Great leaders of today have emerged with various leadership styles, each proved to be effective in their own ways in various work environments.

Different styles of leadership according to situations, effective leaders direct, motivate, guide, and manage groups of people to achieve goals.

Whether a leader is leading a small team or managing a company or organization, leaders adapt to lead in different styles of leadership ways when presented with different situations.

How To Discover Your Leadership Style?

Taking a leadership style assessment can let you know what is your current leadership style.

  • What is your leadership approach to your team?
  • What is your leadership approach when faced with challenges?
  • What is your way of leadership when meeting timelines?

Having a greater understanding of your current leadership style lets you understand what other ways of leadership you need to develop to become a more effective leader.

Take this simple quiz below and find out your own leadership style now!

What Is Your Leadership Style?

Leadership Style
Wondering what is your current leadership style?
Autocratic, Democratic, or Laissez-Faire?
Take this short 2 minutes quiz to find out now!

What leadership style do you get?

Share with your friends or let us know in the comments below, otherwise continue reading this article and understand more about the various types of leadership styles!

10 Different Types of Leadership Styles

Different leadership styles are used to effectively direct, motivate, and guide groups of people.

Depending on how the leaders influence the people through their behaviors and actions, these common leadership styles are characterized by their unique leadership theory and become leadership models that leaders adopt.

Leadership StylesDefinition
Autocratic LeadershipAutocratic leadership is when the leader has control over all decisions with little to no input from people from the group.
Coaching Leadership Coaching leadership is when the leader focuses on bringing the best out of the team by guiding the team to overcome challenges and reach the goal.
Democratic Leadership Democratic leadership is sometimes also known as a participative leadership style where decisions are made through the collective ideas of multiple people.
Empathetic Leadership Empathetic leadership is when the leader takes a genuine interest in the people around them and focuses on understanding the point of view of their people.
Laissez Faire Leadership Laissez-faire leadership is when the leader places their trust in their people, allowing individuals to take the lead and make their own decision, giving instruction or guidance only when needed.
Servant LeadershipServant leadership is when leaders focus on putting the needs of others first, helping individuals develop in a low-risk space where they can optimize their performance.
Situational Leadership Situational leadership is when the leader is flexible in making decisions that adapt to the constantly changing level of readiness of the people in the group.
Transformational Leadership Transformational leadership is where the leader motivates their people to achieve high performance by that creates positive changes in the individual with the end goal of developing the individual into a leader.
Transactional Leadership Transactional leadership is when the leader has absolute control over their people and relies on a system of rewards and punishment to motivate the actions of each individual.
Visionary Leadership Visionary leadership is a leader that inspires others to pursue a long-term vision through participation, communication, and goal setting.
Types of Leadership Styles

1. Autocratic Leadership Style

The autocratic leadership style is also known as authoritarian leadership. Leaders who adopt this leadership have absolute authority over every decision made in the organization they lead.

Autocratic leaders do not take into consideration the suggestions or input from the members of the organization they lead.

People of the organization are expected to follow and adhere to every decision made by the leader.

Example of Autocratic Leadership

A leader who adopts autocratic leadership will change the projects handled by employees without consulting the employees on their ability or willingness to accept the change.

Adolf Hitler is a known leader who exercises absolute authority over his followers.

Is Autocratic Leadership Effective

Autocratic leadership is rarely effective and is not suitable in most organizations. It limits the follower’s potential in contributing to the success of the organization.

2. Coaching Leadership Style

Coaching leadership is commonly found in leaders who are supportive by nature and have high emotional intelligence. Coaching leadership creates a culture of high performance by bringing the best out of the member of the organization through guidance.

Leaders who adopt coaching leadership

  • Offer guidance, instead of giving commands.
  • Ask guided questions, instead of just providing answers.
  • Value the process, instead of just the results.

Coaching leaders have great communication skills and know how to lead the organization through consistent development. You can expect the best talents to be nurtured from the coaching style of leadership. They provide a safe place for people to grow and develop.

Example of Coaching Leadership

A leader who adopts coaching leadership will guide employees in overcoming challenges by giving little directions to help them tap into their ability to think of a solution to overcome the challenge.

Dale Carnegie is famous for his coaching leadership where each member of the organization should be recognized as a valuable individual who can be developed into a great talent.

Is Coaching Leadership Effective

Coaching leadership is highly effective for most organizations in developing talents where each team member can grow in their ability to contribute to the success of the organization.

3. Democratic Leadership Style

Democratic leadership is also known as participative leadership or shared leadership. Leaders who adopt this leadership style promote members of the organization to participate in the decision-making process.

Democratic leader creates a culture of shared ownership in each decision made for the group or organization. Many team decisons are made among team members.

