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10 Most Common Leadership Styles (and Self Assessment How to Find Yours)


We dive deep into all major leadership styles (e.g. democratic, visionary, coaching, autocratic, transformational, bureaucratic, situational).

Most Common Leadership Styles (and Self Assessment How to Find Yours)

The definition of good leadership has always been somewhat elusive, and, most likely, that definition will change throughout your leadership experience as you will discover new leadership strategies as you continue growing as a person and a leader yourself.

A leadership role will only be mastered if you are ready to take on a never-ending process of self-development, as much of the efficiency a leader develops depends on their ability to self-reflect and make adjustments after they have identified a better approach to doing things than what was tried before.

In this article, not only will you find out everything about all the modern and more traditional leadership styles, helping you identify which approach aligns with your circumstances, but you will have a better understanding of leadership education through practice and trial and error.

Read on, and find the leadership style examples that will help you generate and maintain more financial success for your organization, foster a more positive working environment and maximize the productivity of your employees, and foster a future generation of leaders while evolving as a leader yourself.

What is Good Leadership?

Many organizations will tell you different perspectives that are fostered within different environments on what are the qualities that make a good leader which is a good thing because not all situations require the same approaches by the leaders.

1. Preparation, passion, and confidence

A good leader is someone who is in a continuous state of preparation but is ready to embrace change and unexpected circumstances and guide their team through these changes.

Apart from being passionate about developing their idea and achieving success, good leadership means having the eye for noticing and empowering potential future leaders that will spread the culture of leadership further.

Good leaders understand that maintaining a confident and positive team environment is daily work and a foundation for accomplishing the desired mission.

Leader has to have strong faith in their beliefs to expect anyone to follow them.

Once a leader has the faith from their employees/followers in their ideas, they can build on that by being a high-level communicator, being receptive to feedback, and leading by example with the best foot forward and relentlessness.

Being the engine behind the team’s motivation, a leader must exude passion and the ability to inspire and instill confidence in the employees.

2. Self-awareness, responsibility, and sacrifice

Leaders are human too, which means they will also have moments of doubt, in which case they need to address the problem instead of forcing unjustified positivity.

A leader must have a healthy dose of self-awareness that will allow them to adjust to a drop in inspiration and take a different approach or take time to develop a new strategy.

Being objective in the current state of a team’s atmosphere and attitude of themselves and certain individuals will allow a leader to spot the misjudgments and correct course accordingly.

 A leader has to have the shoulders strong enough to handle the responsibility of the employee’s and their families’ lives depending on their decisions.

Sometimes, this responsibility will require a leader to make self-sacrifice for the better of the team or make the hard decisions.

Whether that responsibility means firing someone who is bringing more damage than good to the whole team, making unpopular decisions that will compromise their likeability for the better of the team, or something else, a leader is a frontman, and the frontman has to sing for the hecklers sometimes.

3. Compassion, risk, and balance

Earning the respect of the team is crucial for effective leadership, and this means knowing how to show respect, empathy, and care for the employees.

Combining these traits makes the employees feel valued for their contribution, shows them that the leader has the desire to understand their perspective, and makes them inspired to work for such a leader.

Since leadership is a balancing act at its core, a good leader will know when it is necessary to make a decision that will impact the future of the organization, and they will have the awareness to explain if some of the employees’ inputs were compromised for the reaction to sudden changes.

Apart from the ability to take calculated risks, good leadership always has a leader knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the individuals within a team to some extent, as this allows them to forecast and manage the outcome of everyone’s efforts.

A good leader understands that the people are what makes success happen, which is why a leader must surround themselves with great people they can rely on, as it makes cultivating a competent and confident team much easier.

At the end of the day, good leadership is a balance between the leader’s vision and ability to adapt to unexpected circumstances, the courage to take risks and instill confidence in his team members and the discipline to adhere to a predefined set of objectives, the confidence in the leader’s vision and the humility to accept the feedback of their subordinates.

What are the Most Common Leadership Styles?

1. Democratic Leadership Style

The Democratic leadership style, also known as “participative”, combines the qualities of the Autocratic and the Laissez-Faire leadership styles and delivers a more open-to-feedback decision-making model in which a leader runs groups and projects while considering the input of each team member.

Although the leader makes the final call, each employee has an equal say in the project’s direction as the leader always considers feedback from the team before making a decision.

Not only will a democratic leader value an idea and input from all team members, but they will actively encourage discussion about each team member’s contributions, enabling each suggestion to be constructively criticized and improved upon, allowing each team member’s strengths to shine and weaknesses to be completed by another member.

Apart from fostering a positive atmosphere and a collective proactive attitude that makes the team always feel rewarded for their efforts, a democratic leadership style will allow the lower-level employees to exercise their leadership capabilities for potential future positions they might hold.

The leader here serves as a moderator that guides and controls the group activities while creating an atmosphere where an open exchange of ideas, free-flowing discussions and openness to unorthodox methods, and equality among group members is welcomed and prioritized.

Democratic Leadership Style
Source : Chegg

Pros 

1. Boosted productivity

With all group members contributing to the decision-making process, each team member feels as if their contribution is highly valuable.

If an idea for a team project is completely miscalculated, a leader will explain to the team member why the suggestion doesn’t align with the collective narrative of the project.

The team member that has presented an idea that isn’t a good fit can still contribute to the rest of the meeting, and provide suggestions and feedback to their teammates or learn from them to update his or her idea.

If a member comes up with a ready-made idea that will make the desired progress without any additional input, the leader can reward the presenter with the chance to present the idea in more detail to the whole team or deploy them full authority to develop the idea on their own, while still allowing discussion and feedback from the remaining team.

