Upside to democratic leadership style: The contributions of a team led by a democratic leader are of a much higher quality than that of those led by an authoritarian one. Generally believed to be the most effective leadership style.
Downside to democratic leadership style: Members of a team under a democratic leader generally are less productive than the members of the authoritarian group.
Laissez-faire leadership results in the least productive team. Members of a group organized under this leadership style — the hallmarks of which include offering little guidance and leaving decision-making completely up to the group — made more demands on the leader, showed little cooperation and were unable to work independently.
“The inactivity of laissez-faire leaders — their inability or reluctance to accept responsibility, give directions and provide support — has been consistently negatively related to productivity, satisfaction and cohesiveness,” Bass writes. “Sheer energization, drive, motivation to succeed and activity are likely to be correlated with successful leadership and influence.”
Upside to laissez-faire leadership style: This style can be effective in situations where group members are highly qualified in an area of expertise.
Downside to laissez-faire leadership style: This type of leadership often results in poorly-defined team roles and a lack of motivation.