Leadership styles

Below will follow a quick discussion of some of these leadership styles:

  • Open Leadership: Has five rules, which allow for respect and empowerment of the customers and employees, to consistently build trust, nurtures curiosity and humility, holding openness accountable, and allows for forgiving failures (Li, 2010).  It is not easy to “let it go,” but to grow into new opportunities one must “let it go.”  This thought process is similar to knowledge sharing, if you share your knowledge, you will be able to “let it go” of your current tasks, such that you can focus on new and better opportunities. Open Leadership allows for one to build and nurture relationships with the customers and employees (Li, 2010).  It is customer and employee centered.
  • Situational Leadership: Is a style of leadership where the leader must continuously change their personal leadership style to meet the situation and needs of the employees/followers (Anthony, n.d.). The input of the employees/followers must come first regardless if the leader is a micro-manager, supervisor, coach, supportive, developer, or delegator. The leader would use: micro-manage if employees just need to do exactly what they are told; supervisor methods if employees are inexperienced; coaching if employees lack confidence/motivation; delegation if employees need little supervision; and developmental when the employees have high needs and little experience (Anthony, n.d.).
  • Autocratic Leadership: Is also known as authoritarian leadership, where the leader takes over everything and makes all decision with no input from the group (Cherry, 2016a). These leaders what to do it all themselves, and could maintain power through force, threats, punishment, and rewards (Community Tool Box, n.d.). This feeling is felt and creates the illusion of the classic “control freak,” “bossy,” etc. trope on the leader. But, this negative view on this style could be offset by a charismatic personality, leading to the leader being loved and respected (Community Tool Box, n.d.). This is great for when quick decisions are needed, but it comes at a cost to the followers. That is because of Cherry (2016a), stated that decisions made in this style of leadership are absolute and the followers/employees are not trusted. Autocrats create an organizational culture of fear and mistrust other people’s motives and aim to prioritize protecting themselves (Community Tool Box, n.d.).
  • Democratic Leadership: Is also known as participative leadership, where the employees/followers are a vital part of making the key decisions (Cherry, 2016b). This is the direct opposite of the Autocratic Leader.  These leaders recognize that it is the “we” that built and sustain the organization, not the “me” (Community Tool Box, n.d.). Here, participatory ideas and opinions are championed, even if the leader remains the final arbitrator (Cherry, 2016b; Community Tool Box, n.d.). Unfortunately, this style can be quite a time intensive and create a lack of “buy-in of ideas,” but this style could provide better results due to a diversity of thought. Though the diversity of thought provides a whole suite of possibilities to an organization and provides good relationships for all team members (Community Tool Box, n.d.).
  • Transactional Leadership: Is when a leader only views relationships with their team as a form or set of transactions (Community Tool Box, n.d.). Status quo is kept in this style (Raza, n.d.). Therefore, it is not uncommon to see a rewards and consequences stemming from this style (Community Tool Box, n.d.; Raza, n.d.).  This is more akin to the boss, that states “I pay your salary, you must do as I say.”
  • Transformational Leadership: Helps their team see the values and hopes that they have for them and for the organization, such as to empower them to pursue their goals (Community Tool Box, n.d.). Raza (n.d.) stated that this style leads to initiating a motivational change in an organization, team, oneself, or others. This style models the Mahatma Gandi’s overarching message of being the change you want to see in the world, even if it’s a small change in themselves or their team. This style tends to have the most engaged and empowered followers (Raza, n.d.).
  • Servant Leadership: The leader is considered a servant first to their employees/followers to allow them to grow, become healthier, wiser, freer, autonomous, and become servants themselves (Center for Servant Leadership, n.d.). The focus is on the growth of the employees/followers.  This is done by putting the needs of the team ahead of the Thus the team benefits the most from this style (Johannsen, 2014). One way to accomplish growth is a leader sharing their power to help people develop, synonymous to caring for each other (Center for Servant Leadership, n.d.). Servant leaders uplift their team (Johannsen, 2014).
  • Laissez-faire Leadership: leaders allow employees/followers make their decisions, also known as delegation leaderships (Cherry, 2016c; Raza, n.d.). There is low control over the team compared to the high control over the team in autocratic styles (Johannsen, 2014). Unfortunately, Cherry (2016c) points out that there is little guidance from leaders when it is most needed, or when there is a lack of knowledge. But, it does allow for the autonomy of the employees/followers and promotes problem-solving from them. Johannsen (2014), suggested this style for highly motived and trained team members.  However, this style is known to create low satisfaction (Raza, n.d.).

Open leadership differs because it is not fully a democratic leadership nor laissez-faire leadership, but has qualities of it, due to its centering itself against other customers and employers. It is similar to the situational leadership because open leadership must be met based on the situation the organization is faced with at that time.  If the organization cannot be transparency and authenticity, then it must meet its situation and shouldn’t practice open leadership.  Open leadership doesn’t try to grow the customers and employers and the “Let it go” nature of open leadership is the worst nightmare of an autocratic leaders.


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