With less managerial oversight and more team members included in the decision-making process, the democratic leadership model can enhance the morale of the group and attain a high retention rate, boosting productivity on all levels.

Types of Perticipative Decision Making
Source: Slideteam

2. Wide range of application

With healthy engagement promoted between all team members, a democratic leadership style will elevate the quality and efficiency of common business processes that are found in most companies regardless of the industry.

Solutions acquired through the democratic leadership approach have a proven track record of lasting longer, and this leadership method can be easily applied to any organization, including private businesses of all sizes, schools, and even governments.

3. Creativity and innovation are welcomed

Creative workarounds and innovative input from employees is something not only cherished but encouraged in the democratic leadership model, encouraging the already creative individuals to present their outside-the-box thinking capabilities and empowering the development of creative thinking in those employees with less experience in such situations.

A democratic leader will value and allow each employee to highlight their individual experiences and skills which contribute to the creative process of the team’s project and create a free environment for the employees to suggest ideas on how to increase productivity, reduce errors, simplify the process, address the customers’ needs better, build new products, and so on.

4. Strong unity between team members

Democratic leadership’s participative nature nourishes a positive work environment where all team members work together on achieving the organization’s goals with openness to give and receive feedback and learn from one another, as everyone’s opinions are equally valued, creating closer connections between the employees.

5. Effective problem solving for complex issues

When the time for delivering a solution isn’t too limited, a democratic leadership approach can bring about the best solutions for complex problems.

Combining the multiple perspectives, different experiences, unique skill sets, original ideas, and attitudes of different team members, a team can come up with innovative solutions or combinations of different ideas that address the strategic and critical issues from different angles.

Cons

1. Possible division and resentment within the team

Under perfect circumstances, the democratic method provides everyone equal input, and this is true in the sense that everyone’s contribution will be respected, but of course that the best ideas need to be selected for the project to succeed.

This can cause certain team members to feel as though their contributions aren’t worthy, causing a drop in their performance and motivation.

It is the job of the leader to include the ideas of as many team members as possible without creating an atmosphere that a certain group of people is more valued within a team than the rest.

2. Time-consuming process

Due to the leaders often being pressured to make quick decisions, a good leader mustn’t hesitate in breaking the democratic model and involving only selected or no individuals in a discussion when the main business objective is to make a quick decision when faced with urgent deliveries.

3. Mistrust in the leader

When a democratic leader needs to make an abrupt choice to deliver a result in time, it can lead to them making a quick decision without the input of the team members that have been the main workforce behind that part of the project.

When an employee starts to view their contribution as mandatory, and they are excluded from a decision, this can make them feel left out and uncertain of being included in future decisions.

4. Low periods of productivity

With the many benefits of evaluating each team member’s input, there is a drawback, and that is the potential period of low productivity when a consensus for an individual idea is drawn out for too long, and the team can’t move forward because people are unsure of what to decide.

Not only is consensus not always a requirement, but moving on to the next subject at hand can often benefit the whole team and keep the positive and progressive attitude strong.

5. Questionable team expertise

Due to the all-inclusive and less-constrained nature of the democratic model, the team leaders can run into a problem of having too many inexperienced, unskilled, or unfitting team members making suggestions the same amount of time as the more competent ones.

What Type of Organizations can benefit from The Democratic Leadership Style?

When extensive discussions and brainstorming are necessary to deliver a great product or stand out on the market, a democratic leadership style can be extremely effective in maximizing each employee’s creativity and generating innovative solutions, which is exactly what Google is known for.

Democratic Leadership
Source: Slideshare

If you work in a company leading a team of experts in a particular field, the participative approach can provide the best platform for these experts to brainstorm ideas with freedom and come up with solutions, and here is where a leader might need to take a more of a background mediator role as these experts often have deeper knowledge in their field than the leader.

A Gallup study showed the increased tendency with millennial workers wanting to work with managers who will invest in their development and allow them the freedom to exercise their creativity, which is why the participative approach might be better suited for leading a younger workforce.

Famous Democratic Leadership Examples

The 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, surrounded himself with extremely capable and knowledgeable people who at the same time were his biggest rivals, bringing Salmon Chase as his treasury secretary despite Chase undermining him with other cabinet members, because he was the best person for the job.

Former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi wrote personalized letters to her employees’ parents as a unique display of gratitude to her senior executives.

Former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, was known for his ability to bring warring parties together, and come to their senses at the negotiating table, to save civilians and future tragedy.

Famous Democratic Leadership Examples
Source: Khaleejtimes

2. Autocratic Leadership Style

As a complete opposite from the democratic leadership style, the Autocratic leadership model, also known as “Authoritarian” leadership, gives control over all decisions to one person with little to no significant input from others.

Any employee that reports to the leaders isn’t considered or consulted before making a decision or a change of direction and is expected to adhere to a decision at a time and pace set by the leader.

Focused almost entirely on the results and efficiency, an autocratic leader will either make decisions with a small, trusted group of people or view themselves as having “absolute power”, while making decisions on behalf of their subordinates.

Autocratic Leadership Style
Source: Plopdo

Autocratic leaders will often not only dictate what needs to be done but how individual tasks need to be completed.

An autocratic leader will often make decisions quickly and strategically, notifying the employees of new business objectives, precise methods they want the employees to use to achieve them, and timeframes under which the employees must deliver the results all at once, without isolating too much time on any individual group of employees.

Pros

1. Great fit for industries with strict guidelines

Industries with strict guidelines, such as healthcare, military, financial, and so on, can benefit from the autocratic leadership style in the same way that compliance-heavy industries can.