Democratic leadership can create a culture of increased employee engagement, commitment, and a sense of belonging.

Example of Democratic Leadership

A leader who adopts democratic leadership will encourage employees to play a participative leadership role in making important decisions through discussions, and brainstorming regardless of their seniority in the group or organization.

Nelson Mandela is famous for his democratic leadership style during his fight for equality, where he believed that people of all colors and political affiliations can contribute to a common goal.

Is Democratic Leadership Effective

Democratic leadership is can be effective for most organizations that require to be highly innovative. This form of leadership promotes creativity and made decisions through the collective wisdom of the masses.

4. Empathetic Leadership Style

Empathetic leadership focuses on understanding and identifying with the people on their point of view. Empathetic leaders build and develop relationships with the people they lead.

Leaders who adopt empathetic leadership focus strongly on the emotional aspect of their people.

  • Things that each team member likes.
  • Things that each team member doesn’t like.
  • Things that can inspire.

Empathetic leaders lead the group by understanding the feelings and thoughts of their people.

Example of Empathetic Leadership

A leader who adopts empathetic leadership will prioritize the understanding of the root cause behind the poor performance of an individual, which helps struggling employees to improve.

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft is known to put empathy at the core of every decision that he do, meaning to listen to the customer and understand their needs.

Is Empathetic Leadership Effective

Empathetic leadership can be effective for small organizations in helping employees to grow.

5. Laissez Faire Leadership Style

Laissez-faire leadership allows individuals to take the lead to make decisions based on their experience and expertise with little to no intervention.

Followers of a Laissez-faire leader will feel empowered, and have greater autonomy in their decision-making, thus often making innovative decisions where they will often outperform the expectations of the leader.

Leaders who adopt Laissez-faire leadership is a form of delegative leadership that place their trust in their people without getting too involved, giving instruction or guidance only when needed.

Example of Laissez-faire Leadership

A leader who adopts Laissez-faire leadership will encourage employees to make decisions based on their experience and expertise without the need for the approval of the leader, unless necessary.

Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and Oracle of Omaha is famous for his Laissez-faire leadership style. His leadership style allows the people who work for him to do their jobs efficiently, only intervening when it’s absolutely necessary.

Is Laissez-faire Leadership effective

Laissez-faire leadership is can be highly effective for most organizations regardless of size.

A Laissez-faire leadership style also allows the leader to have more time and resources to be spent on matters that only the leader can do or manage.

6. Servant Leadership Style

Servant leadership puts the needs of others before their own objectives. Leaders who adopt the servant leadership style forsakes personal self-interest to help other individuals in developing and optimizing their performance.

Servant leaders are selfless leaders who aim to create a culture of a more caring and just environment for individuals to develop and prosper in a safe environment.

Example of Servant Leadership

A leader who adopts servant leadership will focus on helping employees to develop and perform their best even at the expense of their own benefits such as career advancement or achievements.

Mother Teresa is a Catholic nun who dedicated her life to serving others who are forsaken, changing the lives of others, and extending our hands to those who need our love and support irrespective of creed, caste, and religion.

Is Servant Leadership Effective

Servant leadership is can be highly effective in some organizations. This form of leadership is highly respected but rarely found in organizations where it is profit-driven.

7. Situational Leadership Style

Situational leadership is when the leader is able to adapt their leadership style according to the development level of their people.

Flexible in making decisions based on the constantly changing need of their people to get the work done, situational leadership is regarded to be one of the best forms of leadership style.

Leaders who adopt situational leadership style changes the way they behave depending on the development of their people and environment.

Situational leaders adapt their leadership style according to the 4 development levels of an individual.

  1. Enthusiastic Beginner
  2. Disillusioned Learner
  3. Capable but Cautious
  4. Self-reliant Achiever

Example of Situational Leadership

A leader who adopts situational leadership will have a different leadership style when managing an employee who is highly experienced over an employee who has no experience.

More guidance will be given to an employee who is less experience than an employee who is highly experienced.

Steve Jobs, founder of Apple is generally associated with authoritative leadership but is known to have exceptional Situational Leadership when he was running Apple as its CEO.

Is Situational Leadership effective

Situational leadership is a highly effective management style that can be used in most organizations. This form of leadership is highly versatile and is often regarded as the best leadership style that can be used in almost all situations.

8. Transformational Leadership Style

Transformational leadership is when the leader is able to influence an individual to create a meaningful change with the end goal of developing the individual into a leader.

Leaders who adopt a transformational leadership style enhance the motivation, confidence, and performance of the individual by connecting the individual’s sense of identity to the identity of the organization.

These transformational leaders challenge their followers to take greater ownership of their work and align the followers with tasks that will develop their ability and improve their overall performance.

