What Sort of Leader are You?

 Oct 10, 2016

Our leadership style tends to be dependent on both the situation and the people we lead.

We’ll take a closer look at three main styles: Autocratic, Democratic, and Free Reign.


This leader:

  • Sets clear expectations i.e. what, when, how etc.
  • Creates a clear division between themselves and their subordinates
  • Tends to seek little input from others as they see themselves as the expert
  • Can be very inflexible and somewhat dictatorial

This approach would be useful with new and inexperienced staff who rely on strong direction and monitoring to help them move up the learning curve. This approach is certainly appropriate in emergency and high risk situations.


This leader:

  • Offers both guidance and seeks input
  • Participates in the team
  • Still retains the final say and accountability

This approach is especially useful in coaching situations to further develop staff. Communication is primarily two-way.

Free Reign

This leader:

  • Provides little or no guidance
  • Abdicates decision making and leaves it to the team
  • May end up with a team with poorly defined roles and a lack of motivation

This approach would be appropriate with a highly skilled and experienced team. In this situation the leader tends to act as a useful resource when required.

For more information, take a look at New Horizons' Management and Leadership courses.

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About the Author:

Trish Dobe  

Trish has over 20 years of experience in organisational development, change management, and corporate learning & development both within Australia and overseas. As one of New Horizons' Professional Development trainers, Trish’s main focus is the delivery of solutions which enable organisations to measurably improve their performance. Trish specialises in the delivery of training programs in the areas of performance management, leadership, process improvement, sales and customer service. From a practical standpoint, she has held a number of roles varying from front-line through to senior management within a variety of commercial environments. With this, Trish brings her practical experience into the classroom and gives her the ability to engage professionals from junior to senior levels.

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