10 Leadership Styles in 2020—What Works and What Doesn’t

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

10 Leadership Styles in 2020—What Works and What Doesn't

BY DANIELLE DOOLEN

BY DANIELLE DOOLEN

May 18, 2020

We’ve all seen demonstrations of great leadership.

Sometimes it’s because we’ve had a great leader, and other times it’s because we’ve had a boss that is the perfect example of what not to do. Everyone develops their leadership style throughout their career, and no two leaders are the same. It’s even common to represent multiple leadership styles throughout time, during different situations, and at different levels in an organization. So, everyone has different leadership styles, but what works?

WHAT EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP LOOKS LIKE

Think of a time where you’ve had a great leader. You may not have been able to pinpoint exactly what they did to evoke such positive feedback, but you likely know how they made you feel. They probably made you feel motivated, supported, and respected, among other things. That’s because effective leadership is meaningful and impactful.

Instead of the corporate hierarchy, great leadership involves social influence. Anyone in an organization can be a leader. Leadership is the art of motivating people to meet a common goal, which can be achieved by all employees regardless of their position or title. Effective leadership involves adaptability in the face of different situations and obstacles. Great leaders have a wide toolbelt of skills that they can utilize to achieve their goals, their organizations goals, and help their employees achieve their goals.

It’s important not to confuse leading with managing. Managing involves the act of managing people, while leadership is so much more. Effective leaders are great communicators and motivators. They are passionate individuals that inspire action in their employees, support their team, and instill confidence in others. How leadership looks may vary based on the person, organization, and organization’s culture, but at its core, effective leaders possessive similar skills and behaviors.

TYPES OF LEADERSHIP STYLES

There are numerous types of leadership styles people can be emulate, so not all leaders are created equal. This doesn’t mean that one leadership style is better than another; it means that what works for one leader will differ from another. Some leaders prefer one leadership style over another, and some leaders may use a blend of a few leadership styles. Different leadership styles create different results, just as different people are better suited for different leadership styles.
By gaining an understanding of these styles of leadership, you can improve your work habits and tendencies. Regardless of your level or title in an organization, they’ll help you identify ways to work better with leaders in your organization, better ways to lead your team, and more efficient ways to meet your goals.
Autocratic Leadership
Autocratic leaders are results and efficiency-focused. They are known for making decisions alone or with little input from others. This type of leader expects employees to do exactly as they’re asked.
  • Pros: Can be beneficial in organizations with strict compliance guidelines or when employees require a lot of supervision
  • Cons: Can hinder creativity among employees and make them feel restricted
Laissez-Faire Leadership
Laissez-Faire leaders follow a hands-off approach. They are known for delegating tasks to team members and providing little to no supervision. 
  • Pros: Works well in environments where employees are experienced and require minimum oversight; Can provide flexibility to employee work schedules
  • Cons: Can lead to decreased productivity if employees are unclear about their leader’s expectation or require consistent motivation
Democratic Leadership
Democratic leadership, also known as participative leadership, serves as a combination of the autocratic leadership style and laissez-faire leadership style. These leaders ask for input from others before making decisions. 
  • Pros: Allows employees to feel heard and as if their contributions matter; Often leads to a higher level of employee engagement and workplace satisfaction; Great for creativity and innovation
  • Cons: Because input is sought out, it can lead to a delay in decision making; On the flip side, it can leave employees feeling uncertain if their leaders need to make a quick decision and do not consult with them first
Bureaucratic Leadership
Bureaucratic leadership demonstrates strict adherence to rules and regulations. These leaders are similar to autocratic leaders because they expect their employees to adhere to these rules and regulations strictly. Bureaucratic leaders are very “by the books.”
  • Pros: Very effective in highly regulated environments, such as government and finance
  • Cons: Limited collaboration and creativity
Coaching Leadership
Coaching leaders excel at connecting people’s personal goals with the goals of the organization. They focus on developing others and are empathic and encouraging.
  • Pros: Advantageous for employers and employees; Sets clear expectations for employees; Promotes a positive and motivating work environment
  • Cons: Time-intensive on behalf of the employees and the leaders
Transformational Leadership
Transformational leaders are driven by a commitment to an organization’s objectives. They inspire staff by fostering an environment of intellectual stimulation and often delegate many tasks. Transformational leadership is similar to coaching leadership because they both focus on communication, setting goals, and motivating employees.
  • Pros: Great for inspiring employees and motivating them to get out of their comfort zones
  • Cons: Is likely not to work well when employees require more supervision; Can lead to a gap in learning for employees if they don’t receive proper coaching
Transactional Leadership
Transactional leaders are focused on performance and establish incentives for employees, such as monetary rewards for work well done or consequences for lack of action. These leaders value mentorship and training to achieve their predetermined goals.
  • Pros: Drives teams and organizations to achieve their goals; Sets clear expectations for employees roles and responsibilities
  • Cons: Does not promote creativity among employees; Can encourage employees to complete the bare minimum
Servant Leadership
Servant leaders value a collaborative approach and encourage collective decision making. They are people-focused and believe when employees feel fulfilled that they will be more effective and productive workers. This leadership style typically receives high levels of respect and is a strong leadership style amongst nonprofit organizations.
  • Pros: High levels of employee morale and employee engagement
  • Cons: It may take longer to make decisions and leaders may be seen as not having formal authority to get the job done
Pacesetting Leadership
Pacesetter leader’s main focus is driving performance. They have high standards and hold their team accountable for hitting goals. These leaders are motivational and serve to energize their teams. Pacesetting leadership involves having a “do as I do” mentality.
  • Pros: Effective for driving fast results
  • Cons: Does not work well for employees who need mentorship; Can lead to a stressful work environment
Visionary Leadership
Visionary leaders inspire employees and drive progress, especially during periods of change. They can establish strong bonds in an organization and boost confidence among employees. These leaders understand the big picture and can create a long-term vision for the company.
  • Pros: Fosters innovation and creativity; Most effective for fast-growing organizations and organizations looking to restructure
  • Cons: Less emphasis on the small details and day-to-day operations; Lack of accountability amongst employees

