What is the difference between leadership skills and leadership styles?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is a slight, but noticeable difference between the skills and style of leadership.  The skills of leadership are absolute, applicable to any and all situations.  They involve communication to employees, articulation of organizational goals and focus, providing feedback, and ensuring that the work environment cradle both the promises and possibilities of both organization and employees.  These skills have to be present in any leadership situation.  The style of management is contingent on the type of individuals in the organization.  The style in which one manages delivers the skills, but the manner in which these points are brought to stakeholders in an organization varies on the strengths of the manager and the needs of the employees.

acousticnic | Student

This is a list of the most common leadership styles (also consult the link below for descriptions):

- Autocratic

- Bureaucratic

- Democratic

- Laissez-Faire

krishna-agrawala | Student

There is a marked difference between leadership styles and leadership skills. Leadership styles refers to the general pattern of behavior leaders use in their leadership role. In contrast leadership skill refers to ability of leaders to act in the required ways. For example, being friendly is a behavior pattern. To be able to adopt this behavior pattern a person needs to have interpersonal skills.

Different leaders may have different style of leading their followers or the group of people they lead. For example, some people may be autocratic, taking all the decisions by themselves, and simply conveying it to others to follow. Other leaders may prefer to take decisions in consultation with other people in group. Leadership styles may vary in many other respect such as the extent to which they put emphasis on physical task to be completed versus emphasis on building relationship with group members.

Generally experts agree that there is no single management style which is best. Depending on the goals to be achieved by the group, the situation faced by the group, and characteristic of the group members, different leadership styles may be appropriate for different groups.

Leadership skills refers to behavioral skill that leaders need and use for leading. Leaders may need a very wide range of such skills. Some of these skills are interpersonal skill, innovative ability, foresight, initiative, and change management skill. Though most of these skills are required for effective leadership, depending on leadership situation and style, the importance of individual skill may vary.