What Is Leadership Style?


Quick Answer

Leadership style is a leader's ability to direct, manage, motivate and guide groups of people. In regard to employees, there are implicit and explicit methods that determine the leader's specific style. Research has proven there are multiple effective leadership styles displayed by leaders in politics, business and other fields.

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Full Answer

Common leadership styles include authoritarian or autocratic, participative or democratic and delegative, and laissez-fair. Effective leaders generally incorporate all three styles, using one more predominately. Ineffective leaders use one style exclusively, typically autocratic.

The authoritarian leadership style creates clear and concise expectations about what needs to be accomplished, when it needs to be accomplished and how it needs to be accomplished. Authoritarian leadership concentrates on the decisions and commands of the leader. This leadership style requires leaders to make decisions independently with little input from followers.

The participative leadership style is recognized as the most effective style. Democratic leaders provide direct feedback to followers while participating in group activity. This leadership style encourages input and participation from followers in the decision-making process. However, the leader controls the final say over decisions. Research has shown that followers are more motivated and creative as a result of feeling engaged.

The delegative leadership style allows followers to make decisions, but the leader remains responsible. This style is considered the least effective of the three, as followers generally lack guidance and direction. Delegative leadership leads to followers blaming one another for mistakes and refusing to accept responsibility.

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