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Types of leadership


At present we can observe different types of leadership, that although some of them are mainly associated with the business world and group management, the ability to be a leader is relevant in any aspect of our lives, not only for work but also also for our social relationships.

Leadership represents the set of skills that a person has, linked to their ability to make decisions, that lead him and a group of people to achieve the goals and objectives that they set. What represents a leader is his ability to motivate, encourage, manage, organize, delegate, take the initiative and make those who follow him work with enthusiasm until they achieve the proposed achievements.

Depending on the tasks or the objectives to be fulfilled, different skills are necessary, for this reason different types of leadership arise, since each of them has a series of characteristics to adapt in the best possible way to the context and prevailing circumstances.

A good leader is when he is able to adapt to the context in which he finds himself, generating the necessary skills to obtain the best performance both from himself and from the other people who accompany him. Although there will always be skills and abilities that you will not be able to develop. That is why different types of leaders emerge , who also meet certain personal characteristics.

If we want to be a good leader or find one who is the one who leads a team or organization in the best possible way, it is necessary that we know what the different types of leadership are , since we may be interested in one or the other depending on the context in the development of our objectives and goals to be met.

The main types of leaders

Before looking at the different types of leadership, let’s look at some essential characteristics of what leaders are like. Since these leaders may exercise a type of leadership based on their personality, character and ideals.

The German philosopher and economist, Max Weber, recognized as one of the fathers of sociology along with Karl Marx, differentiated three pure types of leadership , based on how they exercise their powers or how they have achieved them.

Traditional leader

This type of leader stands out for being one not on his own merits, but because it comes from tradition, custom or an important position in his family clan. They are heritage leaders, passing their leadership from generation to generation. A clear example is the reigns.

Charismatic leader

This leader’s main asset is to generate enthusiasm among his followers, they revere him and have a real dependence on him. The problem with this leader is that he believes a lot in himself more than in others, so he prefers to do things for himself and not provide great lessons, which causes the group to collapse when he is absent.

Legitimate leader

It is called legitimate because there is also one that is illegitimate, the second would be by acquiring its authority in an illegal way, without the popular consensus of the group it directs. So it would be forceful leadership. While the legitimate is a leadership elected by the majority, acquiring power through legal and ethical methods.

It is important to note that one of the fundamental characteristics of a leader are his followers, since without followers there is no leader . Under this representative figure fall a series of responsibilities, since the most important decisions must have passed through your personal filter first.

It is not strange to see how an organization has rigid rules, where they adopt behavioral guidelines that over time end up not being of equal use. Faced with these circumstances, many companies or organizations choose to change their leader , (a great example we have when the Apple company fired its founder Steve Jobs), this is one of the traditional ways of renewing itself before other types of circumstances that bring the new Times. Let’s check below what are the different types of leadership:

The main types of leadership

It should be clarified that these types of leadership are not always good or recommended , just as a type of leadership can be very effective and positive for a given context; It can also be especially negative with dire consequences for the people who follow the leader. There are cases of work stress (called burnout), poor performance, or mental stress and exhaustion that can cause casualties.

In these cases, the psychological factor plays an important role, since although it seems that there is a good performance in the short term, in the long term it can lead to crisis, with low self-esteem and great mental fatigue, which makes performance drop dramatically. That is why it is essential to follow up to see what may be failing in the type of leadership that subordinates are submitting to. Apart from giving an explanation about the type of leadership, we will also analyze the advantages and disadvantages of each of them.

Democratic leadership

Before the leader makes the decisions, they have been previously exposed in the group, to know each opinion of his followers and take them into account. The leader welcomes the opinions and filters the ones he considers most pertinent. There are clear norms and evaluation criteria that are well specified and have been made known to each of the group members. This is participatory leadership since the intention is to promote dialogue before making the corresponding decision. Clear historical examples of this type of leader are found in the figures of Mao, the top leader of the Communist Party of China. And also Mahatma Gandhi, who started the Indian independence movement.


The leader is flexible in the face of problems, offers different possibilities for the group to be the ones to choose them. Thus the group is immersed and integrated in the decision process , in this way they are more committed and enthusiastic. They feel part of the company and they show it by wanting to obtain the best results for the benefit of the group and the organization. This makes it easier for you to increase both your ability to innovate and your productivity .


