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How to write your leadership case study

First of all, let’s begin by explaining that there are many different leadership styles which should be mentioned when you write your leadership case study.

Some common leadership styles


Leadership styles can be adapted to fit all circumstances. Here is a list of some of the most common leadership styles.

This list is not exhaustive, but it covers the main leadership styles.

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  • Autocratic leadership: - The leader makes all the decisions without consulting team members and staff. This style of leadership is not really productive as people like to be consulted about decisions which impact on them. A manager who employs an autocratic leadership style should expect to have a high staff turnover as staff will become demoralised and this will probably manifest itself in a high rate of absenteeism.

    However, there are occasions when staff cannot be consulted, for example, when it is necessary to make an immediate decision.

  • Affiliative leadership is more or less the opposite of autocratic leadership. A leader who is affiliative will strive to build confidence in his or her staff and create a strong feeling of ‘togetherness’. The workers will easily become a team under this style of leadership and team members will believe that they are equal. An affiliative leader will welcome openness and honesty and welcome innovation and creativity. He or she will also have the ability to inspire trust and confidence in their leadership. This happens because an affiliative leader is flexible and allows others to work in a way that best suits them when this is possible. They give positive feedback which is very necessary to inspire staff to work to the best of their ability.
  • Bureaucratic leadership is a rather rigid form of leadership in workplaces where there is a distinct hierarchy. Bureaucratic leaders will adopt a system of rules which govern the way decisions are made and which lay down rigid rules that a management team must follow. While this system may be good when it is necessary to follow health and safety rules and regulations, for example, it can stifle innovation and creativity so much that staff leave quite quickly. This style of leadership is not dissimilar to autocratic leadership.
  • Democratic leadership is the antithesis of autocratic and bureaucratic leadership styles. Although a democratic leader will probably make the final decisions, he or she will ensure that team members have a say in the process of decision-making. Not only do democratic leaders inspire creativity and positively encourage it in their workforce, they also allow workers to make some decisions regarding how to move projects forward. When working with this kind of leader, people tend to have job satisfaction which helps a company because productivity is generally increased.
  • Laissez-faire leadership is not usually conducive to a productive company, although if a team is highly motivated and everyone is a self-starter who doesn’t need managerial guidance, this style can work very well. Team members have a lot of freedom including the freedom to set deadlines for the completion of project and so on. One advantage of this is that if the people who are doing the work set their own deadlines, these should be attainable, and workers won’t suffer from stress. Of course, the negatives are that some workers don’t manage their time well and don’t have the necessary skills to work effectively and efficiently.
  • Charismatic leadership can be inspiring for workers, but few leaders are truly charismatic. Examples of charismatic leaders include Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Winston Churchill. Such leaders are inspiring and eloquent. They can motivate others so that tasks get done on time. They are generally persuasive and use their strong personalities to get things done in the way they believe is best. You don’t necessarily have to be born with charisma, you can cultivate it. Such leaders stimulate and motivate others to perform to the best of their ability.
  • Visionary leadership – leaders who are visionary see how a company can be improved. One example of a visionary leader is the late Steve Jobs, whose vision for Apple took the company from strength to strength. Visionary leaders enthuse their staff with their ideals, visions and hopes for the company’s future, encouraging staff to go along with their vision to improve the company. Employees, once they have understood the vision of the future are free to decide which path is best to follow to achieve the vision. On the while visionary leaders provide inspiration and empathy. Staff feel valued and give of their best. They are above all, open minded, imaginative and flexible. They are also very determined, bold, persistent and optimistic, as well as being passionate about what they believe in.
  • Coaching leadership – this type of leadership cam be extremely successful in departments or organizations where results and/or staff performance needs improving. A coaching leader, as the name suggests will help workers to improve their skills and performance. Such a leader will provide guidance, motivation and encouragement. Usually these types of leader work best with employees who are experienced responsible and amenable and ready to be trained. Coaching leaders are usually patient, understanding and empathetic, as well as being people orientated.
  • Pacesetting leadership – in this leadership style, the leader will set high standards. He or she expects all workers to do their best and he or she will encourage his/her workers to work faster and better. The drawbacks of this style of leadership are that workers may become demoralised because they feel as if they are failing to live up to the high standards their leader has set.
  • Transformational leadership – this is different from other leadership styles as it is mainly about bringing about change. That change may be in a company, department colleagues and others, or even in oneself. A transformational leader may encourage others to do a lot more that they thought was possible. Their expectations of others are high, and they may set various challenging tasks as well as encouraging employees to achieve higher levels of performance. Such leaders believe in empowering their employees which means that their workforce is more committed and has more job satisfaction than many workers in other companies with different kinds of leadership models.
  • Servant leadership – may seem like a contradiction in terms, but it can be put to a company’s advantage. A leader who is a servant leader, puts people first. He or she has a genuine desire to serve as well as to lead. Servant-leaders generally work n organizations that are people-orientated. A servant-leader will lead the workforce by example. Team members who have a servant-leader will probably feel that their leader is meeting their needs and nurturing them. They will feel valued and so be encouraged and motivated to do their best for the company and their leader. The theory is that these servant-leaders achieve positions of power because they have ethics, ideals and values. One of the drawbacks of this style of leadership is that it isn’t really suited to situations where a swift decision is necessary or in those in which tight deadlines have to be met. However, members of a team that have a servant-leader will feel valued and respected, which in turn should increase productivity.
  • Transactional leadership – this relies on workers agreeing to obey the rules laid down by their leader in return for certain benefits. For example, if team members are working together on a special project the company might agree to pay them more than usual in order for the work to be completed quickly and to a high standard. If the job is not done to the standards required by the leader, the whole team, or individual team members, could be punished. The punishment might be no bonuses given, or perhaps withdrawal of certain perks which have become expected as a right. This style of leadership may alienate workers and so lead to an unacceptably high staff turnover. However, those who are motivated by a reward system may actually enjoy working with a transactional leader.

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