9 Common Leadership Models to Manage Your Team Effectively

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 29 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Effective leadership requires having a combination of skills and personality traits. If you're in a leadership position, it's important to know the different leadership styles and how to leverage them to motivate people and deliver results for an organisation. Knowing different models of leadership and how to use them to manage people and resources effectively can enhance your ability to create desired outcomes. In this article, we discuss leadership models you can use to improve the performance and efficiency of your team.

What are leadership models?

Leadership models are methods through which a leader discharges the duties and responsibilities of their role. These models outline the specific behaviours and actions a leader adopts for certain situations. While there are several leadership methods, leaders usually adopt specific styles depending on their personality and work environment. As an effective leader, it's important to know the model of leadership appropriate for specific environments and situations.

Because your choice of leadership style can affect your team's motivation level and performance, it can be an important success factor for yourself and your team. This makes it essential to know the right model to use for your team and its particular circumstances. Successful leaders are versatile in that they can choose one leadership style or combine several methods to achieve their objectives.

Related: 10 Common Leadership Styles (Plus How to Use Them)

9 common types of leadership models

Here are 9 different leadership models you can adopt to improve efficiency and achieve desired outcomes:

1. Team-oriented leadership

Team-oriented leadership, or people-oriented leadership, is a model that emphasises the skills, experiences and personal strengths of individuals as a collective over the powers of the leader. This type of leadership style promotes collaboration and provides people with the opportunity to achieve their full potential. Team-oriented leaders have an in-depth understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of their teams and match each person to duties that allow them to achieve peak performance.

Because this style allows people to take initiative and be responsible for their actions, it's one of the most effective ways of motivating people to dedicate themselves to collective goals. This method can lead to an increased level of productivity, efficiency and job satisfaction. For leaders to leverage this model for improved productivity and performance, it's important for them to have a participatory decision-making process. The style also requires supporting your team and investing in their professional development.

2. Authoritarian leadership

The authoritarian model of leadership is one in which the leader makes all the decisions without other people's inputs. Autocratic leaders or authoritarians like to have total control over events and decisions. They're usually highly task-oriented and use rigid rules and processes to achieve outcomes. Such leaders often focus entirely on achieving goals and make independent decisions to attain those outcomes. The authoritarian leadership style is ideal for highly structured environments where people perform specific and repetitive tasks to reach certain objectives.

3. Transformational leadership

Transformational leaders create an environment that encourages people to innovate and improve existing processes and procedures. These leaders aim to initiate and drive positive change in their organisations. They do this by creating a vision and persuading others to support the attainment of their objectives. These leaders allow people to have a high level of autonomy, as this is essential for innovation and creativity.

Transformational leaders encourage their teams to try new methods of solving problems and trust in their abilities to deliver results. If you're in an industry that thrives on innovation and creativity, being a transformational leader can help an organisation quickly achieve its aims.

4. Transactional leadership

Transactional leaders manage people and achieve results using a reward-based system. The model relies on the leader and employee agreeing to satisfy each other's requests when each party meets specific conditions. For example, the leader can promise the team a certain reward, such as a bonus or commendation, if they complete a project by a certain deadline. To serve their personal interests, team members work to achieve a leader's request and receive compensation after delivering a project.

This leadership method leverages people's personal interests to serve those of a company. Transactional leadership is most ideal for completing short-term projects and objectives. It can be an effective way to mobilise people to complete time-sensitive tasks.

5. Democratic leadership

In democratic leadership, the leader solicits the perspectives and input of the staff but has the final say. Democratic leadership is the opposite of autocratic leadership and emphasises the participation of other people in the decision-making process. Leaders who use this method can enjoy a large amount of goodwill from their teams, as it creates an atmosphere that promotes creativity and collaboration. This model is ideal for organisations that require creative approaches for solving problems.

The democratic model can also give people a sense of belonging and further motivate them to share the leader's vision. To use this leadership method successfully, a leader requires firmness when making decisions as people are going to have differing opinions and ideas if given the chance to contribute, and this can make it difficult for a leader to decide, especially on time-sensitive matters.

Related: 18 Good Leadership Qualities for Career Success

6. Bureaucratic leadership

In a bureaucratic organisation, employees have a strict hierarchy and follow specific rules and regulations to perform their duties. Leaders in this environment emphasise performance and results and expect their teams to follow instructions and deliver within defined timelines. This type of leadership style often involves following specific procedures and expectations set by a company. Because of the rigid rules of this type of leadership, it's most suitable for industries where teams are expected to follow standardised procedures to achieve objectives.

7. Servant leadership

Servant leaders focus on meeting the needs of people to inspire them to share their vision and dedicate themselves to collective goals. These leaders prioritise the professional goals and interests of their staff without focusing on their own status or power. This method is a powerful way of boosting the morale of team members, gaining their trust and encouraging them to follow a leader's and organisation's cause. The method is ideal for people who can be selfless without sacrificing their ability to guide people to the attainment of collective goals.

8. Laissez-faire leadership

Laissez-faire is a French term that means leave it be, which signifies a leadership method where the leader gives teams near-complete autonomy. Leaders who use this style of management provide their people with the resources and enabling environment to achieve results. Then they step back, providing as little supervision as required for people to perform their duties. Leaders who adopt this style are confident in their team's ability to take the initiative and deliver results without micromanagement.

Besides allowing employees to develop their decision-making and problem-solving skills, this approach can help foster camaraderie among teams and improve engagement and job satisfaction. This method also often results in lower workloads for the leader as they trust the work being done by their team. The method is ideal for leading self-motivated and highly talented teams.

9. Charismatic leadership

Charismatic leaders use their charm and vision to motivate people to support their ideas and achieve company goals. These leaders have a likeable personality and they're purpose-driven and passionate about their goals. They use their persuasive powers and advanced communication skills to convince people to dedicate their efforts and energies towards a common goal. To use this method of leadership effectively, it's important to be able to inspire people. While being charismatic can encourage people to support your ideas, it's important to be open-minded to other views to avoid losing sight of critical issues that can affect a company's stability.

Related: 12 Leadership Examples For the Workplace

Which model of leadership is right for you?

In many companies and organisations, their chosen leadership method is a product of years of organisational culture. While having a specific way of managing people and achieving results can be effective in the short term, businesses often require a mix of leadership styles to adapt to changing realities in their environment.

To determine which model is most suitable for your goals, study your team's backgrounds, the business model and processes of the company and the trends in your chosen industry. Insights from your assessments can reveal the most appropriate set of leadership qualities and behaviours that can boost efficiency and performance and increase productivity. You can also try different leadership approaches and track results to identify the one that best suits an organisation and its objectives.

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