WHAT LEADERSHIP STYLE WORKS FOR ME

The leadership style that works best for each individual will vary. It may differ between roles and even between projects. It’s important as an employee to be self-aware of how you work best to set yourself up for success both in times you have to lead as a peer and lead as a manager.

There tends to be some overlap between styles of leadership, so it’s not uncommon to feel drawn towards a combination of different leadership styles. Personally, I’m a fan of democratic leadership, visionary leadership, transactional leadership, and Laissez-Faire leadership. That may seem like a lot, but hear me out.

On a day-to-day basis, I would prefer to work with a democratic leader. I thrive in an environment when I’m working with a leader who values my opinion and on a team that fosters collaboration. When starting new projects or initiatives, visionary leaders help to set to tone and establish a vision that I can use as a source of inspiration. I’m also performance-focused, so transactional leadership works well when I’m focusing on a deadline or a big project. This is also where Laissez-Faire leadership comes into play. If I’m asked to get something done, and I’m clear on the goal at hand, I’m entirely comfortable with a hands-off approach, so I can put my head down and concentrate.

Does wanting all of this mean that I’m asking for the perfect leader? I don’t think so. We all react and adapt to situations differently, so I believe the same is true for leaders. How they act and lead, day-to-day may be different from how they work and lead under pressure. While most leaders are likely to have a dominant style of leadership, it’s fair to say that they can grow and adapt based on what works for their team and their organization.

Before you start a new job, or start working with a new team, ask the manager what style of leadership they use when leading their team. This is a great way to get a feeling for how they handle their daily operations vs. stressful deadlines. There is no right or wrong leadership style. There is a time and place for every type. Take the time to learn what works for you as an employee and what style serves you best as a leader.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Get weekly Email Update

RECOMMENDED IN JOB SEARCH

Product Designer

Job Description Curabitur non nulla sit amet nisl tempus convallis quis ac lectus. Mauris blandit aliquet elit, eget tincidunt nibh pulvinar a. Praesent sapien massa, convallis a pellentesque nec, egestas non nisi. Curabitur aliquet quam id dui posuere blandit. Nulla porttitor accumsan tincidunt. Donec rutrum congue leo eget malesuada. Pellentesque in ipsum id orci porta dapibus. Donec sollicitudin molestie malesuada.

IT Department Manager

Job Description Curabitur non nulla sit amet nisl tempus convallis quis ac lectus. Mauris blandit aliquet elit, eget tincidunt nibh pulvinar a. Praesent sapien massa, convallis a pellentesque nec, egestas non nisi. Curabitur aliquet quam id dui posuere blandit. Nulla porttitor accumsan tincidunt. Donec rutrum congue leo eget malesuada. Pellentesque in ipsum id orci porta dapibus. Donec sollicitudin molestie malesuada.

QA Department Manager

Job Description Curabitur non nulla sit amet nisl tempus convallis quis ac lectus. Mauris blandit aliquet elit, eget tincidunt nibh pulvinar a. Praesent sapien massa, convallis a pellentesque nec, egestas non nisi. Curabitur aliquet quam id dui posuere blandit. Nulla porttitor accumsan tincidunt. Donec rutrum congue leo eget malesuada. Pellentesque in ipsum id orci porta dapibus. Donec sollicitudin molestie malesuada.

Brand Manager

Job Description Curabitur non nulla sit amet nisl tempus convallis quis ac lectus. Mauris blandit aliquet elit, eget tincidunt nibh pulvinar a. Praesent sapien massa, convallis a pellentesque nec, egestas non nisi. Curabitur aliquet quam id dui posuere blandit. Nulla porttitor accumsan tincidunt. Donec rutrum congue leo eget malesuada. Pellentesque in ipsum id orci porta dapibus. Donec sollicitudin molestie malesuada.

Customer Care

Job Description Curabitur non nulla sit amet nisl tempus convallis quis ac lectus. Mauris blandit aliquet elit, eget tincidunt nibh pulvinar a. Praesent sapien massa, convallis a pellentesque nec, egestas non nisi. Curabitur aliquet quam id dui posuere blandit. Nulla porttitor accumsan tincidunt. Donec rutrum congue leo eget malesuada. Pellentesque in ipsum id orci porta dapibus. Donec sollicitudin molestie malesuada.

Merchandiser

Job Description Curabitur non nulla sit amet nisl tempus convallis quis ac lectus. Mauris blandit aliquet elit, eget tincidunt nibh pulvinar a. Praesent sapien massa, convallis a pellentesque nec, egestas non nisi. Curabitur aliquet quam id dui posuere blandit. Nulla porttitor accumsan tincidunt. Donec rutrum congue leo eget malesuada. Pellentesque in ipsum id orci porta dapibus. Donec sollicitudin molestie malesuada.