In a business setting? If you have,

In this lesson, we’ll review several types of leadership styles and discuss characteristics of each.

The lesson also provides examples of which styles fit which types of jobs.

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Style and Authoritative Leadership

Have you ever had the opportunity to lead in a business setting? If you have, you may have realized that it can be a lot harder than it appears. As a leader, it’s important that you find and develop a leadership style that works best for the type of business environment that you are in. Let’s take an in-depth look at several styles of leadership including authoritative, participative, laissez-faire, situational, and bureaucratic; and what type of workplace environment is the best fit for each.Can you recall a time that you may have witnessed a drill sergeant barking orders to members of the military? It was clearly evident that the drill sergeant was in complete control and in a position of authority.

This is an example of the authoritative leadership style, which can be defined as a style where a leader has total control over subordinates (those who report to the leader) and is the sole authority figure that makes decisions with minimal or no input from others.Let’s assume that you work in a restaurant that stays quite busy. You have a boss that is demanding, verbally abusive, and seems to enjoy confrontations with employees. This is a prime example of the authoritative leadership style.

Here are a few jobs that are best fit for the authoritative leadership style:

  • Prison guard
  • CEO of a Fortune 500 company
  • Head football coach
  • General in the Army

These jobs often demand a leader that is disciplined, great with making executive decisions, and meeting deadlines.

Participative Leadership

When people participate in something, it means that they are involved with others or with a specific thing. The participative leadership style is when a leader involves subordinates and others when making important decisions for a business, but the leader has the final say in the decision. This style of leadership centers around the fact that although others may participate and give their opinions, the final decision still lies with the leader.Imagine that you are in charge of a project at work, and you have been given the authority to make the final decision. As a leader that uses the participative leadership style, you have chosen to get input from your subordinates. You have made an executive decision for the project but with the helpful information and opinions provided from your subordinates.

Let’s take a look at several jobs that may be a good fit for participative leadership:

  • Teachers
  • Physical trainers
  • Managers of small businesses

The traits of this style of leadership include a willingness to openly communicate with others, the ability to empower subordinates, and the ability to foster an environment that breeds creativity.

Laissez-Faire Leadership

Imagine that you are employed as the manager of a software company. You and your team have been tasked with designing a program to help children learn to read and write.

You have decided that each employee has the right to create their own programs, as long as they meet the requirements of educating children. You have provided no other rules or regulations, and the team does not have to consult you at all unless they have questions. This describes the laissez-faire leadership style, which uses a hands-off approach that allows employees and subordinates to perform their duties without having to consult the leader.The leader acts as a facilitator and supplies any materials or resources the subordinates may need to complete the task. The characteristics of the laissez-faire leadership style include having the ability to trust those around you, believing in a hands-off approach, and having little to no anxiety issues. Some of the best job fits for the laissez-faire leadership style include:

  • Software developers
  • Independent contractors
  • Painters

These jobs have leaders or managers that are able to physically leave the job, and their subordinates will be able to complete the job with no problems and no consultation.

Situational Leadership

Let’s imagine that you are the boss of a marketing firm, and you have three employees: Bob, who loves confrontation; Amy, who enjoys being included in conversations and activities; and Bill, who likes to work independently. As a manager, it’s important to properly address each employee since they all have different characteristics. The ability to adjust your leadership style to match the traits and characteristics of employees is called situational leadership.In the previous example, situational leadership has helped you to determine that you need to make sure that Amy feels a part of any activities that take place at the job.

Meanwhile, you will also need to make sure that Bill does not feel as if you are looking over his shoulder while working. A productive leader that uses the situational leadership style should seek to constantly change in an effort to match the vast needs of the employees within an organization. A few examples of jobs that best fit this description include:

  • Restaurant manager
  • Coach of a team

Bureaucratic Leadership

Of the many styles of leadership which have been discussed, the bureaucratic leadership is known as a traditional form of leadership. Bureaucratic leadership can be defined as a form of leadership that is centered around following rules and regulations as part of a chain of command.

For example, in many organizations there is a CEO that is at the top of the organization. Under the CEO, there may be other positions such as vice president and finance director. Bureaucratic leadership encourages employees to adhere to the rules along with the hierarchy of the chain of command. The leaders hold power based on their position, while followers are expected to conform to the rules set forth.

Some examples of jobs which may best fit this style are:

  • Uniformed public service jobs
  • Non-uniformed public service jobs

Lesson Summary

The lesson reviewed the five types of leadership style. The authoritative, participative, laissez-faire, situational, and bureaucratic leadership styles. Each have the following characteristics:

  • Authoritative – one person in complete control over decisions with no consultation from subordinates
  • Participative – a leader that involves others in decision-making but still has the final say
  • Laissez-faire – one that allows subordinates to make decisions without having to consult the leader
  • Situational – a leader that adjusts their leadership style based on traits of employees
  • Bureaucratic – leadership based around following rules and an organizational chain of command
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