Often when we think of leadership, we group leaders into two categories… good and bad. The fact is, there are many different styles of leadership that aren’t exactly good or bad, they’re just different. All have their own pros and cons, and many are appropriate based on the situation.
Let’s break down three common leadership styles including the pros, cons and characteristics of each.
The easiest explanation for transactional leadership is “I give you this, and you do this in return.” Transactional leaders give instructions to their team and then give different rewards or discipline based upon success or failure.
PRO: There is no confusion or guesswork because tasks and expectations are clearly stated from the beginning.
CON: This form of leadership is rigid leaving no room for creativity or innovation.
If you use the threat of having to stay late as a motivator, you might be a transactional leader.
Transformational leaders seek change by inspiring innovation. This form of leadership is about making improvements and finding better ways to get things done. They seek to inspire or empower employees to own their work and offer suggestions about how things can be more efficient.
PRO: Transformational Leaders establish a high level of trust with their team and rally them to embrace a shared goal or vision.
CON: In environments with established processes this style of leadership can ruffle feathers.
If you’re constantly pushing your team to work outside of their comfort zone, you may be a transformational leader.
This is a term that basically means “leave it be.” A Laissez-faire leader provides all the tools and resources their team needs, then steps back and lets them use them to make their own decisions about how to proceed.
PRO: This level of trust and autonomy can be empowering with a creative, self-motivated team.
CON: If your team isn’t organized or self-directed, chaos can quickly ensue.
If you’re predominantly involved at the beginning and end of a project, you just might be a Laissez-faire leader.
Most leaders will go through a variety of different types of leadership styles throughout their careers. And as companies change and grow you’ll likely find you’ll change your style of leadership to fit the circumstances. Take some time to “try on” different leadership styles to find one that’s right for you.