• An Overview of Leadership Styles

        Leadership styles, as we define them here, refer not to models or philosophies of leadership, but to descriptions or classifications of the main ways in which real-life leaders behave. A different way to see this is that a style can be part of a model, but not the other way around. A style is a much narrower behaviour, or a smaller set of behaviours, than would be featured in a model. Also, a leadership style is not an adaptable flexible 'toolkit' - it is a relatively tightly defined description of a particular type of leadership.

        Unlike leadership models, the aim of leadership styles is not to help individuals become better leaders; it is simply to describe the main forms of leadership we see in the world, some of which can be incorporated within models, albeit under slightly different names and with slightly different features. Some authors use the headings 'leadership models' and 'leadership styles' interchangeably, which is confusing.

        I am grateful to James Scouller, an expert coach, thinker, and writer on leadership, for the contribution of most of the technical content on this article, and for the collaboration in editing it and presenting it here. Aside from what follows here, Scouller's expertise in leadership theory is evidenced particularly in his 2011 book "The Three Levels of Leadership", which I commend to you.

        A brief reminder of the definitions and differences between Models, Philosophies, and Styles:

        A leadership model provides a process or framework for learning, applying, and adapting leadership for given groups, organizations, or situations. A model is like a 'how-to' framework, a toolkit or a process.

        leadership philosophy is a way of thinking and behaving in leadership - its aims and means - according to values and beliefs. A philosophy is like a subtle but powerful compass or behavioural code.

        leadership style is a narrow and specific behaviour compared to a model or philosophy. Leadership style may be strongly influenced by the leader's personality, the aims of the leader, and relationship with followers. A style is a description of a leader's behaviours, and may also be like a tool in the leadership models toolkit.

        For more details, see definitions and differences of Models, Philosophies and Styles in the context of leadership theory.


        I am grateful to James Scouller for his help, patience, and expert contribution in producing this leadership guide.

        James Scouller is an expert coach and partner at The Scouller Partnership in the UK, which specialises in coaching leaders. He was chief executive of three international companies for eleven years before becoming a professional coach in 2004. He holds two postgraduate coaching qualifications and trained in applied psychology at the Institute of Psychosynthesis in London.

        James Scouller's book is called "The Three Levels of Leadership: How to Develop Your Leadership Presence, Know-how and Skill". It was published in May 2011. I commend it to you, and his thinking too.

        You can learn more about James Scouller's book at three-levels-of-leadership.com.

        Details of James Scouller's executive coaching work are at TheScoullerPartnership.co.uk.

        • Leadership Styles

          A leadership style is a narrow and specific behaviour compared to a model or philosophy. Leadership style may be strongly influenced by the leader's personality, the aims of the leader, and relationship with followers. A style is a description of a leader's behaviours, and may also be like a tool in the leadership models toolkit.

        • What is Leadership?
          "The action of leading a group of people or an organization, or the ability to do this" - Oxford English Dictionary.
        • Leadership and Management
          Leadership is more about change, inspiration, setting the purpose and direction, and building the enthusiasm, unity and 'staying-power' for the journey ahead. Management is less about change, and more about stability and making the best use of resources to get things done.
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            Accipio Accelerate

            Explore the main differences between Leadership and Management, including styles, models and philosophies. Develop an understanding of their key characteristics.

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            From entrepreneurs and start-ups, to experienced businesspeople - individuals always mistake leadership for management. This can be harmful to your results - watch this video from the Big Think to find out why, and how to remedy this.

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            Professor of Leadership at the Harvard Business School, John Kotter points out that in today's business world there is too much management and not enough leadership. Both are incredibly important, but in a rapidly changing world, great leadership is invaluable. He argues that if organizations do not recognize this fact, they risk sinking into complacency and achieving little.

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            Accipio Accelerate

            Peter Farey (1993) developed a system for mapping Leaders and Managers based on two new dimensions - Task and People. These can subsequently be applied to different scenarios and situations, for optimal results and personal development.

        • End of Course Quiz

          An end of course quiz to test your progress throughout the Leadership Styles course. If you are interested in taking your leadership and management knowledge into an internationally-recognised qualification, visit our partner Accipio's site here

        • Additional Resources

          Additional resources and videos to aid you in your Leadership Styles training and support the information available across this course.