When people think of a leader, they usually picture that such a person in a one-dimensional way. However, there are six types of leaders that are usually referred to when talking about these individuals in a technical sense: authoritarian, paternalistic, democratic, laissez-faire, transactional, and transformational. In the following paragraphs, we will go over each of these leaders.
This style draws a comparison between authoritarian politicians. The relationship between the head and the subordinates are strictly professional with this type. In turn, these leaders focus on efficiency and control of a team to achieve a certain end. Communication in these leader/follower relationships is one way and only works well with subordinates who enjoy and thrive being commanded. However, there is much room for fear, domination, and inflexibility with this style (Chira, Robert).
As the name suggests, this type concentrates on acting in a parental role when taking on organization. This leader shows concern and cares for subordinates, and in return, followers give their loyalty and trust. However, the leader of this type wants the people under him or her to follow a certain course and not act independently. But on a positive note, a family atmosphere is created through this style. But back on the negative side, such managers can quickly get absorbed into favoritism (Erben, Gül Selin, and Ayşe Begüm Güneşer).
The main aspect of this style is that decision-making is shared among followers and leaders. However, each company and organization will adapt to how much equality among the staff is created. The leader according to this style is more of a guide to the process of achieving goals and completing projects. Research done on this type shows that it is highly effective and creates one of the better production levels among the six styles. However, democratic leadership is best suited for groups of people who are skilled and communicative (Woods, Philip A.).
This is perhaps the most relaxed way to be a leader. It gives all the decision-making power to the followers. Taking a hands-off approach, the leader makes sure that the subordinates have everything set and all the materials needed to achieve their goals. The manager can participate only if the followers request it from him or her. This type only works well if the workers are truly skilled, know how to successfully complete projects, and are trustworthy (Wren, Kevin).
This type of leadership functions on giving awards and punishments to the actions of followers—thus, being a part of a transaction. These are done to keep subordinates motivated in the short-term. Therefore, it is used mostly in emergency situations and for certain projects. It is not a type of leadership that looks to the future (“The Transactional and Transformational Approaches to Leadership in Corporate Sector”).
These leaders do their best to change or transform the thinking of their followers in order to better reach an aim. In addition, they try to charge their subordinates with motivation and excitement for their work. Lastly, transformational leadership is about a vision and relaying that to followers. Managers of this type must be charismatic, intellectually stimulated, and focused on individual growth (Schultz, Duane P., and Sydney Ellen Schultz).
As we have covered, there are six different types of leaders: authoritarian (most controlling and focused on effectiveness), paternalistic (about care for staff and staying on course), democratic (concentrated on member equality and participation), laissez-faire (the most relaxed and only being a guide), transactional (leading by awards and punishments), and transformational (shifting followers’ attitudes and attention on vision). Now that you know about these styles, you can assess the leaders you have in your life and know them better.
Chira, Robert. International Logistics Management. AuthorHouse UK, 2016.
Erben, Gül Selin, and Ayşe Begüm Güneşer. “The Relationship Between Paternalistic Leadership and Organizational Commitment: Investigating the Role of Climate Regarding Ethics.” Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 82, no. 4, 2007, pp. 955–968., doi:10.1007/s10551-007-9605-z.
Woods, Philip A. “Democratic Leadership: Drawing Distinctions with Distributed Leadership.” International Journal of Leadership in Education, vol. 7, no. 1, 2004, pp. 3–26., doi:10.1080/1360312032000154522.
Wren, Kevin. Social Influences. Routledge, 2006.
“The Transactional and Transformational Approaches to Leadership in Corporate Sector.” International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR), vol. 6, no. 1, 2017, pp. 2382–2386., doi:10.21275/art20164318.
Schultz, Duane P., and Sydney Ellen Schultz. Psychology and Work Today. Routledge, 2016.