Banks and healthcare companies serve as guardians of some of the most sensitive financial affairs and medical history data, which is why they have to comply with strict compliance regulations such as HIPAA, GDPR, and CCPA.

This allows the employees in these industries to benefit by being assigned specific and unambiguous goals, job responsibilities without any uncertainties, and required creative additional effort.

Additionally, the autocratic leadership style can be beneficial for those employees who require a greater deal of supervision, providing the employees with little to no experience the scheme that will enable them to deliver results on time and a hierarchy system with rewards and punishments that will evoke discipline and productivity.

Also, the autocratic leadership model is highly effective in the construction and manufacturing projects that operate under strict deadlines and precisely defined tasks, especially ensuring that safety precautions are followed.

2. Decisions are made quickly

In a company operating under autocratic leadership, there are fewer administrations that need to be kept informed of each decision and less feedback from different levels of management which must be processed.

There is a single leader and they are in charge of all arrangements, which improves the speed of decisions when compared to the democratic model where multiple people weigh the pros and cons of each choice.

Leadership and the decision making process
Source: Researchgate

3. Efficiency in handling a crisis

Adding to the importance of quick decisions, an authoritarian leadership model will allow organizations to handle emergencies and other stressful situations efficiently.

The expertise of the leader can be used to solve any short-term problems while directing resources and reorganizing the workforce and priorities can enable the organization to avoid a long-term problem from escalating.

4. Reduced employee stress

Providing clear and direct orders through a stable delegation system is a trait of democratic leaders who deploy exactly what they want out of each employee, not less and not more, which relieves the employees of any ambiguity in their work.

The employees aren’t required to add any creative input or transform an idea into something else, which allows them to deploy their full concentration and knowledge into their specific task, maximizing the task completion and on-time delivery ratio.

There is a stigma for autocratic leaders all having a difficult personality, but, when deployed through an expert managing a capable team, the autocratic leadership style can suit many employees as it lets them work in an environment when clear expectations of what they need to fulfill are always set.

Leadership Implication Model
Source: Slideplayer

5. Compensation for team inexperience

By outlining specific instructions the employees need to follow, including what tasks and how they need to be done, an autocratic leader can achieve the desired results with a less experienced team.

The employees can replicate the best productivity practices by utilizing the leader’s expertise, experience, and oversight as project assets.

Also, when there isn’t enough time for the employees to learn something new due to the urgency of the project, an autocratic leader can guide the employees through the unfamiliarity and extreme circumstances to accomplish the desired result on time.

6. Clear target focus

With strict job descriptions, everyone knows what is expected of them, and everyone knows what exactly is the focus of each task with resources and efforts for achieving those targets being precisely mapped out.

The employees can focus on these targets with minimal risk of distraction.

Cons

1. Micromanagement is common

Because the reputation of the whole organization falls on the leader solely, autocratic leaders tend to supervise every small detail of their employees’ work.

Turning into obsessive micromanagers not only puts psychological pressure on employees and makes all work being done seem less valuable, but it also causes a significant drop in productivity because the employees are always forced to report on what they are doing instead of focusing on the work.

On its own, or in combination with other factors, micromanagement can create a complete, detrimental lack of trust of the leader in the employees, which harms the team identity, accountability, and reputation.

To resolve this in a remote working environment, you could try tracking and analyzing your employees’ behaviors without placing counterproductive pressure on them with the best employee monitoring software in 2021.

Leadership Team Performance
Source: Intelivate

2. Lack of empowerment and sense of ownership

The leader takes all the credit for work that gets done, with no blame or credit ever being assigned to an employee, which can make the employees’ morale shrink.

Apart from the sense of lack of contribution, the autocratic leadership style makes it so that even the low-level decisions require input from the leader which stagnates productivity and creates low empowerment.

3. Low empowerment causes low employee engagement and low accountability.

Also, the micromanaging of every problem that arises makes the employees incapable of making crucial decisions in case of bottlenecks due to the lack of detailed information on task objectives.

4. Too much dependence on the leader

As mentioned before, the whole development process stagnates drastically with any arising setback, making it impossible for the leader to leave the workplace, and cultivating a team with limited decision-making capabilities.

If the leader promotes low personal and professional values, has insufficient expertise and experience for the tasks at hand, or is incompetent in any other way, this will show and harm the work being done much more than in any other leadership style, as the autocratic leadership places all hopes in the leader’s capabilities.

Digital leadership Skills
Source: Deloitte.wsj

5. Use of intimidation

Some autocratic leaders will use intimidation to obtain obedience, which often results in the oppressed employees undermining the leader and leaving the organization.

Leadership variables Intimidation and Outcome
Source: Researchgate

What Type of Organizations can benefit from The Autocratic Leadership Style?

Industries where a chain of command is almost always a necessity due to the urgency, importance, and scarceness of the qualities among regular employees required from the leader, are where the autocratic leadership can benefit the organization.

Military, healthcare, manufacturing, and construction are the most common industries associated with autocratic leadership.

Autocratic Leadership
Source: Slideshare

Famous Autocratic Leadership Examples

Martha Stewart is an American businesswoman who has built a $640 million empire while being described as a perfectionist who expects the same out of all who work for her and has been known for her unrivaled attention to detail and demanding employee expectations.

A good example of how an autocratic leader can be demanding but bring the best out of their employees is Lorne Michaels, a television producer, and screenwriter, who revolutionized American TV comedy as the creative producer of “Saturday Night Live” and the man who launched the careers of talents such as Eddie Murphy and Will Ferrell, despite being demanding on his actors.

Roger Ailes was an American television executive and media consultant and president of the Fox News Channel, while simultaneously working as an advisor to President Richard Nixon, and he was regarded as a controversial autocratic leader who refined the news broadcasting business through his style of leadership.

