Overview of Leadership Styles

Leadership Styles

Democratic Leadership:

In this approach the leader asks the group to become part of the decision making. The leader still has full control of the group and still has the final decision but decisions and input from the team is encouraged. This allows the leader to draw upon how good they are and their experience of a team in order to get the best results for everyone. This also helps them develop skills within the team..

This style of leadership isn’t used very much within the public services, this is because the democratic leadership style takes time to discuss everything and public services may not always have the time to do this.

Bureaucratic Leadership:

The bureaucratic style of leadership is a style of leadership that focuses on rules and procedures to manage teams and projects. It is a style that is spread-out among some departments or people and there is a strict set of rules. This is a classic style of leadership and is used quite a lot in organizations that don’t encourage invention of new things and change by leaders who may be insecure and uncertain in what their role may be. People that want to use this style of leadership are often familiar with the many policies and guidelines.

This approach to leadership is commonly used in statutory and non-statutory services. Situations where the bureaucratic leadership style may be useful for example where in a job is something commonly done and doesn’t change over a long period of time or either that a job needs/demands a definite set of safety rules or working guidelines in order to obey the law.


When group perform well, they receive a reward. When they perform poorly, they will be punished in some way.

The transactional style of leadership is pretty straight forward but it uses rewards and punishments to motivate the team. This style of leadership is very similar to the autocratic style but it is not as extreme. Leaders of both the transactional and autocratic are very similar, they are direct and dominant and spend a great amount of time telling others what is expected from the team as a whole. There are many advantages and disadvantages of this style of leadership, for example some of the advantages are: the leaders monitors the work and each and every one individual performance, rewards, there is also a clear chain of command, not only these there are many other advantages. Unfortunately there are some disadvantages in this style of leadership: team members may not get job satisfaction but of the reward/punishment routine, it assumes that people are only motivated because of money and not because of the reason why they actually want to do it.

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Laissez-faire Leadership:

The Laissez-faire approach of leadership can also be called the ‘hands off’, ‘free reign’ and the ‘delegate’ approach. This style differs from the other styles. The leader exercises very little and lets the members of the group to establish their own roles and responsibilities. The members of the group are given a very little direction but a lot of freedom and power. The power that they are given should be used to create goals, make decisions and resolve problems that should affect them. If all the members’ are highly motivated that the laissez-faire approach is the most effective leadership, experienced and well trained. It is very important that the leader can have full trust in the members of the team. An example of this style of leadership in the public services is… if there was a murder investigation and someone gets sent to the scene of the crime, they know what they are there to do and they can then be left there to do it without any supervision needed.

People Orientated Leadership:

People Orientated is slightly similar but a bit different to the task-orientated leadership. Within this style of leadership, this style focuses on participation of all the team members, clear communication, supporting and developing the individual in order to improve their skills. The members of the team are very competent in their role and inspire other people by unlocking their own potential. They allocate others roles based on others strengths and individual skills. This style of leadership is participative and encourages good teamwork, loyalty and creativity. The key to this style of leadership is very good people power. People can be very successful if they use all the following: knowledge, skills, abilities, life experience and talents of all the individuals and of the group.

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Task Orientated Leadership:

In this style of leadership it’s all about getting the job done. It’s all about the key of the task rather than about everyone else in the team. Their main focus is just to get the task done weather it instructed or destructed. They will define the work and the roles that they are given and put structures of the task into place, plan and also organise the whole of the task. This style can have many difficulties such as difficulties of the lack of motivating and the retaining the team as a whole.

Task orientated style of leadership is slightly different to people orientated, as an example, a police inspector organising crowd control at a football match may use a task-centred approach, but back at the police station when dealing with junior police officers, she might employ a people-centred approach.

Transformational Leadership:

The transformational style of leadership focuses on the team’s performance as a whole; it encourages everyone to think of the group as a whole and rather not just themselves. It is all about moving forward as a team and not just several individuals in one group. Transformational leaders aim to make their team members better people by encouraging their self-awareness. They want team individuals to overcome self interest and focus on the goals and purposes that are shared as a team. Transformational leaders spend a lot of time communicating with the team to gain support through their enthusiasm.

The transformational leadership style can have many advantages and disadvantages. To start of with there are a couple of advantages, for example, they have beliefs in others and themselves, they spend time coaching and supporting their team, people will follow their leader because of their energy, passion, commitment and enthusiasm for the team and finally, they care about their team a lot and work hard to motivate them, if they do this then this reduces stress levels and increases the well-being of the team. Not only are their advantages to this style of leadership, there are also disadvantages, in fact, there are more disadvantages then advantages to this style of leadership. Some of these disadvantages include, Leaders can only see the big picture but not all the details, leaders always believe that their vision is right when sometimes it isn’t, large amounts of a lot of enthusiasm can tire the team out and last but not least, if the team is not convinced with everyone else they may not share the same vision as what everyone else has.

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Authoritarian Leadership:

Authoritarian/Autocratic leadership is where someone tells you what they want done and how they want it accomplished without be able to get any advice from other people. It is good to use this style of leadership when you are either all well motivated, you know all the information to complete the task or you are short on time. This style of leadership is only used on rare occasions. If you have the time and want to gain more commitment and motivation then you should use a different style of leadership.

This style of leadership is used in some public services in the UK. The main of example of the use of this style of leadership is used in the army. For example, if you were fighting in the war and you were told to ‘get down’ then you would have to get down, otherwise you may get shot. This style is used in most regiments of the army. Not only the army, this leadership is used in many other public services this is because most of the time you are told what to do and where to go.

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