The most commonly recognized leadership styles are authoritarian, democratic and laissez-faire.

However, there may be seven to 12 different leadership styles that include styles such as transformational, transactional, servant, charismatic and situational. Although some of these leadership styles are unique, there is also some degree of similarities or overlap as well and in some cases, a leader may change their leadership styles to fit the situation (situational).

The concept of situational leadership was first recognized by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard (author of the “One Minute Manager”). They recognized that successful leaders often adapted their leadership style or styles to the individual or group they were leading.

Collectively these different leadership styles remind us that leadership is complicated and we still have a lot to learn about leadership.

Justin Waggoner is a beef systems specialist at Kansas State University. For more information, contact him at