Famous Autocratic Leadership Examples
Source: Webfx

3. Laissez-Faire Leadership Style

The Laissez-Faire leadership style, also known as the “hands-off” approach, is a management style based on delegation through which the team members are allowed to make decisions on behalf of their leaders.

Translated from French, Laissez-Faire means “leave it be”, and functioning as the complete opposite method to micromanagement, the Laissez-Faire leadership style focuses on the leader delegating many tasks to their team members with little to no supervision.

After the leader provides the necessary tools and resources, they can dedicate more time to other projects instead of obsessively managing employees.

Laissez Faire Leadership Style
Source: Webfx

A style that is highly suitable for team members that are well-experienced, adequately trained, and require little oversight, the Laissez-Faire leadership style empowers the employees to make crucial decisions, solve problems, and accomplish the task objectives, without having the constant pressure of a supervisor monitoring their every move.

Leaders who embrace the Laissez-Faire leadership style will deploy all authority to their employees, as you might see a Laissez-Faire leadership-practicing company founder who makes no major office policies around work hours and deadlines.

Pros

1. Employee encouragement

The high level of trust and independence a Laissez-Faire leader will provide to their employees will empower all team members to explore new ideas and develop their individual innovation capabilities.

Instead of having an undisputable, commanding voice that is open only to one style or outcome, employees can approach a situation with a versatile set of opinions and different perspectives until they choose the best-fitting solution.

The differences in multiple perspectives can be discussed and critiqued, which strengthens each team member’s problem-solving and decision-making capabilities.

2. Development of leadership skills in each employee

Instead of being overdependent on the leader to make low and high-level decisions, the Laissez-Faire leadership style allows each team member to practice their management capabilities upon deploying the skills and expertise unique to each member to contribute to the combined success, strengthening their knowledge and discipline in the process.

When people assigned the role of a leader are experts in their field, this can only benefit the leader through the amount of collective talent while creating future capable leaders through the practice of complete accountability.

This style helps the employees constantly grow and develop self-confidence in their skill sets, which only motivates the whole team to master all areas of the project.

This kind of investment from the leader reinsures the employees’ efforts and achievements, naturally raising their accountability and maximizing the retention rate.

Also, when a team member is more adept at a certain aspect of a project, a more experienced and knowledgeable team member can take charge, instead of insisting on the leader being the driving force, which ensures that the best person for each task will always be selected by the leader.

This way, the leadership role isn’t compromised, while each team member gets to shine when it’s their turn.

3. Independence and relaxed work environment

While there are workers that prefer to be closely supervised under a more authoritarian leadership style, and who don’t like improvisation and ambiguity, there are workers who deliver the best results when working independently and figuring out solutions to problems on their own.

This increases satisfaction with the creative individuals who gain a deeper understanding of the issues they are assigned to resolve, which magnifies the employee’s passion to continue thriving on each project and learn from past mistakes.

The hands-off approach facilitates growth and development, as each employee is supported by the leader and motivated by the success of the other team members, which ignites a collective passion fueled by the individual desire for growth.

Impact on Employee’s commitment level in the organization
Source: Peachyessay

As the team members are given the freedom to shape their work environment, the employees get more productive in the comfortable setting, with each team member contributing to the best of their ability without the distractions of imposed working conditions or the leader’s preferred style.

The leader provides the employees the freedom to develop their unique approach to accomplishing the project deliverables, shaping their working environment according to each team member’s preferences and special methods, regardless of how unorthodox they might be.

4. Passion and satisfaction nourishment

Under the Laissez-Faire leadership style, the employees can finish their tasks on their own regularly, leaving each employee feeling satisfied and accomplished in their work.

This kind of encouraging and skill-nurturing atmosphere minimizes the stress of each employee and fosters a happy, passionate, and supportive atmosphere in the working environment.

5. Opportunity for a more selective approach

Sometimes the traditional Laissez-Faire leadership approach is the best solution, but a more modern version of the hands-off methodology takes a more selective approach.

The leaders can use their experiences and knowledge to contribute and benefit the team dosing how much of their involvement should they include and at which stages.

Instead of deploying strict rules, the leaders can use their knowledge to guide their team through hurdles and help them develop through practice.

Apart from direct involvement, they can make themselves available for consultation and advice.

Situational Leadership approach
Source: Americanlean

Cons

1. Lack of structure and leadership confusion

When a team isn’t organized and there is a lack of direction, chaos and confusion can easily ensue, with the employees feeling a lack of support.

Also, this style isn’t the most suitable for new or less-experienced employees, as they will require continuous guidance and hands-on support before they can develop the skills to tackle issues on their own.

The lack of role awareness in such a “hands-off” approach can downplay the leader’s role and cause conflict within a team when certain members try to step in and assume the leader’s role without being skilled or qualified enough.

A Laissez-Faire leader can be seen as distant, uninterested, or weak which can result in the whole team emulating the leadership style that serves as their example and become uncaring about the projects.

Laissez Faire leadership Style
Source: Slidetodoc

2. Abuse of the leader’s powers

A leader can take advantage of the Laissez-Faire leadership style and make excuses for their failures by assigning the responsibility to their team members.

The leader can use the excuse of the approach for their absence or inadequacy, and not only justify their wrongdoings, but throw the blame on their employees, or even remove certain team members while retaining their leadership role.

Apart from being incompetent, a leader can abuse the hands-off approach and make zero efforts to motivate their team or get involved in the process while setting high expectations from the employees.

