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3 Types of Leaders There Are

Politics and Governance

3 Types of Leaders There Are

Leadership stems from the need to live an organized and coordinated life as social beings. What determines success in such an endeavor that involves others is the ability to make decisions that are crucial to the actualization of collective goals. There are good leaders and bad leaders as identified by the intent and ultimately, the outcome of their decisions. But according to the approach or style adopted in making decisions, three types of leaders are identified according to 20th century psychologist Kurt Lewin. They are: 

  1. Democratic leaders
  2. Autocratic leaders
  3. Laissez-faire

Now you may have heard and known of these three types of leaders before, or at least one or two of them. But you need to understand that none of them is all-good or all-bad. Each type has their pros and cons, and this is and this is what I’m trying to lay out in this video. 

So, let us get to it.

  1. DEMOCRATIC LEADERS: These are consensus seeking types of leaders; the types that considers other people’s opinion opinions before arriving at a decision. He always wants to be certain that he has the support of the people he is leading. Typically, this type of leader is approachable and open minded. He is the ‘we’ kind of leader who believes that the greater good can be served only when the general consent foundation of every decision, which means the will of the led, prevails always. 

The positive side of this type of leadership is the freedom of expression. Expression here goes beyond speaking your mind. It also entails showing ability, which means people are not held back from maximizing their talent and creativity. There is an abundant flow of ideas that can be collated to make the best decisions. Under such leadership, more people stand a chance of being fulfilled and a sense of belonging is encouraged. 

But as good as this sounds, the down side lies in the possibility of reaching conclusions based on a less detrimental consensus. Because of the belief in consensus, a democratic leader is likely to with the will of the majority, disregarding a possibly more sound view of a less audible minority. 

To find a balance, a democratic leader must have a mind of their own, in spite of their open-mindedness. They must recognize that though majority is likely to have a way, minorities also have a say. So, the leader must consider divergent view, and possess the objectivity to arrive at a fair conclusion. Then they must display some firmness and charisma in order to convince people against a more pronounced but less beneficial proposition.

  1. AUTOCRATIC LEADERS: Such are the leaders that are not just firm but fully in charge. Either in corporate entities or general governance, autocratic leaders are quick to make decisions. They call the shots and must be obeyed without delay. 

If such leaders are astute in their dealing and armed with the skill of critical thinking, they will make the best leaders because they do not only make sound decisions, they also save time. Their results speak for them, so they have much to offer and for others to learn from. 

However, because of human imperfections, there are bound to be lapses in some decisions made; but due to their authoritarian nature, they are less likely to subject their view to other people’s review. They reach conclusions on what to do before meeting are called, and meeting are only to announce what has been decided, and to assign in order to see to the execution of decisions. The fact that they are amplifies the weakness in their style.

While they are not open to public opinion, the best of an autocratic leader is seen if they have enough candor to consider a few close circle voices of reason, who help them see sides of the matter that are their blind spot. 

  1. LAISSEZ-FAIRE: leaders of this kind give more freedom than democratic leaders. The word ‘laissez-faire’ itself is French word that means ‘leave alone’, and that is exactly the approach of such a leader. In essence, there is no approach at all. They just leave their subordinates to their own initiatives. 

A leader of this kind is good if subordinates are competent. They are able to carry out their tasks without being micro-managed and have higher chances of succeeding and taking credit for it. 

However, the passiveness of such leaders is a recipe for chaos in any entity, corporate or political. If subordinates freely take all the credit, then they also take all the blame if things go wrong; and this is the height of irresponsibility on the part of the leader.

It is apparent that every leadership style comes with pros and cons. The ability to find a balance is what makes the positive difference. Even in a democracy which is the most politically acceptable to most parts of the world, the leader must be assertive even while being open minded.

 However, the least recommendable style of leadership is that of Laissez-faire. Instead of having that, we might as well opt for anarchy. Or what do you think?

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