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Types of leaders: the 15 types of leadership

There are several types of leadership that can be classified based on the personal skills of those who have the responsibility to take on a project.

In this sense, leadership can be defined as the ability to manage a group activity or project, putting into practice a series of capacities that manage to bring the participants together and influence them in such a way that the achievement of the set objectives is possible.

Classic leadership type

For some authors, there are 3 leadership styles that can be applied to multiple areas, and from which other classifications derive:

1. Traditional leadership

The one that is inherited, as is the case with monarchies or the presidencies of family companies.

2. Legitimate or formal leadership

In this case, the leader is elected according to previously agreed procedures (elections, selection by a special commission, etc.)

3. Charismatic leadership

It is the style of leaders with a marked emotional influence on the group of followers. Many political leaders respond to this type of leadership.

Types of business leadership

In the organizational field, other forms of management have been identified in accordance with certain personality and problem-solving guidelines of team leaders. Here are the most common leadership styles in companies:

1. Democratic leadership

It is a leadership style characterized by constant consultation with the work team, who can choose from multiple alternatives proposed by the leader. However, this type of management can lead to greater bureaucracy or slowing down of processes, since considering so many points of view may make it difficult to make decisions that are approved by all involved.

2. Dictatorship leadership

It is the style of leaders who impose their criteria and see the work team as arms executing orders, without considering ideas or opinions.

3. Paternalistic leadership

Paternalistic leaders are focused on productivity, so they tend to establish reward and punishment dynamics among their subordinates in order to achieve goals.

In the long term, this type of leadership can erode the cohesion of the team and generate competition conflicts between its members.

4. Liberal leadership or laissez faire

In this case, the leader gives wide freedom of action to the team members, so they usually make decisions on their own and go to their superior only when the circumstance warrants it.

5. Emotional leadership

This type of leader is characterized by having a highly developed emotional intelligence, which gives them social skills and strengths that allow them to connect with the work team.

This leadership style is very useful in transitional processes, such as branch changes, relocations, administrative restructuring processes or mergers between companies, which tend to create a lot of uncertainty among subordinates.

6. Transactional leadership

It is characterized by the work team accepting the leader’s directives, usually in exchange for something (a salary, benefit, etc.). Bosses in temporary jobs tend to establish this type of dynamic with their subordinates.

7. Authentic leadership

It is the style of the so-called natural leaders, who without needing to be charismatic or authoritarian manage to guide the teams towards their goals. This type of management is characterized by a deep self-awareness of one’s own strengths and weaknesses, so that the leader has complete control over his emotions and, therefore, can be more empathetic with his subordinates.

8. Longitudinal leadership

It is a style specific to organizations with very rigid work dynamics. The leader is the only one who can give directives, and these are obeyed and transmitted by people who act as secondary leaders, who in turn transmit them to subordinates.

Also known as pyramidal leadership.

9. Lateral leadership

It is the type of management in which the direction of the team is shared between different leaders who have the same rank in the company. This can happen because they have the same degree of influence among the team, or because their level of experience is similar.

See also:

Types of educational leadership

Educational leadership is assumed by the school director as the main guide and generator of decisions. His leadership style can have a significant impact not only on the performance of the teachers, who would be the direct subordinates, but also on the students of the institution.

Although many educational leaders may apply classical or business leadership styles in their management, there are three types of leadership directly related to school dynamics.

1. Distributed leadership

In this case, the academic director acts as an agent enhancing the teachers’ skills. By identifying their strengths, they can create strategies that allow each to put these capabilities at the service of the institution.

With this type of leadership, decentralization is achieved in decision-making, but it also has a positive impact on the sense of belonging and level of participation of subordinates, which ends up creating a positive dynamic for the institution.

2. Pedagogical leadership

This style of leadership seeks for the person in charge of the educational institution to go beyond administrative functions, creating strategies that promote the constant updating of teachers, that facilitate the learning processes for students and that, in short, generate a better school performance

3. Leadership for social justice

It is a leadership style that promotes equal opportunities and non-discrimination based on sex, gender, race, disability or social status, for both teachers and students.

See also Difference between leader and boss.

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