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7 Most Important Leadership Styles

As long as you are in a management position, it’s paramount to understand various leadership styles you can apply to successfully lead a team. Don’t be shocked when employees start quitting after you resume a managerial position. Unknown to many, most employees quit managers and not the job. That is why you need to understand the various leadership styles you can apply on various teams.

Talking of a management style, we’re simply referring to a practical way you chooses to lead and work with the team you lead. It includes and is not limited to the way you make decisions, exercise authority, manages projects, communicates with team members and carries on with your day to day operations.

There are various management styles you can apply depending on the situation at hand and the type of team you are leading. Below are 7 most important leadership styles:

1. Democratic.

This is one of the most popular leadership styles used by different managers in their operations. In democratic leadership, decision-making is open to the entire team. Therefore, the team members work for a common goal. Unfortunately, the style isn’t fit for a team if the team you are heading comprise individuals with varied metrics.

The high level of collaboration experienced in democratic management style team members has increased morale. However, decision-making processes are slower because the members need to come to a consensus.

2. Autocratic.

Autocratic managers give limited orders that offer team members room for creativity. Even with their creativity, employees are expected to work towards pre-determined goals or targets. The tasks you assign to your juniors have fixed deadlines and instructions.

Though there are several arguments against this type of leadership, we cannot conclude on its ineffectiveness. Unilateral decision-making processes are instant and save time. The style has severally been blamed for employee dissatisfaction. Managers are encouraged to apply it only when it’s necessary.

3. Laissez-Faire.

It’s one of the most complex and contradictory types of leadership. Leadership roles aren’t clear because all team members have equal rights to decision making. All individual contributions in decision making are considered with respect and due diligence.

Your reports are supposed to sit down and make a decision in your absence as the team leader. The employees feel important because of their ‘uncommon’ role but it ends up confusing an organization.

When you have a team of highly skilled professionals, you should consider using this leadership style because all are experts and won’t frustrate with their decisions.

4. Agile Leadership.

Unique as it is, this leadership style focuses on a leader’s personality. The reporters are guided by a well-defined vision for success. The leader can draft his success agenda or work towards the achievement of the company’s mission. Everything you do as a leader is for the success of the company

Agile leadership is motivational because the leader serves as a role model. Unfortunately, team members are likely to lose focus trying to get recognized by their boss. The type of leadership seeks employees’ growth and development. The leader is also well-informed of the current trends and therefore works to ensure that the company he leads isn’t left behind. 

5. Servant Leadership.

In this type of leadership style, the manager prioritizes serving the company employees. The leader is always on the run to foster greater cohesion with the employees. Their interaction and consultation are continuous. As the team leader, you must undertake identical tasks for your employees and be present in their working environment. Employees are greatly motivated by this type of leadership. Servant leadership doesn’t work well with a self-motivated team.

6. Directive Leadership.

This is a type of leadership where the manager makes all decisions independently without factoring in the members’ inputs. The junior members are expected to implement the decisions without amendments. With this type of leadership, the employees are less motivated in their activities. However, it is advantageous because it saves the time required for consultative decision making.

7. Collaborative Leadership.

Decision making in collaborative leadership is a role of the team leader but he/she factors in the input of the employees. Whenever planning to implement something, the leader consults those with much experience as well as the other team members. The members are expected to contribute to the issues, options, or problems raised by the team leader. Employees are motivated by collaborative leadership and feel valued for being involved in decision making.


We’ve seen that there are several leadership styles managers/team leaders can apply. It’s upon you to choose the one that fits your organization or the situation. The leadership style you choose should depend on the urgency of the decision, academic and professional qualification of team members, and other important organizational aspects.

Choosing a leadership style that fits an organization assures you of success. If you aren’t keen to pick a leadership style, you will witness employees quitting your company.

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