Although this type of leadership offers many advantages, being one of the most popular. It also has a series of disadvantages that we can observe. Researchers who have studied this issue highlight that reaching the goal is often quite heavy , since it goes much slower, when compared to other leadership styles. This is so because disagreements appear in the group, and the leader hopes to reach a consensus that is the most favorable. In order for the group not to decline or be demotivated, the leader has to have great confidence in himself, and be a person who is generating encouragement almost constantly.

You may also be interested in:   Mindfulness: what it is and what benefits it brings

Autocratic leadership

In this case, the leader is fully in charge of decision-making, in relation to everything that pertains to work, the group and the organization. It does not justify any of its decisions and also does not show them to the rest of the group, so they are private and confidential. This type of communication has a unidirectional form of leader to subordinate, so that this one obeys its orders. Historical examples of this type of leadership are found in Margaret Thatcher, also called “The Iron Lady,” and in Fidel Castro, one of the most controversial political icons.


The type of decisions that this leader makes are very effective in contexts where speed is needed in decision-making. Important questions are evaluated exclusively by him. It is especially appropriate for activities that require monitoring and surveillance to be carried out. The followers in this case cannot relax, so the effectiveness and performance of the tasks to be carried out increases.


The disadvantages in this type of leader are very clear, since this authority has many critics. The people in the group have no voice or vote, they simply have to follow the leader’s orders. For example, in a company this type of leadership means that many workers end up leaving, feeling that they are undervalued and little taken into account. It is not usual to find this type of leadership today. In the most important companies, since it does not usually work well.

Liderazgo liberal o let it be

This type of leader adopts a passive role before the group, does not direct it and hardly makes decisions on his own. The power leaves it in the hands of the group, and they are responsible. They have complete freedom to carry out their tasks; the leader intervenes only when it is really necessary by delegating control of the situation . This type of leadership is based on the idea that with good training, preparation and motivation, employees, considered as experts, need little supervision or vigilance to do their jobs to the best of their ability.


There are employees and followers to whom this form of leadership is liberating, to offer all their creativity. These people are satisfied with the work they do and do not need anyone to monitor them to perform well. This type of leadership therefore works well, especially with people who are enthusiastic about what they do and have a great intrinsic motivation.


This type of leadership, due to its great freedom, can lead to a lack of control, which generates losses in the company. It does not work well with people who do not meet the characteristics already mentioned . Nor does it work well when people who are overcome by problems that may arise, not being able to manage their tasks well. In the absence of clear guidelines or an address, it is likely that the group will miss the delivery date.

Transformational leadership

Under this type of leadership is the figure of a charismatic leader, who stands out for his ability to excite and change what is already established and does not work. It proposes new alternatives that are innovative and original, being able to take personal risks . For this reason, his followers get involved from their scale of values ​​and ideals with the leader.


Productivity and efficiency are favored by the integration and group identity that the leader manages to create. He is a peculiar personality that makes people decide to follow him; Thanks to this, it is possible to motivate your followers to change their expectations and motivations. The admiration with which the leader has made the group see itself strengthened in the achievement of objectives.


The benefits in this kind of leadership are quite intangible, since there is no control over the benefit to be obtained from the transactions. The value has been created in terms of ideas and relationships that are established. This is how this type of leadership makes more sense in independent activities, the followers enriching themselves with what they are capable of sharing.

Transactional leadership

The leader is recognized as the highest authority by the team members, since he is in charge of providing all the resources so that the tasks to be carried out are carried out. An exchange of interests predominates , since depending on job performance, benefits vary.


This type of leadership is clearly goal-oriented. Followers are rewarded based on their performance and results . The structure is clear, the subordinate knows well what he has to do to make a profit for the work he has been asked to do. It works well with highly competitive people who overcome pressure. A clear example of this are the people who work as commercial on commission.


The charismatic leader remains happy and delivered as long as he gets results from his subordinates, the moment one of them goes through a bad streak, it is usually a reason for dismissal. Its rational and clearly goal-oriented way makes people stop caring the moment they don’t generate direct benefits . All the work is focused on the present, so the changes that are taking place affect this type of leadership that already has its rules and regulations well established.


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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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