Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 11.21.29 AMThere is a lot of talk about the many different leadership styles and which one is the most effective within the workplace. Although opinions widely vary, there are clear positives and negatives to each type. Here’s a closer look at the pros and cons of five popular leadership styles:


The participative leadership is much like a democracy where every voice is heard and every employee has a say in final decisions. This type of leadership boosts morale, especially in the Millennial generation which highly values having their opinions heard. Employees who work with this style of leadership feel appreciated and important since their ideas are often brought to leadership and put into motion. However, a study of this style of leadership over children showed that although kids produced higher quality work, they were overall less productive. This could be because in this form of work environment, employees can easily feel that someone else will pick up the slack since it is a team effort.


The transactional leadership style is based solely off of a rewards and punishment system where employees are judged on performance. For employees who don’t respond well to this type of motivation, this leadership style can be frustrating and unfulfilling. Many employees feel they cannot express opinions or be creative under transactional leaders since the main focus is getting the assigned task completed. Transactional leaders are skilled at setting expectations and goals for the team, and enforcing rules. Under these leaders, employees will not question job roles or tasks, since communication is clear and straightforward.


These communicative and visionary leaders are skilled at motivating and inspiring a team of employees. These leaders strive to connect with employees on a personal level, creating a stronger sense of loyalty and camaraderie within the team. Although transformational leaders do lack in attention to detail because of their focus on the bigger picture, overall these leaders are strong and have the highest rates of innovation within their teams.


An autocratic leader has complete control over the employees, and is solely responsible for the decision-making of the group. With this style of leadership, group members tend to feel like they have no worth or value, since they do not have any input on decisions. Since the brainpower is only coming from one person, this leadership style typically does not lead to innovative or creative ideas and can cause low employee morale. On the positive side, autocratic leadership does work well in situations where decisions must be made quickly, since the leader does not need to consult with anyone else. In weaker groups with less experienced workers, an autocratic leader is sometimes needed since the employees do not have the skillsets to make informed decisions yet.


The Laissez-Faire leadership is a very hands-off style of leadership. The leader delegates tasks to employees and provides little direction, instead letting each employee take charge and bring the task to completion. Although some employees feel lost or without guidance under this leadership style, others who prefer to figure things out on their own thrive. Employees use these opportunities to showcase their strengths and prove themselves to be strong leaders. Highly skilled workers typically adore laissez-faire leaders since they do not need much coaching or development, whereas low-skilled workers do not fare well.