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How and When to Use Different
After all that discussion on leadership styles, let’s put things back into perspective with a simple
comparison between the 4 main leadership concepts.
A Comparison of Leadership Styles
How it Works
Leaders use a ‘vision’ to direct followers. Each individual member is coached and invested in to bring out
their best. Work is crafted to be engaging to specific followers.
A system of punishments and rewards is used to mold workers into complying with specific expectations.
The workplace is an exchange between leader and worker. The leader gives rewards in terms of money
and bonuses whereas the worker contributes in terms of fulfilling the leader’s commands.
Strict and demanding expectations are set. The leader sets clear guidelines which are to be followed at the
threat of punishment. Workers are rarely entrusted with high-level tasks.
It has similarities to Transformational Leadership. Employees are encouraged to contribute more than
just their labor. Suggestions, perspectives and opinions are welcomed. These leaders can choose to base
their decision on those perspectives or go a step further and allow team members to carve their own
When it Works Best
Ideally, a long period of time would be best. This allows the investment made in an employee to mature
and grow. When dealing with projects that demand creativity, a free and positive environment allows it to
It works best when stability and compliance is constantly needed. When workers are seen to be motivated
by direct incentives such as cash, this leadership style becomes far more effective.
As it has been said many times, autocrats are masters of crises. They are able to clean up the mess and set
clear work methods. This leadership style can be used to clear a path for other leadership methods to
thrive. Lazy employees may be best dealt with an autocratic approach.
It is best used when there is sufficient time, a small and manageable group, and a project that requires a
vast range of input. By giving everyone a say, valuable opinions can be extracted and the leader can get the
most out of every employee’s contribution.