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What kind of leader are you? 5 leadership types and strengths

By Fi Darby

Think of a great leader. Who springs to mind? Someone from history, a current Australian politician or perhaps a manager who helped you climb the career ladder? The people you choose as leadership role models almost certainly have similar tendencies. However, there are plenty of opinions about what exactly effective leadership is.

This is because there are many different types of leaders, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Different leadership styles appeal to different people. This is why understanding your own leadership style is so important. 

If you’re going to succeed as a leader, you need to win the hearts and minds of your colleagues. You’ll only be able to do this when you can recognise your own strengths and weaknesses. 

SkillsTalk provide five examples of leadership styles and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

1. The charismatic leader.

smiling man looking at camera

If you’re a charismatic leader, you already have confidence in the power of your personality. You also:
  • Motivate via persuasion rather than detailed instructions
  • Create presentations that trigger a response
  • Find yourself giving lots of after dinner speeches

The advantages of being a charismatic leader

  • You find it easy to communicate your vision
  • You understand how to persuade different personality types
  • You’re comfortable with taking risk

The disadvantages of being a charismatic leader

  • Other people in your team may be reluctant to share their ideas
  • When your energy levels flag so will those of your team
  • You may not always be aware of the power of your persuasion

2. The autocratic leader.

If you like to be in control and find it difficult to take advice, you could well be an autocratic leader. You also: 
  • Often feel you’re the most competent person in the room
  • Feel safest working with policies and rules
  • Find it difficult to trust other people to make important decisions

The advantages of being an autocratic leader

  • You’re likely to remain calm in a crisis
  • Your employees benefit from your clear instructions and expectations
  • Your approach often results in improved productivity

The disadvantages of being an autocratic leader

  • Your team may struggle to cope if your leadership becomes unavailable
  • Your tendency to micromanage can have negative impacts
  • Your lack of trust in your team may have damaging effects

3. The bureaucratic leader.

woman manager talking to team

If you’re one of those people who read the instruction manual before doing something, you could be a bureaucratic leader. You also:
  • Enjoy setting up and working within systems
  • Getting things right is important to you
  • Find change difficult

The advantages of being a bureaucratic leader

  • You look for and create ‘best practice’ methods of working
  • Your predictability helps your team feels secure
  • Everyone in your team knows exactly what their role is

The disadvantages of being a bureaucratic leader

  • Your drive for consistency may limit productivity
  • Your team may not feel they have space for creativity
  • Your structured systems may struggle during times of change

4. The transactional leader.

If you enjoy thinking of creative ways to reward your team, you might be a transactional leader. This ‘give and take’ approach to leadership can be harder to recognise than some. You also:
  • See productivity as the most important goal
  • Enjoy stimulating productivity through motivational schemes
  • Prefer the status quo to ongoing change

The advantages of being a transactional leader

  • Your team are good at maintaining high productivity
  • Your focus on achievable goals delivers a highly individual approach
  • Your systems and requirements are easy to follow

The disadvantages of being a transactional leader

  • Your team may be demotivated by what seems like insensitivity
  • Your focus on productivity risks putting limits on creativity
  • Your team aren’t motivated to work collaboratively

5. The transformational leader.

Constantly seeking to rock the boat? Always got your eye on the next opportunity? If this sounds like you, then chances are you’re a transformational leader. You also:
  • Are quick to interrupt other people with your own ideas and suggestions
  • Get frustrated when processes seem ‘clunky’
  • Spend more time outside your comfort zone than inside it

The advantages of being a transformational leader

  • Your methods and thinking are ideally suited to fast-moving environments
  • Your team will often be quick to share your enthusiasm
  • You find it easy to communicate your goals and give feedback

The disadvantages of being a transformational leader

  • Your approach can be disruptive to the work patterns of others
  • You sometimes end up taking unnecessary risks
  • You occasionally miss details because you’re so excited about the big picture

Shape your leadership style with an online course

Whatever your leadership style there’s always room for improvement and ongoing learning can help. Check out Upskilled's leadership and management courses designed to suit a range of management levels.

Are you a supervisor or leader?

The BSB42015 - Certificate IV in Leadership and Management gives a great introduction to leading and managing other people. This course includes a unit on providing personal leadership.

Do you have 1-2 years of experience in leadership and management?

The BSB51918 - Diploma of Leadership and Management can help you up your game in fast-paced and competitive environments. This course includes a specific unit designed to help you manage people's performance.

Whichever rung you’ve reached on the leadership ladder, online management training is approachable and can broaden your spectrum of understanding. 
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