People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads and the boss drives. – Theodore Roosevelt.

In order for one to be a true leader, they need to become much more than just a person in a position of power. They need to lead by example, know how to motivate and, most importantly, inspire by loyalty and not fear. Nevertheless, all of this can be achieved on so many levels and in so many different ways that a lot of people sometimes get confused with what a real leader actually looks like. In order to get this issue out of the way. Here are several different styles of leadership, their characteristics, as well as benefits they bring.

Various Leadership Styles and Their Characteristics

  1. Democratic leadership

Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people. – Abraham Lincoln

The reason why democratic leadership is both fair and efficient is due to the fact that decisions made in this way affect the entire company, not just the owner and the management. Sure, you can impose a rule, yet, if this is something that affects company’s day-to-day productivity, it is in the nature of your employees as individuals to resist it. On the contrary, need to present an idea and convince your staff to accept it since it’s in their best interest or, better yet, convince them that it was actually their idea all along. In this way, you will manage to provide your employees with a sense of intrinsic motivation, which is, perhaps the greatest form of motivation there is.

  1. Autocratic leadership

In an autocracy, one person has his way; in aristocracy, a few people have their way; in democracy, no one has his way. – Celia Green

The downside of democratic leadership lies in the fact that the conflict is often inevitable. Sure, sometimes conflict gives a birth to a new, better solution, however, at one point, even in the most democratic form of corporate leadership, a manager sometimes has to step in as the tie-breaker. The problem lies in the fact that the best choice isn’t necessarily the most popular one. Sometimes, you have to step-up and take the reins in order to ensure the survival of your company. Moreover, there is a thin line between democratic leadership and an absolute anarchy. Still, an autocratic leader must also be ready to take all the blame should things go south.

  1. Transformational leadership

We cannot become what we want by remaining what we are. – Max Depree

No matter how efficient a leader is, they simply cannot do everything on their own. Being able to make all the right decisions, leading by an example and motivating employees are all prerequisites for the job, however, some leaders simply excel at getting the most out of the company. What they focus on is the growth of the individual and the team. In their eyes, by helping every element of the company grow on its own, it is inevitable that the company will grow as well; first in productivity and then in overall output. Nevertheless, this is something that only the most efficient of leaders are able to pull off and it might take a lot of business and leadership coaching until you are able to get there.

  1. Team leadership

If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself. – Henry Ford

As we discussed in the previous section, in order to progress as a company, all of your teams need to be efficient at what they do. For this to work, you need efficient team leaders. When interviewed during one survey, most soldiers claimed that they were ready to give their lives for people in their squad and platoon, however, as the size of the unit grew, this eagerness for self-sacrifice diminished. A well-organized, tight-knit team can make sure every single individual outperforms their own expectations. However, great internal structure and efficient teambuilding exercises are not enough for this to take place. You also need the right person at the helm.

  1. Charismatic leadership

Charisma is not just saying hello. It’s dropping what you’re doing to say hello. – Robert Brault

At the end of the day, sometimes, all you really need in order to push your company forward is someone charismatic as a beacon. Seeing a person who is passionate about what they do is sometimes all that it takes for other people to feel a bit of this passion, as well. Moreover, corporate goals, especially in large organizations, can feel so distant and abstract to the entry-level employees, that they might have an incredibly hard time staying motivated. However, what it failing to do their task would mean failing a person they look up to, someone who cares about them and trusts in them? Well, the very thought of this might make them work harder and be more efficient.

In conclusion

Leadership is not wielding authority – it is empowering people. Becky Brodin

At the end of the day, in order to become an effective leader, you need to learn a thing or two about all of the above-listed leadership styles. In other words, you need to gain charisma, learn how to appoint efficient team leaders and find a way how to encourage your company to change from the bottom. Finally, you also need to learn when to be autocratic and when to be democratic. No matter what you think about this, the truth is that you just might need both at one point.

Written by Ian Pearson.