Leadership styles - all about the advantages and also challenges

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Leadership styles - all about the advantages and also challenges

There are many different leadership styles and each person who leads a team develops his or her own. The leadership style of a boss is crucial for the motivation of the employees, the working atmosphere and the performance of a team or the whole company. In this article we will show you which leadership styles there are and what is typical for each style.

In general, a management style describes the behavior of a manager towards his employees. This also includes the basic attitude and personal values of a manager. This determines how the manager behaves towards their team and reacts to individual employees. The management style required by the employees themselves also plays a role here, as this also depends on their type.

Accordingly, there are many factors that determine leadership styles. They make a clear answer to the questions about the right leadership style impossible. The right leadership style corresponds to the situation, the respective person, their needs and their way of working as well as the desired result. The decision-making scope of the manager and the employee is also decisive.

What leadership styles are there?

Many scientists from sociology and psychology have already studied leadership styles. A distinction is made between classical, modern, authoritarian and cooperative management styles. Depending on the manager, the employee and the company, each leadership style has particular advantages and challenges. Most leadership styles belong either to the classical leadership styles according to Kurt Lewin or to the traditional styles according to Max Weber.

Weber was concerned with the question of why people allow themselves to be led in the first place, and sometimes in an authoritarian manner. Lewin, on the other hand, examined how groups reacted to different leadership styles. Both came to the conclusion that the wrong style has a detrimental effect on the working climate and the Motivation of the employees having an effect.

The seven classic leadership styles

The following descriptions are ideal-typical. In the working world, there is usually no leadership style in its pure form. Most managers combine different styles.

Leadership styles according to Kurt Lewin

1. the authoritarian or hierarchical management style

The manager commands, the employees implement. The manager always finds the right solution, while there is no room for criticism of their behaviour. Personal sensitivities and needs of the employees are not important here, while everything is done for the success of the project.

The authoritarian boss can make quick decisions and takes full responsibility for them. He controls the entire workflow. However, because only one person has all the responsibility, it is easy for bad decisions to occur. If the boss fails unexpectedly, chaos breaks out.

2. the democratic or cooperative style of leadership

The manager and the employee work together to Company goals to achieve. Tasks are delegated and responsibility is also transferred to employees. There is an open culture of communication in the company so that employees can also constructive criticism can express.

Employees are allowed to contribute themselves, to live out their ideas and creativity. Since the responsibility is not concentrated on a single person, a failure of the manager is also not so dramatic. The more independent way of working makes it easier for employees to identify with the company.

It takes longer to make a decision when many employees are involved in the process. It is also easier for competitive situations to arise between employees. In the long run, this can be detrimental to the working atmosphere.

3. the laissez-faire management style

Translated from French, "laissez faire" means "let do". The laissez-faire management style is therefore understood as a style that goes hand in hand with extensive freedom of action for the employees. They can shape their own work without interference from the manager. While there is no punishment for missteps, there is also no help for problems.

With this management style, employees are given the opportunity to develop themselves and be creative. They work independently and can realize themselves. On the other hand, due to the non-existent or very low level of control and lack of planning, chaos or competition can occur among the employees. Group dynamics bring about the need for larger groups to have a leader. As a result, individuals can become marginalized.

Leadership styles according to Max Weber

4. the autocratic style of leadership

Characteristic of the autocratic leadership style is a leader who acts as an autocrat. She does not ask anyone when she makes a decision. There is a strict hierarchy in her team and the employees have to follow her orders. The autocratic leadership style is similar to the authoritarian leadership style of Lewin. So the advantages and disadvantages are also similar.

This type of leadership is advantageous when you need to make quick decisions. Discussions would only prolong decision-making processes unnecessarily and sometimes there is not enough time for that. Employees have the advantage that they are relieved of responsibility and do not have to make decisions themselves. The autocratic leadership style is not very suitable for independent, creative employees. It is difficult for them to take over everything without criticism and not be able to express their own opinion.

5. the patriarchal management style

Typical of the patriarchal management style is also a single-dominant superior who also sees himself as a father figure. He also does not ask anyone when he makes a decision. He feels responsible to his employees and wants to take good care of them. He justifies his leadership style by his wealth of experience, knowledge advantage or by his age.

Here, too, it is advantageous for employees to know exactly what needs to be done. And in this case, too, there is no room for creative minds that like to break new ground or come up with their own make decisions. Everyone has to do what the boss says.

6. the charismatic leadership style

In a leadership position, a charismatic person is able to effortlessly get people to do what he or she wants. A charismatic leader usually has a great deal of Self-confidence and a great power motive. She is usually very eloquent and can convince her employees with her words.

Employees follow their charismatic leader willingly. This makes them willing of their own accord to make all the sacrifices that it takes to Achieving goals. However, they run the risk of being taken advantage of. Often they realize too late that they have been exploited or have fallen for a scam.

7. the bureaucratic management style

This leadership style is not associated with a particular leader. This is because this leadership style is limited to a certain period of time. The person at the top of the team can be replaced at any time. He comes into the leadership position because of his office or long service. Clear and written service instructions regulate the workflow.

