Who’s Your Boss? – Understanding Leadership Styles

In every work environment, you encounter different leadership styles among managers. Some might have exceptional leaders, but others might experience a manager with not-so-great leadership. Leadership styles vary broadly from one manager to the next and from situation to situation. So, how do you know what type of leadership style your manager has? Here is a list of the most common leadership styles and a description of what they are to help you identify the type of manager you work for.

1. Authoritarian.

The authoritarian leader exudes extreme power over their employees. This leader calls all the shots and does not leave much decision making up to the team. They have a vision they want to achieve and know exactly how they’re going to get there … no matter what. With this type of leader they won’t ask employees to do something – they will tell you to do something. If so, to keep the peace, do what is asked without griping or complaining.

Leaders who fall under this category are also classified as transactional leaders. Basically, these are no-nonsense leaders who lay down the law to their employees from day one. Team members have no say and the manager doesn’t really focus on helping the team grow and develop – they just want the work done right.

2. Bureaucratic. This individual is a rule follower and makes sure that the team sticks to the rules. They don’t allow for team brainstorming or coming up with creative new ways to accomplish work. To stay on this leader’s good side, make sure you are following the rules. Over time, this leader may become comfortable with new ideas that you propose – just remember to relate them back to the company and show how they follow the rules and meet company standards.

3. Democratic. A democratic leader is the exact opposite of an authoritarian. They involve the team in decision-making processes, and take all suggestions into account when making the final decision. Also, a democratic leader is considered to be a transformational leader because they focus on the future and on positive growth at work. They want to help others become better leaders as well.

With democratic leaders, feel free to voice opinions or suggestions that you might have. Tell them why you believe in an idea or support or dislike something in the workplace. They will respect your interest in the business.

4. Laissez-Fair. A leader with this style tends to be hands off and allows the team to make all the decisions. In French, laissez-fair means “leave it be” or “let it be.” Basically, this leader leaves everything alone and puts the team in charge. However, this can create a stressful, chaotic environment that lacks direction and goes nowhere.

Unfortunately with this type of leader, they are not very interested in an organization, and there is little that an employee can do to improve the situation. An organization needs leadership to survive. If your organization is dealing with a laissez-fair leader, it might be in the best interest to elect someone into the leadership role who will be involved in the organization.

As you can see, the top leadership styles vary widely and range from the good to the bad. Apply this information to find out what type of leader you work for and to make the best of your workday.

Comments

  1. Oleg Tumarkin

    I strongly disagree that Laissez-Fair leaders always don’t care about the organization. There are some leaders of this type who care a great deal and are primarily disengaged because they would rather focus on developing the team and helping the team members succeed. In the words of Richardo Semler, sometimes leadership involves letting your people make their own mistakes and helping them learn from them.

  2. anthony

    I would say the democratic leader builds team and helps teams (members) succeed by being inclusive in the process, a mentor if you will..
    Laissez-faire: let it be, let us do: great except as teams are making mistakes its costing the company money…also if they focus on the team members are they performing their management duties as this should be to the company unless they happen to be and HR manager.
    While Ricardo Semler is hailed as business man of the year (1992) and bringing his companies’ revenue from $4 million to 212 million, he also diversified, got into properties, operates airports and has gone from 90 employees to 3000.
    He promotes industrial democracy as his philosophy, so he himself would be a democratic leader.

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