ashby 

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