Personal sympathies and antipathies can have less influence on the leader's dealings with employees in this model. Power is given to a person based on certain structures. However, this model offers no room for flexibility or quick, let alone unconventional, decisions. Employees can neither self-initiated still act independently, from which their motivation can suffer.


The three modern leadership styles

The change in the modern working world towards digitalisation, a new image of man and a change in values have given rise to three new leadership styles that are more contemporary than the classic ones considered above.

1. transactional leadership

Transactional leadership is leadership with goal agreements. Managers and employees agree on certain goals. If these are achieved, there is a corresponding reward. If an employee achieves his goals, the manager gives him recognition, praise or certain incentives. If the employee does not achieve his goals, the manager criticises his behaviour, which in his opinion was responsible for this, and there may be further sanctions.

The transactional leadership style is task-oriented. Here, the manager focuses less on the employee and his or her needs and more on achieving specific goals. If the employee lacks discipline, does not achieve his goals or deviates from the plan, the manager takes corrective action.

2. transformational leadership

The transformational leadership is the logical development of transactional leadership. This style of leadership is about the manager positively influencing and changing the behavior of his or her employees by Corporate values and leads by example. The focus is not on achieving specific goals, but on strengthening a relationship of mutual trust.

As a leader, you trust each of your employees as well as your entire team. Your employees trust your competencies and are guided by your exemplary behavior. Because you have an eye for the strengths and needs of your employees, you deploy them according to their abilities and preferences, which in turn improves their performance. Loyalty strengthens towards you.

The transformational leadership style gets by without hierarchies. By assigning specific tasks, the areas of responsibility are also clarified. Everyone has their own area with their specific responsibilities and competencies. In this way, the whole team works together at eye level.

3. the situational management style

Another modern approach is found in the situational management style again. While a strict authoritarian management style is no longer enforceable today, there are still situations from time to time, such as crises, in which quick and clear decisions are required. Only in this way can certain results be achieved and the company remain capable of acting. Based on these considerations, the situational management style has emerged.

The situational leadership style takes into account the different personality types of the employees, with their respective strengths, weaknesses and maturity level. The different personality types you can use the DISG behavioural dimensions determine. The dimensions Dominant, Proactive, Steady and Conscientious are distinguished, whereby there are also various mixed types. You want to find out which dimension you or your employees belong to? Then you can find out here our free personality test do.

The four levels of situational leadership

In addition to the DISG dimension, the maturity levels of the employees also play an important role, because you train and guide a newcomer or new employee differently than an employee who has been working in your company for years. These considerations result in four levels for the situational leadership style:

1. conducting

As a manager, you give precise instructions and check the work processes of your employees.

2. convince

Employees practice what they have already learned, but need further support from the manager.

3. participate

At this level, the employee's competencies are already well developed. However, he still needs some motivation to make his own decisions.

4. delegate

If both the employee's competencies and motivation are at a good level, the manager can delegate tasks and own responsibilities to him. The situational leadership style is flexible and adapts very well to the specific Needs of the respective employee.


Leadership styles: Which is the best?

As far as the different leadership styles are concerned, there is no blanket "right" or "wrong". Nevertheless, as a manager you are probably still asking yourself which is the best management style. A good manager will always try to motivate his employees and spur them on to achieve their best performance. For this she needs empathy, experience and tact. But what leads to the desired result in each case depends on the situation and the employee.

As an employer, do you want to successful and attractive, you will lead your team in such a way that they can optimally complete their tasks. A combination of incentives and sanctions is usually most effective. There will be situations where you need to motivate, others where you direct and others where you guide or control.

What employees always need is recognition and Appreciation. They want to be seen and appreciated, and they want to see a deeper meaning in their work. If you succeed in giving them that, they in turn will gladly perform at their best.

How to develop your leadership style

A good and modern leadership style always requires coaching skills from the manager. A combination of neuroscience and economics allows you to develop potentials in your employees that eclipse anything that has been seen before. Only when we understand each other on a deeper level and strengthen each other, the best results emerge.

For our training as business coachTogether with the renowned behavioural philosopher and neuroscientist Dr. Frederik Hümmeke, we have developed a special method. It is based on modern neuroscientific findings and combines rational with emotional aspects. In this way, individuals and teams can be guided to better performance in the shortest possible time.

As a leader, time is your most valuable asset, we know that. That's why Greator offers the Business Coaching Training completely online. We have summarized the most important contents for you. You divide your time completely yourself and can integrate the training flexibly into your everyday life. Learn everything you need to know about this unique program in the webinar!


We distinguish between a number of different leadership styles. There are classic styles such as the authoritarian, democratic, bureaucratic or patriarchal leadership style and modern leadership styles such as the transactional, transformational or situational leadership style. Each leadership style has its own advantages and disadvantages.

As a manager, you are looking for the one, perfect leadership style - but there is no such thing. It usually depends on the situation, the mood of the day and the respective employee what fits best and promises the best results. As a modern manager, you want to get the best out of your employees. But to do that, you need to be more than just a boss: You need to become a coach to your employees. That's how you'll lead your team to incredible performance while making sure your employees love their jobs.

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