Abuse of the leader's powers
Source: Cambridge

3. Difficulty adapting to changes

With the whole burden of the projects often being delegated to each employee, there is little to no time to examine the methods and strategies for specific issues within the full scope of the project because everyone is busy completing their tasks.

With the lack of a leader overseeing the employee’s approach and offering insightful guidance, the employee can choose to accept or decline anyone’s suggestions.

If the employee’s strategy is detrimental to the project and they are unwilling to reconsider, there are no other ways to solve the issue than to fire the employee or force their hand to alter the approach.

This sort of approach could cause the company legal issues if they continue with the trend of terminating the employees’ contracts based on project success or failure, without guiding how to achieve success, providing training, project guidelines, or support.

4. Employees stay in their comfort zone

With the complete freedom to create a tailored working environment and the ability to avoid possible challenges that can lead to development, comes the detrimental luxury of employees staying in their comfort zones for too long and stagnating.

Also, certain team members can disallow other employees to join them and contribute to their assignment which can cause division between the team members.

What Type of Organizations can benefit from The Laissez-Faire Leadership Style?

Self-motivation and a proven track record of excellent work are keys for a leader identifying the employees that will thrive under the Laissez-Faire leadership style.

The employees with a lot of experience and a documented record of consistently great results won’t need to be consistently reminded or corrected when doing something, because they are self-motivated and have a variety of skill sets developed through years of experience they can draw from.

Retail buying, for example, is a business that can thrive under Laissez-Faire leadership, with a lot of creative elements in the customer approach being involved in a successful company’s history.

Similarly, the entertainment industry is a place where you can see a lot of Laissez-Faire leaders such as directors who rely on their actors’ creativity, elements of surprise, and so on.

IT departments are often filled with employees who are experts at their work and will often produce the best results by applying explorative methods and outside-of-the-box thinking.

Laissez Faire Capitalism
Source: Alatpestabogor

Famous Laissez-Faire Leadership Examples

Herbert Hoover was the 31st president of the United States and was well-known for his successful Laissez-Faire approach in politics, giving full trust and disclosure to his team members.

Queen Victoria was such an influential Laissez-Faire leader that there is a whole period in England’s history named after her, allowing experts in each field to perform to the best of their abilities in military, commerce, financial, and all the other industries.

Warren Buffett is an American businessman, known for giving the people he trusts the opportunity to do their job efficiently and letting them make mistakes so they can learn and grow.

Laissez Faire Leaders
Source: Slideshare

4. Strategic Leadership Style

Sitting between the company’s main day-to-day operations and challenges and growth opportunities and aspirations, the strategic leadership style allows the leader to accept the burden of executives’ interests while ensuring that the current working conditions and resources are stable enough to make each employee’s operations capable of being achieved.

With the vision they are moving forward to and building the foundation to accomplish those objectives in the long term, strategic leaders deploy the time, effort, and expertise into guiding their workforce through the meticulous details and hurdles of everyday small milestones.

In this sense, they differ from the visionary leaders as they move past the inspiration and long-term objectives and carefully construct a plan for each stage of each milestone that the big picture consists of.

Strategic Leadership Style
Source: Pinterest

If you want the person who will gather all the team departments together,  think ahead and prepare for succession in each development stage, and streamline the sequences required for successful implementation of project objectives, a capable strategic leader will do the most for you.

Explicit in directions and with “one-on-one” meetings being priorities, strategic leaders will be the clear and deliberate communicators who get everyone on the same page, identify potential problem areas in advance and help the team prepare and avoid these pitfalls, challenge old conventions and create better solutions.

Pros

1. The connection between the daily work and future goals

Strategic leaders help each employee balance their input and contribution so that they peak at the most crucial times while clearing their path from any unforeseen setbacks through intelligent planning so that they can perform to the best of their ability.

Without objective thinking, it is easy for a team to get caught up in the plans for the future and underperform in their day-to-day activities and vice versa, which is why the strategic leadership model is the best approach to make incremental, daily progress.

The meticulous approach to each objective helps the project build a bulletproof foundation, upon which everything larger-scale and advanced down the road can be much more easily applied without causing disruptions for the employees.

2. Fostering of unity

Perfect for encouraging and fostering participation and unity, the strategic leadership style creates the optimal ground for diminishing conflict, harvesting from interdepartmental collaboration, and keeping everyone on the same page towards completing a collective goal.

The strategic leader will not only keep different departments from losing focus or touch with one another, but they will actively find ways to enable cross-departmental collaboration that will benefit all sides, creating a supportive work environment that’s always ready to be supercharged by additional help.

Part of what makes the employees so open to following the strategic leader’s ways is the inquisitive quality that one must have, which enables the leader to always explore new and improved ways of completing tasks, build relationships with their employees by always considering their opinions, all of which creates more freedom and ease for everyone on the team to learn and grow.

The strategic leader will be able to attain the employees’ trust along with learning to implement compassion with their employees as this gets the subordinates on board with the vision and refines the leader’s creative thinking when dealing with issues.

3. A robust framework for strategic decisions

Strategic leaders simplify practical decision-making and make it applicable to anyone by clearly communicating the goals and exploring how everyone can contribute to the collective vision.

A strategic model where every decision could be considered can help the leader keep everyone on the same page while the carefully constructed framework of ideas on how to move forward will not just outperform a system of reactive actions, but it will allow the leader to guide the team members through identifying possible weak spots and avoiding them on time.

Robust framework for strategic decisions
Source: Goettler

A plan with a clear focus on the long-term vision and the resources to get you there and the short-term action plan that addresses the pain points of each stage incrementally, delivered in an inspiring yet instructional way by the leader, creates a strong and long-lasting structure for operating.

