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Leadership style is usually defined as the way a leader uses power to influence subordinates. The subject has been researched for decades, resulting in plenty of leadership styles to try. There’s no one size fits all, as the situation, people, and leadership role can all influence the right style. Below are three leadership styles leaders should be ready to use when the time is right.

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership focuses on bringing about change, whether in an organization, a small group, or one’s self.

The goal is to motivate subordinates to do more than they intended to, and usually more than they even thought they could. While transformational leaders may strive for higher goals, their subordinates usually exceed them.

Since it is an empowering style, the followers are usually amongst the most dedicated.

Team Leadership

Team leadership creates a vision for the subordinates that gives them a motivating purpose. This vision is created by giving subordinates a vivid image of the future, including what they group stands for and where they’re headed.

If there’s one thing team leadership is about, it’s touching the hearts and minds of others. However, Harvard Business Review has published studies that show if a weak leader tries to use this strategy, the results can be catastrophic. Leaders should make sure they have strong skills before using this style.

Autocratic Leadership

In this style, the leader holds all the power. They’ll make decisions without asking for anyone else’s input. They simply make a decision, tell subordinates what to do, and expect them to execute. There’s hardly any flexibility or creativity involved.

To use this style, the leader will likely implement guidelines, procedures, and policies. A situation where this would work is manufacturing or a busy restaurant – fast-paced environments where speed and execution are the most important goals.

On the other hand, a known autocratic leader in big business is Albert Dunlap of Sunbeam Corporation.

Knowing when to use the right leadership style is what’s most important. Using an autocratic leadership style in an art class would likely fail miserably. At the same time, being a team leader in a restaurant wouldn’t work either. By putting labels on these different styles, leaders can pull out the right style at the right time.