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Leadership Styles in Management – 8 Common Styles

Different Leadership Styles or Types

What is Leadership Style? It is the way a leader leads his team to accomplish the desired goals. In the context of Project management, the Project Manager (PM) is the leader and his Leadership style is about how he exercises his power and authority over his team, and how he acts as a facilitator and binding agent in making his team act as a cohesive unit to get the project work done. We shall discuss the Different Leadership Styles here.

8 Common Leadership Styles in Management 

There are many different leadership styles that a Project Manager can adopt. Below are the 8 common leadership styles

  1. Laissez-faire or Delegative Leadership
  2. Autocratic or Authoritarian Leadership
  3. Participative or Democratic Leadership
  4. Transactional Leadership
  5. Servant Leadership
  6. Transformational Leadership
  7. Charismatic Leadership
  8. Interactional Leadership


Laissez-faire Leadership

This style of leadership is also called Delegative Leadership or Hands-off leadership

Laissez-Faire literally means “Leave alone” or “Allow to act”. In this type of leadership, the leader does not directly involve in the work of the team. These Leaders allow their teams to make their own decisions and establish their own goals. He completely trusts his team members to complete the job by themselves.

This type of leadership is appropriate when employees are highly skilled, loyal, experienced, and intellectual.

Autocratic Leadership

Here the power is concentrated in the hands of the leader. He has complete command and control over his team. He/She controls all the decisions and takes very little inputs from other group members. Autocratic leaders make choices or decisions based on their own beliefs and do not involve others for their suggestions or advice.

The leader sets clear expectations for the team and expects complete compliance. This type of leadership style is only effective in organizations where the nature of work requires quick decision-making.

Participative Leadership

It is also called “Democratic leadership”. In this style of leadership, the leader involves his subordinates in goal setting, problem-solving, team-building, etc., but retains the final decision-making authority. He offers guidance to the team and encourages team participation in decision-making.

In Participative Leadership, The leader guides his team on what and how to perform their duties, while team members are free to communicate back to the leader their experiences in doing the work and suggestions if any.

Transactional Leadership

This type of leadership involves motivating and directing followers primarily by appealing to their own self-interests. 

A Transactional leader believes in motivating through a system of rewards and punishment. If a subordinate does what is desired, a reward will follow, and if he does not go as per the wishes of the leader, a punishment will follow. Here, the exchange between leader and follower takes place to achieve routine performance goals.

The power of transactional leaders comes from their formal authority and responsibility in the organization.

Transformational Leadership

In this type of leadership, a leader works with teams to identify needed change, creates a vision to guide the change through inspiration, and executes the change.

It is defined as a type of leadership that causes a positive change in individuals, existing systems, and the environment as a whole. In its ideal form, it creates valuable and positive change in the followers with the end goal of developing followers into leaders.

There are 4 important features or traits of transformational leadership.

  1. Empowering followers through ideal or admirable attributes and behaviors – leaders act as role models that followers seek to emulate. These leaders always win the trust and respect of their followers through their actions. They always demonstrate high standards of ethical conduct.
  2. Inspirational motivation – These leaders have a clear vision and a sense of mission. They know exactly what they want, and they guide their followers by providing the vision, mission. They always make sure that their followers feel that they are doing meaningful work that is important to the organization.
  3. Encouragement for innovation and creativity – These leaders always welcome new ideas. They will be ready to discard or modify a practice set by them if it is found ineffective.
  4. Individual consideration – These leaders act as mentors to their followers. They empower their followers to make decisions without any fear or hesitation, and these leaders help or provide any support that their followers need in implementing their decisions.

Servant Leadership

A Servant Leader is a servant first. He is sharply different from the one who is a leader first. A Servant Leader demonstrates a commitment to serve and put other people first.

There are 10 characteristics of a Servant leader defined by Robert Greenleaf – Listening, Empathy, Healing, Awareness, Persuasion, Conceptualization, Foresight, Stewardship, Commitment to the growth of people, and building community.

Charismatic Leadership

It is a type of leadership in which the authority is derived from the charisma of the leader.

This type of leadership involves encouraging particular behaviors in others by way of eloquent communication, persuasion, and force of personality. Through their personality and communication style, these leaders gain the admiration of their followers.

Charismatic leaders hold strong convictions; They are very self-confident, enthusiastic, and highly energetic, and they have the ability to inspire others with their qualities.

Interactional Leadership

This type of leadership is said to be a combination of Transactional, Transformational, and Charismatic leadership.



Leadership style Wikipedia

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