With the clear benchmarks of which actions and choices are measured against, the strategic framework provides more clarity in the decision-making process, along with making sure that the wider focus is emphasized across the whole organization.

4. Preparation against the competition and future changes on the market

Examining the different components, the strategic leadership model can help a company gain an organizational perspective, which conveys how specific sectors within a company affect each other and how the current framework compares to the wider industry and competitors.

This can help a company keep up with and surpass the competition and predict future changes in the market.

5. Commitment building

By exemplifying proficiency and practicality, strategic leaders act as models for the employees to simulate these qualities.

Cons

1. Leader’s focus is spread out across two sides

All long-term processes and goals are hard to predict, regardless of the leadership style that is applied, which is why there is no way for certain how the current happenings and future plans in a company will play out in the future industry or economy.

Not only can excessive long-term strategic leadership planning become a waste of effort and a source of leadership stress, but it can cause a company to completely lose a balance when assessing risk management.

2. Lack of flexibility

Since strategic plans are implemented all over a company, there could be damage done to an entire department when something needs to be changed or modified.

Since the long-term impact of choices is always considered, this can cause short-term profitability and productivity to suffer, which could lead to disputes with the investors and stakeholders who will require measurable, incremental improvements each time.

Without innovation being practiced in the action plan, a strategic leadership style could result in a slow reaction to sudden changes due to rigid, established routines.

If a leader develops a too strong tunnel vision for future achievement, new opportunities might not get truly explored and get simply rejected due to a set vision and strategy.

3. Risk vs reward

Implementing a strategic plan and getting the whole company on board can be expensive and cause many promises to go unfulfilled.

When a plan is sunken by unexpected circumstances that don’t align with the set plan, it can cause layoffs, project cancellation, or even eradication of a whole department.

What Type of Organizations can benefit from The Strategic Leadership Style?

Perfect for organizations with enough patience and commitment to analyze their weaknesses, study their competitors and copy or modify their best practices, blending the strategies of their competitors with their own to create something new and better.

This is what Toyota did, knowing that the American car industry is more advanced, they studied Ford’s and other brand’s car production lines for years before cultivating a high-quality design and innovation system that borrowed something from everywhere to come up with a unique product.

Sometimes, a strategic leadership style can be beneficial for those organizations who want to challenge the boundaries of what’s possible and rely less on ultra-expensive technology.

Focusing on building partnerships with merchants instead of established giants as well as being quicker to market than your rivals are the risk-taking qualities of a company that could avail from a strategic jumpstart in a calculated manner.

After all, this is how PayPal was able to rise above payment processing companies, applying unconventional strategies like undisbursed fundholding in commercial interest-bearing checking accounts instead of fractional-reserve banking.

PayPal partners are B2B companies that offer PayPal products to their merchants.

Famous Strategic Leadership Examples

The famous director Steven Spielberg has applied the strategic leadership formula working on film sets for decades, applying innovative filmmaking and storytelling strategies and not being afraid to tackle challenging social issues through his forward-thinking approach.

Many actors commented on his unique approach of presenting his vision to them while leaving them to explore different strategies for achieving that collective vision.

Howard Hughes was an American businessman, investor, film director who became a billionaire and hired an administrator to help him navigate through the daily obligations while he outlined the vision for his businesses and indulged in many side projects.

David Dwight Eisenhower was the 34th president of the United States who was revered for his tenacity and people skills long before he became president, reaching a celebrity status at the height of his army career and becoming a five-star general.

5. Transformational Leadership Style

The transformational leadership style focuses on clear communication, goal-setting, and employee motivation, by placing the energy and commitment on the organization’s objectives over the employee’s individual goals.

Transformational leaders will find ways to change and improve groups and businesses by inspiring their employees to adopt innovative strategies, make improvements, and find more prolific methods to finish tasks.

The transformative leader will empower each employee to test what they are capable of, present their ideas with confidence, and provide suggestions on how things could get enhanced and deployed more efficiently.

Perfect for teams that can handle multiple delegated tasks without constant supervision, transformative leadership style will allow the leaders to spend enough time on developing the big picture plans, with tasks usually increasing in difficulty and the pace of deadlines picking up as the employee develops along with a company.

Transformational leadership is the most effective when formed organically, through the earned trust, respect, appreciation, and loyalty that the employees develop for their leader, which transforms the outside motivation source (reward and punishment) into an intrinsic one.

Now, the creator demonstrates an inspiring vision and a great example for the employees to follow, which makes the whole team compelled.

The transformational leader will attend to the needs of each employee individually with empathy, open communication, and support, encouraging creativity, challenging assumptions, brainstorming ideas, and taking risks, while communicating optimism and instilling pride into the employees.

Pros

1. Ethics are valued over the hyper-focus on goal achievement

With integrity being one of the core values of transformational leaders, this approach’s entire plot of influence is based on the transparency and openness established throughout the whole organization.

Leading by the example of being driven by healthy values and accentuating the significance of ethics, transformational leaders will encourage the employees to act in the best interest of the company and their colleagues.

2. Unity in a common cause

An effective transformational leader will make the work experience seem purposeful and enjoyable, in a way that it motivates the employees to simulate the leader’s passion, as the improvement and growth plan is based on an accurate analysis of the company’s current situation and the best practices needed to be implemented to achieve measurable progress.

A good transformational leader can elevate the organization’s productivity and achieve measurable gains, as they present the big picture to everyone in a way that makes all departments united in achieving the team cause.

Distinguishes Transformational Leadership
Source: Ckju.net

3. Reduced turnover cost

By inspiring people to become more engaged and taking them along the whole process in tackling each milestone of the full-scale project, transformational leaders will be able to achieve lower staff turnover.

