What are the Different Leadership Styles?

Klaus Strasser

In business, leadership styles generally refer to various kinds of strategies and methods used by managers, in order to produce the best results for the organization. Many managers take leadership seminars in order to learn some of the tricks of the trade that can potentially make their businesses more efficient and successful. There are many different leadership styles that are employed in the corporate setting. Some of the most common include democratic leadership, laissez-faire leadership, charismatic leadership, and task-oriented leadership.

Democratic leadership emphasizes group participation.
Democratic leadership emphasizes group participation.

The types of leadership styles used in a workplace usually depend on the personal choice of the manager. Many experienced business managers have a preferred leadership strategy that they incorporate into their work. Others may use a combination of different strategies, generally refining their approach over time, in order to see which method is the most effective. Some leadership styles will also vary according to the precise task at hand, as the manager attempts to determine the most effective business solution.

Some business leaders deploy a combination of styles, with elements of the democratic, charismatic and task-oriented methods.
Some business leaders deploy a combination of styles, with elements of the democratic, charismatic and task-oriented methods.

Democratic leadership emphasizes a group concept. In this leadership style, the opinions of various members of the business team are heard, with the aim of creating the best strategy possible. One of the advantages of the democratic style is that it allows workers to feel a sense of autonomy. It also can encourage them to be creative in their approaches to problems.

Charismatic leadership is a style that focuses on the personality of the leader. In this method, he or she is essentially the center of the operation. The leader attempts to motivate the workers to complete a project with his or her enthusiastic personality. The leader typically has the final word on the project, and the focus of the workers is to satisfy the leader's demands.

Laissez-faire leadership refers to a strategy in which the leader essentially lets the workers work for themselves. This style emphasizes the faith the manager has in his or her workers. In this approach, it is critical that there is a good working relationship between the workers and the manager, to ensure that work is synchronized. The term laissez-faire is French, and translates roughly to let it be.

Task-oriented leadership stresses the completion of the project above all other factors. It is often compared to dictatorial forms of political leadership. What is most important in this style is that the task is completed. Workers, who feel that they are of secondary importance, often have a negative opinion of this approach. If the leader has the respect of his or her workers, however, this can be an effective leadership style.

Task oriented leadership stresses the completion of a project above all other factors.
Task oriented leadership stresses the completion of a project above all other factors.

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Discussion Comments


Suntan12-I know that the Myers-Briggs personality test gives an employer insight to what the potential manager’s dominant personality is and whether or not they would make an effective manager.

For example, if the majority of your answers are rated D for Directive means that you tend to be a self-starter and would get excellent results in a managerial position.

While there are no wrong answers this leadership style tests helps companies decide which employee would fit their corporate culture. These leadership style assessments save companies a lot of money by hiring the right people from the start.


BrickBack-A style of management that is limited is the laissez faire or free rein leadership style. This type of management only works with a very motivated group that needs little direction.

A group of people that have worked successfully together for a long time would be an example. A manager in this situation would actually ask more input from the group because of their knowledge.

They usually would ask for when they expect something to be done and then follow up to make sure it is done.

There are many leadership style quizzes that can help you determine your leadership skills.

Companies that want to assess someone’s potential leadership style also give leadership style assessments.


Cupcake15-I think that situational leadership styles develop depending on the circumstances. For example, you may have a democratic style manager that normally asks for input from his or her team regarding upcoming projects, may turn into an authoritative manager if they have a pressing deadline and the team does not display a sense of urgency in getting the job done.

Likewise an authoritative manager might relax a bit and become somewhat democratic if he or she is praised for a job well done. He or she may offer the good news to the team and the overall goodwill feeling may continue with the easing of the dictatorial style.


The leadership style inventory consists of an authoritative, democratic, and the free rein leadership style. The authoritative coaching leadership style is very specific and direct.

This manager gives specific instructions and deadlines and holds everyone accountable to these goals.

They tend to make decisions independently and do not consult their group. These managers tend to come across a bit aggressive and bossy and their team might be intimidated or resent the micromanagement.

This leadership style is best when there is little time to get something done and this person has the best knowledge of the subject matter.

An authoritative manager rarely reaches a level of upper management because of their lack of interpersonal skills. They tend to be experts in certain areas, but their lack of tact does not allow them to advance any higher.

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