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The 6 most common leadership styles and how to find yours

Kirjoittanut: Maria Karimo - tiimistä Sointu.

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The 6 most common leadership styles and how to find yours 

Maria Karimo 

Leadership and the style of leading can change drastically depending on the situation. Most leaders adjust their styles over time, learning from experience and practising active communication with their team. To be a better leader, it’s important to know our own leadership style that works best with you and your team. I read the article “The 6 most common leadership styles and how to find yours” In this essay I will explain what a leadership style is and explain the six common styles and how they work. 

A leadership style is how a leader leads their team, including their methods, traits, and actions. It’s influenced by their personality, values, skills, and experiences, what all affect how well they lead. Leaders use their style to plan, manage, and handle changes, while considering their team’s needs, expectations and goals. They might use different styles depending on the situation, but usually they have one main style which they prefer and using it feels the most natural. 

Understanding your leadership style is really important as a leader. It helps you see how it impacts the people you lead. Knowing your style lets you identify your strengths and figure out which skills you need to work on. Some leaders can already tell what their style is and whether it works well for them and their team. Many leaders show traits of different styles of leadership, and some are still unaware of their own style. Getting feedback from the people you lead is a good way to understand your personal style better. It helps you adjust how you lead to better fit the needs of your team. 

Transformational leaders 

Firstly, transformational leaders are the ones who take charge in a group, uniting everyone with a shared vision, creating energy, and making people passionate. They focus on change and inspire their team to do more than they thought possible. Transformational leaders are authentic to their team and commitment to their mission and not only for their personal gain. They motivate the team mates to grow both professionally as well as personally, they recognize the input the team puts into work and reward them when they achieve their goals. This style works well for organizations that are in need of big changes. Key traits include looking to the future, being okay with change, and helping team members to grow to reach their full potential. 

Delegative leadership 

Delegative leadership, means letting the team members take charge. Leaders who use this style trust their team to get the job done without too much interference. They don’t micromanage or give a lot of feedback. Instead, they delegate the team members and let them use their own ideas and skills to reach their goals. This can work well if team members are capable, responsible and confident in the work that they do. But it can also cause conflicts and confusion about who’s in charge. It might be hard for new members to get used to this style, so leaders need to make sure it’s used appropriately. 


Authoritative leaders 

Authoritative leaders are efficient when there is a task that is time critical and urgent. They guide their team by setting a direction and encouraging the rest of the team to follow. They mentor their team members and provide guidance and motivation for efficient work. They focus on getting to know each team member personally to offer tailored support. However, they need to pay extra attention on using this leadership style at the right time. They need to be careful not to micromanage, as this can be overwhelming for the team since this style of leadership is often used at highly stressful times when improvements need to be made in a fast paste.  



Transactional leaders 

Transactional leadership is like managing a team with a clear system of rewards and punishments. Leaders set goals to their team and explain how the team will be rewarded or punished for their work. Rewards often involve money, like bonuses. Transactional leaders have formal authority and positions of responsibility in an organization what gives them the rights to reward other team members when achieving the set goals. This style focuses on following routines efficiently rather than making big changes, solving problems in practical ways, and creating motivation for the team to try to achieve their goals. Each employee has clear roles, but if rewards aren’t aligned with company goals, and if the method puts excessive reliance on the knowledge of a single person the method might not work well. 


Participative leadership 

Participative leadership, what is also known as democratic leadership, involves leaders listening to their employees and involving them in decision-making. This leadership style brings teams together by working with all the skills the team has instead of only focusing g on individual skills. Leaders who use this style are inclusive, good at communicating, and willing to share power. It encourages teamwork and problem-solving instead of blaming individuals. While this style has been common, it can be challenging with remote work what is becoming more popular nowadays due to the fastly growing digital world. However, it builds trust and empowers employees by valuing each other’s ideas. 


Servant leadership 

Servant leadership is about prioritizing the needs of others. It focuses on building strong relationships and helping people reach their full potential. Leaders who use this style understand their team members’ goals and develop their skills while setting a good example themselves. It’s based on making ethical decisions that benefit everyone in the team. Servant leaders create an environment that creates results instead of managing the results independently. This approach encourages creativity and problem-solving, as team members feel valued and empowered to share ideas and it is often used to reach long term goals instead of short-term profits. It also improves communication and prevents conflicts, leading to a more loyal and productive team. 


Finding your leadership style is crucial for effective leadership. Your style influences how your team sees you and how efficiently the team works together. Some ways to find your leadership style are, firstly having clear goals. Knowing what you want to achieve and communicating it clearly to your team. Also, experimenting with different leadership styles to see what works best for you, your team and the team’s needs is necessary when you aren’t aware of your leadership style. Remembering to be authentic and leading purely from your passion and purpose. Remembering to be open to feedback from your team and being openminded and willing to adjust your approach when needed. By following these steps, you can discover and develop a leadership style that brings out the best in you and your team. 



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