With the employees constantly coming and going, this increases the acquisition and replacement training costs, which is why the transformational leader prioritizes scouting for the people who match the culture and practices within a business, as this will make the employees feel like they fit in from the start.

Not only does a leader invest for their employees to stay with them in the long run, but it allows the leader and the whole team to acquire wealth by cutting back on the turnover costs, thus reaching more attainable prosperity.

4. Embracing attitude towards change

To change, a company must be willing to embrace change, which is something a transformative leader can inspire and facilitate on the organizational and individual employee levels.

Due to the natural resistance all humans feel towards change, it can be a quite demanding task for a leader to instill trust in the employees individually and between each other, and display the possibilities that can arise when they look past the fear and uncertainty.

The special quality of transformational leaders comes with their capability to sell the benefits and the virtue of change by focusing on the positive impact for the greater good and specific ways in which each employee can contribute to this vision.

Over time, transformational leadership will urge the employees to learn to accept change and even enjoy it, as their comfort zones expand along with the leader and the expansion of the company.

5. Morale boost through better communication

Most commonly, the root cause of a stale work environment, unclarified job roles, and inner conflict is poor communication.

However, transformational leaders can prevent these issues by communicating clear and consistent messages to rally people behind their vision, delivering the corporate message while ensuring that the employees feel valued, and breaking the employees out of the old routine.

5 CS for Transformational Leadership
Source: Fielding.edu

6. Freedom over a chain of command

Instead of rewards and punishments, the transformational leadership style provides the employees with opportunities to explore personal freedom in their work.

Value for skills and experience, the employees are trusted to perform tasks to the best of their abilities with the whole system based on motivation coming from within each employee.

Cons

1. Excessive conceptual planning

Like all big-picture-focused leadership styles, the transformational leadership model can rally enough support for a big-picture vision without clear operational strategies to actualize what is planned.

A transformational leader can’t allow the daily operations to compromise the long-term plan, but, also, they can’t let the full-scale goal overwhelm them so that they can’t overcome the inevitable hurdles in everyday operations.

2. Employee burnout

While some employees might get just the right amount of inspiration from the transformational leader, others might feel their presence as overwhelming and stress-producing.

When transformational leaders glorify the vision too much and show little attention and understanding of employees’ small victories, this can lead the workers to feel that showing up and performing great isn’t enough.

The transformational leader can put strenuous emphasis on authenticity and exemplifying the company values that the constant reminding of the company’s vision and pride in the team’s achievements can wear out an employee and make them feel burned out.

Employee burnout
Source: Link.springer

3. Excessive and unnecessary risk

Forcing changes at all costs can be disruptive and cause needless uncalculated risks that can harm the organization, which is why a transformational leader must have a positive outlook on each small progress instead of focusing on change as the end-goal to every milestone.

4. High potential for abuse and damage in the wrong hands

When a charismatic transformational leader promotes their right way of doing things, that is unethical or harmful for an organization or the wider circle, while instilling this belief in their followers without minding the consequences, this can be quite damaging.

Often, these leaders will be extremely hard to stop, which is why there are extreme cases of transformational leaders like Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden embodying the dark nature of this leadership style.

5. Continuous feedback loop and a great number of meetings are a necessity

For this level of communication to be attained throughout, it will require a lot of meetings where feedback is given to employees and where the leader needs to inspire everyone and keep the enthusiasm high.

When the communication breaks down and an employee feels the feedback loop isn’t as prevalent, this can make them lose commitment to the vision.

The Feedback Loop
Source: Slidetodoc

What Type of Organizations can benefit from The Transformational Leadership Style?

This is a highly encouraged leadership style among growth-focused companies that want to invest in the knowledge and development of their employees to achieve a vision in the long run.

Transformational leadership will have an impact on all organizations and cultures, with the GLOBE research supporting this claim, being prevalent in the IT, eCommerce, travel, healthcare, manufacturing, and many more industries.

Famous Transformational Leadership Examples

Jeff Bezos is the CEO of Amazon, and a part of what made him such a great transformational leader was the fresh perspective and expertise he brought over from the finance world into the eCommerce market.

Heinrich Hiesinger served as the German engineer and the CEO of ThyssenKrupp helping alleviate pressure from the Asian competition in the steel market by deploying newer forms of manufacturing like 3D printing.

Mark Bertolini is an American businessman who served as the CEO of Aetna and was known for his realistic management approach in the healthcare industry who was committed to redesigning the healthcare of the future.

6. Transactional Leadership Style

Under the transactional leadership style, the leader sets predetermined incentives in the form of a reward for success and punishment for failure.

While the rigid chain of command does focus on the supervision, organization, and success of different groups, the transactional leader can make an effort to provide mentorship and training to achieve the goals and enjoy the rewards.

Upon receiving a job from a transactional leader, the employee might receive a set of incentives that will motivate them to learn the job duties fast with the bonus of receiving additional pay for finishing 10 sales within a deadline.

If not able to achieve the assignment, however, the leader might take disciplinary action of assigning a tedious, department-wide task to the employee who didn’t meet the deadline.

Transactional Vs Transformational Leadership
Source: Edu.glogster

Also called managerial leadership, the approach is common in team sports where the manager rewards success with praise and punishes failure with verbal discipline.

More focused on performing well under the set rules instead of revolutionizing the market, transactional leaders don’t have a vision they want everyone to get on board with, as is the case with transformational leaders.

The best responders to the transactional leadership model are organizations that don’t require solving complex problems or continuous creative problem-solving, and organizations that often face crises where everyone must focus on their clearly-defined tasks at hand.

