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A female leader explains the different types of leadership to her employees.

5 Types of Leadership & Using Them To Your Advantage

A great business leader can navigate a crisis, drive positive change at an organization, and empower their employees to take on leadership roles in their position. An ineffective leader who cannot motivate an organization can create unintended inefficiencies and high turnover, hurting its bottom line.


Different leadership types can dramatically affect how a company responds to internal and external challenges and how motivated a company’s employees are to work toward its stated goals. We took a look at five types of leadership and how an effective leader can be the change a company needs to remain competitive, even in an uncertain marketplace, and boast an employee base that is all-in on a company’s growth plan.


1. Democratic Leadership

Democratic leaders seek the input of team members before making decisions. This leadership style promotes collaboration, mainly when leaders offer opportunities for discussion around decisions on the table. Democratic leadership is effective in team-building and empowering employees to take ownership of company-wise decisions. Employees are likely to be more motivated no matter where they’re working from when they’ve had a hand in decision-making.


2. Autocratic Leadership

Autocratic leadership, often referred to as authoritarian leadership, is the opposite of a democratic style. Decisions and policies are sent down by higher-ups, expecting that employees will follow any new changes without complaint. Autocratic leadership is one of the most ineffective leadership types. Mainly when used across all decision-making, leading to turnover and disgruntled employees. 


3. Laissez-Faire Leadership

A laissez-faire approach essentially puts the onus on employees at a company to operate successfully without much oversight. Prevalent in startup environments, this leadership style entrusts employees to do the right thing without any guidelines in place so that business leaders can focus on big picture moves related to the company. 


While laissez-faire leadership can be effective in some cases, especially with an experienced group of individuals, it can lead to problems down the road. Make sure to keep tabs on long-term projects, budgetary concerns, or an eye toward growth potential.


4. Coaching-Style Leadership

Coaching-style leadership is a more flexible style. It requires an understanding of employees’ strengths and weaknesses to determine how employees are used to their best potential.


Coaches nurture unique skill sets. Their feedback is constructive rather than critical. They steer employees toward projects and tasks that fit those identified areas of strength. Coaching is typically a successful leadership style, mainly when leaders give employees additional opportunities to work on areas of weakness.


5. Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership is by its very nature constantly evolving and based on where a company is at any given moment. This leadership style can be effective when a company has several short-term growth goals to achieve ahead of a significant transformation and an employee base that thrives on moving deadlines and a fast-paced environment. 

A team meets for coffee while their manager exhibits a laissez-faire type of leadership.

Leadership as a Tool for Growth 

The style that will work best in your organization’s setting depends on your employee base and organizational strategies currently in place. Leadership style can also change over time and circumstance, depending on the challenges leaders face at the time. A leader may even need to act quickly and with authority when there isn’t enough time to gather employee feedback.


Leadership as a way to ensure a company’s long-term growth overall, however, should promote a few critical ideas. What types of leadership work to strengthen an organization, no matter where that organization is starting?


A Motivating Influence

A good leader offers praise where it’s due and recognizes employee efforts in some way, particularly during challenging times. Recognition promotes employee buy-in of upcoming changes at a company. Opportunities for professional development and advancement are also crucial to boosting company morale.


Strong Communication

Employees will have a vested interest in the company’s success when they feel involved in the day-to-day operations. Communication with higher-ups and opportunities for collaboration prevents a silo effect at an organization, improving the chance of innovation.


Work-Life Balance

There is an expectation that some workers will not return to work in an office, leaving companies to embrace planning over the last year that has made hybrid workplaces and remote work the norm. For some employees, the line remains blurred between work and home as a result. 


Good leaders ask important questions around improving their employees’ work-life balance: 


What can a company do to promote both an in-person and remote-work life balance for its employees, even making them feel safe and secure about their jobs? 


Are people being compensated when additional work is expected of them?


Do policies in place cover expectations for remote or hybrid work, and are there limits on communication and response time after-hours? 


Are there ways for employees to check in with company leaders to ensure a high level of job satisfaction or offer improvement suggestions?


Is leadership showing employees that their time is valuable, limiting unnecessary meetings in favor of time spent in a more meaningful way?


Lead by Example

How a leader presents themselves is crucial. Good leaders boast a high level of professional integrity, promote work-life balance standards outlined above, and positively affect the most challenging times. When working through significant changes at a company, employees should trust in solid leadership that will guide them through any challenges. 


A good leader should, in turn, trust in employees to handle day-to-day operations when a leader’s attentions are needed elsewhere rather than micromanaging and give their employees the tools to succeed. 


Leadership Solutions From Trinity

The events of last year upended many industries. An obvious obstacle to oversight and business practices has been managing remote teams and creating flexible workplaces that are efficient, effective, and secure.


But a unique challenge faced by leaders is understanding when a change is needed to get back on solid footing. It takes leadership to identify an organization’s issues and address them, even when that means reflection about your leadership style.


Trinity provides custom solutions to support businesses by identifying obstacles to growth, improving the workplace, and providing companies with the tools they need to lead into the future. Our custom Quickbase applications can transform your leadership capabilities and the workflow in your organization. Contact us today to learn more about our software’s role in taking your business to the next level.

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Scott Burday