Leadership styles refer to the broad approach adopted by a leader. Style is often based on their own beliefs, personality, experiences, working environment and their assessment of the situation at the time.
Whilst most people will naturally favour a particular style, it is important to be flexible and try to adapt your style to meet the needs of different situations. The more flexible you are as a leader - and the more able you are to judge the needs of the situation - the more likely you are to adopt a style that will work.
One of the biggest factors that determine leadership style is the personality of the individual who is in charge of a group of employees. Aligning an individual's basic nature with a particular method of management is most often successful, because the leader will be comfortable with it. For example, a person who is outgoing and assertive may prefer to communicate directly with his staff through face-to-face interaction. If they are more reserved, they might choose to lead by example or rely on written communication.
Your leadership style may also depend on the employee. If they are motivated and well-trained, the manager may adopt a more ‘hands-off’ style as they are capable of handling their work without an abundance of guidance. The leader is there to inspire but not to micromanage.
A leader needs to make decisions and all leaders approach decision making based upon their own beliefs about their responsibility for decisions, as well as their followers' capacity to make decisions.
A number of researchers have developed leadership style models based around decision making. Each of these models look at a range of styles - from ones in which the leader makes all the decisions (and imposes them on the followers - what we would call an autocratic leadership style) to ones in which the followers are allowed to make decisions on their own (what we would call a facilitative leadership style).
Personality can be interpreted as the typical ways in which a person behaves. Personality develops as we mature and is normally fairly consistent (or stable) by the time we reach adulthood.
As a result we can predict how someone might well behave in different situations, although of course the person concerned always has choice and free will.
Some personality factors do influence our leadership style. For example:
Outgoing and sociable leaders are more likely to connect with people and communicate with them.
Tense leaders are more likely to be anxious about issues and communicate their worries to their