Example of Transformational Leadership

A leader who adopts transformational leadership will develop each individual employee to be the future leader that will form the pillars of the organization by letting their followers take greater ownership of what they do.

Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin is a well-known leader who leads his followers using transformational leadership.

Richard Branson believes in creating future leaders in the organization by guiding his followers into becoming better and more effective people by turning their mistakes into learning opportunities.

Is Transformation Leadership Effective

Transformational leadership is a highly effective leadership style essential for an organization to grow and prosper.

Regarded as the most important leadership style for an organization to grow, transformational leadership helps to develop future leaders of the organization which allows the leader to grow with their followers.

9. Transactional Leadership Style

Transactional leadership is one of the most common styles of leadership where it promoted total compliance of the followers through a system of rewards and punishments. It motivates followers primarily by appealing to their own self-interest.

The leader will set performance expectations and goals that the follower must achieve.

Transactional leadership focuses on the role of supervision of its followers using a carrot or stick approach.

Depending on the performance of the follower, different feedback will be given to motivate the follower toward the desired goal.

Example of Transactional Leadership

A leader who adopts transactional leadership keeps the followers motivated by rewarding the follower in form of recognition or other benefits if the follower is able to perform as desired.

Similarly, the leader will punish the follower in the form of negative feedback, or deprive of desired benefits if the follower underperforms.

Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft is known for his transactional leadership style where he often focuses on the completion of the task and is mainly result-orientated.

Later in his career, he also developed a transformational leadership style where he guides his organization to success.

Is Transactional Leadership Effective

Transactional leadership is effective to keep followers motivated for the short term and can create fast results that are predictable. But transactional leadership style generally creates low morale within the group, limiting creativity and high turnover of employees.

10. Visionary Leadership Style

Visionary leadership is a leader that sees the long-term vision and knows how to inspire the followers to work towards the leader’s vision.

Leaders who are visionary see the clear vision of the future goal as something that can be achieved and take steps to map out a path to get there.

A visionary leader is generally charismatic and will inspire followers through active participation, communication, and goal setting.

Example of Visionary Leadership

A leader who adopts visionary leadership views the process as steps that lead to the final vision of the leader.

The leader may paint a visual picture of the long-term vision to their follower, which inspires and motivated the organization to work towards the vision of the leader.

Elon Musk, Founder of SpaceX lead his organization toward his vision of “Establishing a permanent human presence on Mars.”

Is Visionary Leadership Effective

Visionary leadership is highly effective to keep followers inspired and motivated in what they do. Employees of all levels can be equally motivated by the vision set by a visionary leader.

What Are Leadership Styles?

Leadership style is an act of guiding a person, a group, or an organization through having influence over their beliefs, thought processes, and actions.

A leadership style is defined through how a leader reacts by leading the team when presented with a situation or challenges.


Each leadership style shows a different characteristic of how a leader behaves when leading a group of people.

The leadership style will change the power dynamic presented in the group, which influences the behavior of the people led by the leader.

Why Is It Important To Understand The Different Types Of Leadership Styles?

Different leadership style allows a leader to effectively solve a variety of challenges they face in the workplace. Effectively applying the most suitable leadership style in each situation enables you to respond quickly to both threats and opportunities.

Understanding the different leadership styles helps to maximize your chances of success and achieve your short-term and long-term goals.

Utilizing the right leadership style helps you to grow and develop your people so they can be more motivated to contribute to the team, and enable the growth of the company as a whole.

Do You Have A Main Leadership Style?

Every leader has a primary leadership style that they adopt from the people they know or coworkers that they admire. People often develop a leadership style unintentionally as they hold different values, thus they have different approaches to leadership.

Each leadership style has its own strengths and weaknesses, and if you want to become a better leader, it is advisable to learn more than one style of leadership and apply the different styles when required.

Understanding what type of leader you are and knowing your leadership style can improve your leadership effectiveness.

Leadership qualities of a person are not defined by the specific leadership style you display, but by how you get out of your comfort zone and lead your team to success.

Can You Have Multiple Leadership Styles?

Great leaders can have multiple leadership styles that enable the leader to engage with everyone within the organization. A mixed leadership style is an overlap between leadership styles where the leader combines a series of tactical and strategic management styles to adapt to the situation presented.

The type of leadership style a leader uses to direct their people can greatly impact the success of the team and the organization as a whole.

By combining two or more leadership styles, the leader combined the positive aspects of each leadership style so that the people will be more engaged.

You can also find the style that works best for you and your team.

But if you want to improve your leadership skills, check out these online learning platforms to find the right course that helps you develop your leadership skills.

Join over 11,000+ achievers who are committed to achieving their career goals! 

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.