essential previous learningUnderstanding Leadership

Leadership Styles

Learn how to adapt your leadership style

Key learning outcomes:

  • Learn the most common leadership styles and their advantages and disadvantages.
  • Identify the leadership styles that help to motivate staff and ensure job satisfaction.
  • Recognise which leadership styles will negatively impact staff morale and engagement.
  • Understand that a leader may adopt more than one leadership style, depending on the circumstances.


Leadership is like any other skill – it takes practice and experience to get the best possible results. Great leaders understand that they must be able to vary their leadership style depending on the situation they are in and who they are working with at the time. Remember, your role as a leader is to support those around you to perform at their best. If you find that you are not seeing the results that you want, it may mean that you need to change your approach. In this article we will outline some of the most common leadership styles and give you some guidance on when to use each style.

Autocratic Leadership

Autocratic leaders follow the rules and expect others to do the same. They will make decisions without any input from the team. Autocratic leaders are often portrayed in films about the military where lower ranked personnel are expected to follow orders from higher ranked colleagues without a second thought.

This leadership style is most appropriate in the following circumstances:

  • In times of emergency or crisis
  • When immediate compliance is essential
  • When a decision is needed to meet an immediate deadline
  • When dealing with inexperienced and untrained employees
  • When safety is at stake.

There may be times when autocratic leadership is useful; however, if used on an ongoing basis, it can lead to a loss of morale and reduced engagement among the team. This style also tends to stifle any opportunity for those around you to develop their own decision-making and leadership skills.

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