Different Types of Leadership Styles:


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In this article we will be discussing the following different types of leadership styles:

Authoritarian Leadership

Autocratic Leadership

Situational Leadership


Different Types of Leadership Styles:
Situational Leadership

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Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Of all the different types of leadership styles my personal favorite is the style referred to as situational leadership.

So, what does this actually mean?

Before we jump into the definition of what a situation leader is let me first offer a disclaimer so that no one is left with the wrong idea. I do not believe for one minute that someone can change styles at the drop of a hat or even in some cases over time. This is more about identifying what type a leader someone is than trying to change someone into that style of leadership. After all that’s why there are many different types of leadership styles and all have their own merit.

Different Types of Leadership Styles:
Situational Leadership

So back to our original question of what exactly does a situational leader look or act like?

A situational leader is the one that adapts their leadership style to either the challenge they are facing or the type of people they are leading. As an example I was in the United States Marine Corps for several years and now I am in the private sector. There is no question I have changed my leadership style from the one that I used in the Marine Corps. Even while in the Marine Corps I adapted to the situation at hand.

There were times when I ran my team like a dictator and other times I desired to get feedback from everyone before making a decision. Both were effective based on the desired results. In a combat situation you do not have the time to do anything other than give commands and expect immediate action to take place. Lives will be in grave danger if this doesn’t happen!

Different Types of Leadership Styles:
Situational Leadership

Some challenges in the business world demand feedback from those that are part of the entire team so that you have buy in and more importantly everyone understands the impact and commitment necessary to be successful. An example of a situation where this might work very well is when a business is trying to decide if they should expand into a different or more complex area of their industry. This may be a time to bring all the team together to consider all the positives and negatives impacts that could occur. In this type of situation the leader has made a decision to consider the possibilities and involves their team in that process. After everything has been considered the leader makes a decision.

When considering the different types of leadership styles and in particular this one, situational leadership, it is important to understand that being flexible is the key to success. Sometimes being too rigid or predictable can work against you as a leader. An example of this is Daniel being cast into the lion’s den by King Darius. King Darius truly liked Daniel very much and had nothing but respect for him. However, because the King liked him it meant many of the others under the King’s rule hated Daniel and wanted to see him dead. As a result they tricked the King into making a law that couldn’t be changed and resulted in Daniel being thrown into the lion’s den. Don’t let the power of being a leader destroys your ability to lead! An example of this might be that you take severe and swift action on someone you don’t care much for because they broke a policy; however, when that same policy is broken by someone that is valuable to the company you try to back track. Think through all the possibilities before taking the original action. That’s situational leadership.

Thank you and may God bless you!



Different Types of Leadership Styles:
Authoritarian Leadership

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Is authoritarian leadership good or bad? Well, having spent over twelve years in the United States Marine Corps I can attest to the fact that this leadership style has only one good application.

Different Types of Leadership Styles:
Authoritarian Leadership

Having spent over twelve years in the United States Marine Corps I can attest to the fact that the authoritarian leadership style has only one good application and that is in the military. In the military you need one person in total charge and everyone else carrying out their orders. If it is any other way in combat lives can be lost.

So, what is authoritarian leadership? In short it is a leadership style whereby one person designated as the leader makes all decisions without any input from others. In most cases when it happens outside the military it is a result of a control freak. Although there are times outside the military that an authoritarian leader is effective it is far and few between.

In the military it isn’t so much that the leader is a control freak it is that fact that orders can’t be questioned. With rare exception in the military those in a leadership role have experienced what is taking place at some point in their career. Therefore, when they bark out an order it requires instant obedience. There isn’t time in a combat situation to sit down and discuss all the options. It boils down to experience and gut check moments.

Different Types of Leadership Styles:
Authoritarian Leadership

In business on the other hand this leadership style works just the opposite. Some refer to it as micro managing or dictatorship. In either case turnover will be high and productivity will be low. Both are business killers. In my opinion the situational leadership style is the most effective outside of the military. A situational leader will adapt to each situation and two the types of employees they are leading. Everyone is a little different. My father always told me that there are three types of people in the workplace. Those that you can suggest something be done and leave the deadline open ended. The type of person that you tell them it needs to be done and give them a deadline. The third is the type of person you direct them to do it right now.

When it comes to the military an authoritarian leader is seen as confident and in charge. During my twelve years in the Marine Corps this type of leader is exactly what people want. They don’t want someone asking for input from those following them. Followers want someone that knows what to do. When a leader starts asking “What do you think”, it scares the heck out of those following and for good reason. Those following demand a lot from their leader.

Good leadership skills go much farther than just getting something accomplished. Good leadership skills demand creating an environment where those following want to accomplish what leadership is asking them to do. As I mentioned earlier it creates loyalty and loyalty creates retention and productivity. Not just productivity but quality in that productivity.

In the Marine Corps we had a saying that was very true but always got a chuckle when repeated. We want to be so prepared to go to battle that instead of saying “We are prepared to die for our country” we wanted to be sure that our opposition “Would be dying for their country!” An authoritarian leadership style would go a long way to insuring just that in combat.

Thank you and May God bless you!



Different Types of Leadership Styles:
Autocratic Leadership

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With rare exceptions one of the very worst types of leadership is autocratic leadership or sometimes referred to as authoritarian!

These types of leadership styles are much like a dictator! My way or the highway! They make most, if not all, decisions without any input from anyone else! They believe they know more than anyone else. Not trusting others also becomes a big part of why someone like this will not allow anyone else into the decision-making process.

The problems with these types of leadership styles run deep! The autocratic leadership style by definition does not allow for any buy in from your staff. In addition, this type of leader by definition is not leading they are in fact pushing. The term leader means people are following you. If you are not allowing for anyone to follow you then it is very hard to claim to be a leader of any type.

So, let’s take a look at how this type of leadership style might play out in a real-life situation.

Let’s assume you have a business owner or CEO of a company sitting in their office making decisions for their staff in the field. They simply make a decision that one size fits all without receiving any input from the field.

Different Types of Leadership Styles:
Autocratic Leadership

This happens much too often in the business world today. Many refer to it as the flavor of the week. This simply put means that another program rolls out of the corporate office and is force fed to the field claiming that it will be a permanent change. Within just a short amount of time they discover it isn’t working and it fades away.

The sad news is that it may in fact be a good idea but because they didn’t bother to get any feedback and/or input from the field prior to rolling it out the field doesn’t embrace the idea with open arms. In my long career I have seen this over and over again. What a complete waste of money and time.

Any form of autocratic leadership or authoritarian within any organization with the exception of a military one will end in a disaster. As someone that served in the United States Marine Corps there is a time a place for these types of leadership styles. Within the Marine Corps when something needs to happen in a combat situation there is no room for sitting around and discussing it. It could and will cost lives if someone begins asking why are we doing it this way!

When I was going through Marine Corps boot camp you had better respond immediately to the Drill Instructor or you would pay a big price. I won’t go into what that meant since corporal punishment is frowned upon, but let’s just say they got your attention and held it.

However, in the business world autocratic leadership is not something that is going to work long term.

Thank you and May GOD Bless You!

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