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7 Leadership styles in management

Written by rjaned 
October 23, 2021 
A women in the workplace showcasing leadership styles in management with her team.

7 leadership styles in management you need to know about

Each leader will have their unique way to lead a group of people, but some observable behaviours allow us to classify their approach. These are known as leadership styles. You will encounter many of them in your career and may even spot the style you want to adopt. In this article, I provide common leadership styles that you may come across in the workplace; when they're beneficial, and when they're downright harmful!
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1. Command and Control

This style involves outlining the goals, deadlines, and methods to carry out the work. It is a model of solo decision-making with little consultation with team members.

Beware the leader who:

  • wants to control everything
  • tell you what to do and
  • take all the credit

Look for the leader who:

  • can take control in a crisis
  • provide people with clear directions and responsibilities to manage the situation at hand


2. Transactional

This style of leadership involves an exchange between leaders and followers. Transactional leaders operate within existing boundaries, the status quo and are concerned with the execution of tasks first and foremost. However, there is a focus on a fair exchange of rewards for tasks performed.

Beware the leader who:

  • is only focused on the numbers and the outcomes
  • uses meritocracy to defend bias decisions.

Look for the leader who:

  • rewards team members for meeting expectations
  • treats everyone equitably.


3. Transformational

Leaders with this style challenge the status quo and are motivated by change. This style, signified by strategy and vision, engages team members to go above and beyond expectations because of a clear link with personal values. This style involves leaders who walk the talk and collaboration with team members in decision making.

Beware the leader who:

  • Uses charismatic talents to manipulate others
  • Makes promises of future benefits that don't come to fruition.

Look for the leader who:

  • inspires through a common vision and purpose that feels good to you
  • take time to build trust with you.


4. laissez faire (delegative)

The leader passes responsibility to the team members to make decisions about how the work gets done. The team will manage work - from goal setting to outcomes.

Beware the leader who:

  • goes missing in action (MIA) and leaves you with all the work to do
  • takes credit for your work
  • blames when things go awry.

Look for the leader who:

  • is comfortable to empower team members to get the job done
  • takes accountability for the teams' outcomes (successes and failures) with their leaders
  • goes into bat for the team to get the resources required.


5. Servant

This style focuses on employees through ten principles – active listening, empathy, healing, self-awareness, persuasion, vision, foresight, stewardship, commitment to growth, and community.

Beware the leader who:

  • isolates the team goals from the organisational strategy
  • the unethical servant leader.

Look for the leader who:

  • focuses on your development and growth
  • cares about your health and wellbeing.


6. Coaching

This style provides encouragement and input from team members, whilst providing clear direction on roles and responsibilities. The expectations are clear, and the leader can create high-performing teams with exceptional results.

Beware the leader who:

  • talks a lot but may not be listening
  • micro-manages
  • expects the team to put work first.

Look for the leader who:

  • collaborates well
  • provides encouraging feedback
  • invests in team building.


7. Pacesetting

This style involves a desire to excel and high expectations of themselves. The leader will only demand what they demand of themselves and will provide help. This style is task orientated.

Beware the leader who:

  • has high standards bordering on perfectionism
  • works long hours and expects it from all of the team
  • doesn't provide time for training.

Look for the leader who:

  • is committed to excellence
  • leads by example
  • will jump in and get their hands dirty.


Why you need to know about leadership styles in management

Knowing about these 7 leadership styles will help you identify what leaders you identify to, like working with, and what your natural style may be. With this information, you can be aware of possible conflicts you may experience in the workplace and the traps you may fall into when leading a team yourself.

Want to chat more?

If you're ready to develop your leadership skills, book a call or send me an email to find out how we can work together.
Michelle Johns, owner of Braveheart Coach, sitting at her desk in Melbourne working on her laptop with a notepad by her side.
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