The Pros and Cons of Leadership Styles: Are You Making the Right Decisions?
Updated: Apr 4
Leadership styles can make or break any team. Leaders are always committed to getting the best out of their team and want them to succeed in reaching their goals. However, it’s not easy to recognize which kind of leadership will work best for a certain group - no single strategy works across all groups and situations.
In this blog post, we'll explore the pros and cons of different types of leadership styles so you can evaluate whether your decision-making processes are effective for your current circumstances.
Whether you're an executive at the top of your organization or simply trying to develop yourself as a leader, keep reading for insight into how different approaches might yield different outcomes.
What Is Leadership and Why Is It Important to Know the Different Types of Styles Available to You as a Leader
Leadership is the ability to effectively influence people, organizations, and communities to think, plan, and act to achieve a goal.
Knowing different leadership styles is beneficial, especially when managing a team.
Many leadership styles are available depending on the project's nature or the corporate culture.
For example, a democratic leadership style could work well in highly uncertain situations, while authoritarian leadership might be better suited for a more precise environment.
Knowing which leadership style will be most effective for a specific context ensures everyone involved is motivated, empowered, and productive to reach the desired outcome.
The Autocratic Leadership Pros - When It Works and How to Use It
The autocratic leadership style can be quite effective when utilized in dangerous environments, in an emergency, or when swift decisions that affect a large number of people need to be made. This kind of style is also advised when it comes to steering the sales force toward specific goals.
An autocratic leader takes an authoritative stance, which brings feelings of stability and organization. To be successful with this approach, the leader must build trust amongst team members so that even though they do not have a say in decision-making, they will still follow directions to the best of their ability. For autocratic leaders to inspire loyalty and admiration, clear communication about goals and objectives must take place in addition to providing rewards for meeting targets.
This is the style to go if you want to push your team to reach results that have never been reached. You need to give them a strong motivation to go past their limiting beliefs about what is possible and what is not.
Last year, for instance, I used this leadership style when I started as head of corporate for C&SEE (Central & South Eastern Europe). I had to push the team toward new ambitious, never-seen-before goals. I accompanied the autocratic leadership style with Grant Cardone's 10x principle. As you will see in a minute, that was a good way to mitigate the approach. Results? Outstanding!
The Autocratic Leadership Cons - What Can Go Wrong and How to Avoid Pitfalls
Autocratic leadership can potentially alienate team members who lack autonomy and fail to identify with the leader's vision.
Autocratic leadership cons are that leaders may tend to overstep their authority, leading to dysfunctional workplace culture and low morale among employees. To avoid these pitfalls, autocratic leaders should aim to balance their authoritative orders with clear communication explaining the rationale behind decisions while giving space for constructive feedback.
It's important, in my experience, to share a vision and a goal to reach. In that way, you can give your team some autonomy in matters that are appropriate for their job duties and encourage collaboration within the team whenever possible.
If done correctly, autocratic leadership can bring about effective results without overbearing negative consequences for employees.
The Pros of Democratic Leadership - The Benefits and How to Put It into Practice
Democratic leadership can offer many benefits that other types of leadership don't, creating an environment where team members can thrive.
Equality between the leader and the team members is key, as participation in decision-making leads to greater understanding, better communication, and more trust within the team.
Democratic leaders also recognize they will not always have the right answer and encourage alternative viewpoints from their team—this helps to bring fresh ideas and creative thinking into play early on in the decision-making process.
To successfully implement this type of leadership practice, democratic leaders need to take a step back and allow their team members to voice their opinions openly without fear or judgment. This creates an atmosphere that supports collaboration and innovation, helping your team successfully move towards achieving the goals.
I love using this style when it comes to new product launches, marketing campaigns, and innovative revenue stream analysis.
The Cons of Democratic Leadership - What Can Go Wrong and How to Prevent Mistakes
While there are undoubted benefits to this style of leadership, there are also some cons that must be taken into account before implementing it.
Democratic leaders invite input from their team so decision-making can become lengthy as everyone weighs in on options. The leader might even find that they have difficulty in staying ahead of the conversation and may feel inclined to let the team take charge - which can lead to disorganization and confusion as different individuals each want to go in their direction.
To protect against these missteps, democratic leaders need to stay attuned to what's happening and provide guidance when needed, encouraging communication rather than allowing it to be dominated by one or two voices.
If done correctly, democratic leadership could ultimately create a strong result that is accepted and supported by the whole team.
The Pros of Laissez-Faire Leadership - Advantages and Practical Tips for Implementation
Laissez-faire leadership is a great way to empower employees and drive creativity, innovation, and collaborative thinking. This type of leadership allows employees to take ownership of projects and individual tasks by making their own decisions.
With this style of leadership, team members are encouraged to think outside the box and use their own expertise to bring ideas to the table that are both creative and practical. Not only does this lead to greater productivity in the workplace, but it also promotes healthier relationships with those who work together.
For those interested in implementing laissez-faire leadership effectively, the best advice is to set clear expectations for each team member's responsibility and provide a platform for honest communication where ideas can be shared openly. By clearly communicating expectations up front and staying open-minded when it comes to new strategies or concepts, managers can foster an environment of collaboration while maintaining authority as a leader.
By understanding the strengths, weaknesses, and unique characteristics of each type of leadership, you can determine which style is best suited for a specific situation.
Autocracy can be best used in short-term setups when decisions need to be made quickly with little deliberation.
Democratic leadership, on the other hand, is ideal for teams that encourage collective decision-making and rely heavily on brainstorming and collaboration.
Laissez-faire leaders should engage those around them by providing support and resources whenever needed without micromanaging their team.
Leadership is a dynamic concept that has evolved but all successful leaders have one thing in common: a genuine passion for empowering and motivating their team toward success.
So if you are looking to hone your skills as a leader and maximize your team's potential, take charge, step up to the plate, and create a meaningful impact within your organization.
Be an enthusiastic leader; lead with purpose!