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Leadership styes to create environment of effectiveness

The use of a leadership style is not a linear process; rather, it is dynamic and requires us to ebb and flow through the different styles available depending on the situation. So how do you pick which one to use? First, we must understand the styles and the circumstances they may affect.

Autocratic Leadership – All decision-making is the sole prerogative of the leader—everything ranging from how something is done, to what will be done, and including the related rewards and punishment—without his or her receiving input from others.

Situations for using this style of leadership:

  • Crisis situations where time does not permit the use of the receiving of feedback or discussion, and where decisions must be made in an instant. The most common situations in which these are seen are public safety, medical, and military situations.
  • Situations where large groups need direction but where a wide span of control makes it impossible or even counterproductive to receive input from all individuals prior to making a decision. (for example, assembly lines or efforts to organize people into groups).

Participative Leadership – a style that leads to the development of trust and loyalty among subordinates due to the full consideration of the each team members, the use of knowledge and skills, and the accepting of others’ input before making a decision.

Situations for using this style of leadership:

  • A situation where the leader is new to an organization or department and is trying to learn the team’s skills and current practices within the department or company.
  • Any projects or assignments that require creativity. Examples would include movies, website design, print materials, such as magazines, etc.
  • A situation where a win-win decision is required—one where both parties receive everything they are after, through developing creative solutions
  • Situations involving reviewing completed work, emergency situations that have been resolved, the implementation of new procedures, and general strategy
  • Situations involving making attempts to strengthen relationships or improve morale
  • Team development and education through increasing the awareness of all parties involved by seeing things from new perspectives


Laissez-faire Leadership – The leader gives subordinates absolute freedom to determine their own goals and ways of reaching them, with no guidance or communication during or after project completion.

Situations for using this style of leadership:

  • A situation where a team or team member is highly motivated, highly skilled in the area in which he or she is being requested to operate, and capable of accomplishing the task without guidance
  • Areas where a team or team member is more knowledgeable than the leader is and does not require any assistance, guidance, or facilitation within the team to achieve task completion


Transactional Leadership – Subordinates sign a contract to participate in a particular assignment where the manager is the absolute authority. Rules for rewards and punishments are set and are non-negotiable. Transactional leadership focuses on the task and not on the individual or individuals.

Situations for using this style of leadership:

  • Routine tasks in which objective, measurable end results can be measured, such as employee performance (for example, sales goals, the completion of a certain number of tasks)
  • Situation involving motivating a person with a reward for the desired outcome
  • Commission-based pay positions
  • Situations where no creativity or innovation is required
  • Situations where a high risk for the safety of individuals exists (for example, procedural steps for accomplishing a task safely)


Transformational Leadership – The leader sells his or her vision to his or her subordinates, inspiring enthusiasm and passion for his or her vision. The leader genuinely cares for the welfare of his or her subordinates and wants to help them to reach their goals.

Situations for using this style of leadership:

  • A situation involving creating a culture of loyalty
  • A situation involving reversing or preventing compliance incidences with knowledge, skills, creativity, and innovations
  • A situation involving increasing the morale of a team or company
  • The stimulation of people’s intellectual ability
  • Training for potential leadership positions or succession
  • A situation involving the development of a greater ability to anticipate situations
  • A situation involving increasing the speed at which a company and its teams can respond to changes in the environment

VKG believes that the most effective leadership style is that of situational leadership. A situational leader evaluates the situation and then chooses the most appropriate style of leadership for that situation, such as automatic or laissez-faire, etc.

Thank you for reading, and if you are interested in building your skills in each style of leadership, join us for one of our training sessions, or ask us about professional coaching.





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