Leadership Styles: Which One is For You?

How do you define leadership? What qualities can you identify within yourself that make you a leader? Contrary to popular belief, leadership doesn’t match the “one-size-fits-all” phenomenon. Leadership styles are catered to the industry requirements and employee nature, and can range from really intense approaches to laid back, hands off approaches.

Every style has it advantages and draw backs, but they are important to know if you want to enhance your abilities as a leader. We delve into the desirable and not-so-desirable aspects of 5 leadership styles to give you a better picture of leadership as a whole. 

1. Autocratic Leadership

Autocratic leaders can sound like a pain, but there is a time and place for a leaderships such as this one. Autocratic leaders are depicted as having full control over their organization. From major decision making to managing every last employee, they handle everything. These leaders can be described as dictator-like because they accept little to no advice from subordinates and make decisions based off their own judgments. As with all things in life, it comes with a list of pros and cons:


  • Quicker, simpler decision making
  • Obvious chain of command
  • Works well where strong, directive leadership is needed
  • Keeps weaker groups on track
  • Reduces employee stress


  • Often leads to micromanagement
  • Can create lack of trust
  • Facilitates dependence
  • Stumps creativity
  • Leads to employee resentment of higher ups

2. Bureaucratic Leadership

Bureaucratic leaders may be comparable to autocratic leaders in the manner that they do most of the decision making, but the circumstances for this style is what sets them apart. Bureaucratic leaders are needed in areas of work that have serious safety concerns: construction, working with hazardous chemicals, working within the legality of things, etc. These leaders lay a foundation of clear, strict rules followed by a rigid division of labor. The pros and cons are as follows:

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  • Eliminates favoritism
  • Centralizes roles of employees
  • Strong level of job security
  • Formulates the best practices
  • Specialization can increase efficiency


  • Limits creativity
  • Competition is not encouraged
  • Harder to increase productivity
  • Struggle to adapt to change

3. Charismatic Leadership

Charismatic leaders, often referred to as transformational leaders, are characterized by their desire to inspire eagerness in their teams and facilitate motivation among employees to progress in their careers. This type of leadership is helpful in areas of work that require creativity and encouragement. In the debt collection industry, encouraging your employees is crucial to increasing productivity due to the nature of the industry. Charismatic leadership can be seen as prideful, and pride can become quite the beast:


  • Has an emotional appeal
  • Provides the chance to think differently
  • Decreases turnover rate
  • High levels of commitment
  • Highly values the learning process


  • Leader can become overly confident
  • Extreme level of obedience can limit transparency and inhibit inspiration
  • Creates dependency on leader
  • Not as focused on ethics
  • Company will suffer if the leader leaves

4. Participative Leadership

Participative leadership is one of the more favorable leadership styles among the majority. Leaders that take on this style will make final decisions, but only after consulting the entire team during the decision making process. Participative leaders want their team up to date on everything concerning the organization and prioritize employee development. They encourage creativity, and are highly engaged in the job and projects of the company. Pros and cons include: 


  • Increases team morale
  • Promotes collaboration
  • Facilitates creative solutions
  • Boosts employee retention
  • Enhances productivity
  • Improves quality


  • Slow decision making
  • Transparency may become a security issue if employees decide to leave
  • Higher chance of conflict
  • Employees are required to participate

5. Laissez-Faire Leadership

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Laissez-Faire translate from Latin to mean “let it be,” and that just about hits the nail on the head with this style of leadership. These leaders delegate work and responsibilities to their subordinates and team members. The decision making falls on their subordinates while they monitor and provide advice or resources if need be. This may sound like a dream come true to some, but it still comes with drawbacks:


  • Potential to encourage innovation
  • Can facilitate personal growth due to increased independence
  • Can free up job schedule
  • Creates sense of autonomy


  • May encourage laziness
  • Can reduce productivity
  • Diminishes accountability
  • Forms comfort zones

Being a good leader doesn’t mean strictly following one of these models, a good leader is characterized by their awareness of how they lead. Here at KBM, we shoot for a solid mix between charismatic and participative leadership. We find that within the debt recovery industry, it is important to encourage and inspire employees while also being well engaged in the business practices. As our President and CEO says “You’re only as successful as the people you surround yourself with,” and that’s why we aim to guide and support our employees to obtain the best skill set possible.