Effective in large organizations where productivity is achieved through structure and regimen, transactional leadership style has been deployed in the military, law enforcement, and international companies operating in a lot of locations for a long time.

Pros

1. Employees get rewarded

The transactional leaders are clear in what they expect from their employees, and the employees who follow the set instructions will get rewarded.

For the people who are easily motivated by this kind of prize and punishment system, without feeling debilitating pressure from the potential consequences that will follow if they don’t finish the job.

Employees who can handle this kind of strenuous effort and are great at their job will like this as it creates a sense of fairness and deserved pay since the money you make will depend solely on the amount of quality of work you can deliver.

Rewards could come in the forms of a salary, bonus, time off, promotion, recognition, awards, while the punishments could be pay deduction, no bonus, public castigation, or even termination.

2. Quick resolution of short-term goals

Since transactional leaders make decisions quickly and with minimal consultation, there won’t be any time wasted on democratic-style collaborative meetings.

Close staff monitoring ensures that the mistakes get spotted early and addressed as quickly as possible so that they don’t have a ripple effect on the whole project and organization.

Through transactional leadership, a manager easily establishes rules and responsibilities for each employee, so that the confusion and guesswork are completely out of the picture.

A goal can only be achievable with a defined ending point, and transactional leaders know this and use it to their advantage as they help the employees build confidence as they progress towards a measurable goal, instead of an innovative environment where nothing is ever final.

3. Precision and productivity

When done right, transactional leadership allows the manager to break down tasks into actionable increments and assign them with high clarity, establishing repeatability and optimal incentives.

A clear chain of command that is easily recognized by the whole team is created and structures within a team are implemented with precision.

Sometimes, focusing on the objectives and key results (OKR) will bring the most attainable results that will lead to bigger success in the long run, which is why you will see giants like Google and Apple applying this goal-setting approach.

How to apply transactional leadership
Source: Turnedtwenty

4. Cost reduction

Transactional leaders can improve productivity while reducing costs, as the employees tend to work harder when having a short-term goal and knowing that it won’t take long before they finish the current task which motivates them to work even harder and win more rewards.

This hyper-concentrated work cuts the cost of resources and workforce that would otherwise be spent on creative brainstorming and exploration.

5. Simplicity

The method doesn’t require a manager with extensive training, specific charismatic leadership traits, or high emotional intelligence and group mediation skills, as the manager only needs to be a rule enforcer who will punish non-conformists and terminate the people who are unable to meet the expectations.

6. Choice of awards

Typically, the employees can choose which rewards they value the most so that the employees who want a bigger paycheck or extended vacation time are equally honored.

Cons

1. External motivation has its duration

Some people are motivated easily by rewards, while some are demoralized by a punishment system.

The strict focus on concrete incentives doesn’t encourage employee loyalty, and this is especially the case when the rewards are subpar and not worth the effort.

2. Individuality and creativity are stifled

There is no room to bend or break the strict rules to highlight someone’s outside-the-box thinking, which makes the employees who come from a creative mindset to be perceived as less capable to produce despite potentially achieving great results with little freedom.

3. Blame is thrown at the employees

The whole structure is more focused on consequences instead of rewards, as the system does not emphasize employee welfare thus making the rewards feel transactional which downgrades the value of the rewards when received and lowers the morale.

As long as the work is being done, the organization doesn’t care about how an employee thinks or feels, which creates insensitivity within the average worker to anyone but themselves, meaning they focus only on their task and if anyone needs help, they are a weak link that needs to be eliminated.

4. Underdeveloped leaders and employees

With numbers and results being the top priorities and growth and development being among the lowest priorities in a transactional leadership style, this leads to leaders who never get to exercise true management skills that they can transfer to other jobs, while the employees stay creatively stifled and without a true chance to move up the ranks.

5. The leader is distanced from the cause

Most commonly, an experienced leader who isn’t bothered by a toxic atmosphere can be a successful manager under transactional leadership, but most of these leaders have developed detached work personalities that don’t care about the culture of the team, the vision, and especially not the workers.

When a supervisor or a leader is incompetent, the blame will still be thrown at the employee as the structure doesn’t place as much meaning on the effectiveness of the leader as it does on the performance of workers, which can lead to highly-skilled employees performing much less than they are able due to incompetence of the leader.

What Type of Organizations can benefit from The Transactional Leadership Style?

To benefit from this style of leadership, organizations need to be based on measurable tasks with measurable outcomes, tasks without high complexity, and a high level of repetition.

Call centers, for example, have strict guidelines and regulations on how to approach and handle calls, with the supervisors measuring the quantity and quality of the calls made to determine the salary.

A distribution center for packing, loading and unloading is another good example of a fitting industry for the transactional leadership style, as incentives for how many items, transactions, employee handles with the potential of deductions in case of errors or damages.

Famous Transactional Leadership Examples

Joseph McCarthy was an American Senator who was dead set on proving that the Communist and Soviet spies have broken through the high-ranking U.S. government positions.

His short-term goal was to eliminate these threats with the help of a team that would give him information about potential suspects for which they would get rewarded.

Tim Parker was the CEO of AA who was notable for solving the company’s inefficiency, low productivity, and high employee turnover through drastic measures of firing those responsible for inefficiencies and restructuring the company, continuing with his reward and punishment model to motivate the employees to achieve significant profit increase.

Sir Alan Sugar is the former owner of the British Consumer Electronics Company Amstrad who relied heavily on rules, norms, and external motivation to get the employees to perform at his expectations.

7. Coach-Style Leadership Style

One of the most advantageous leadership styles for both the managers and the employees, the coaching leadership style is also one of the most underutilized leadership styles because it requires extensive one-on-one mentorship with the employees.

A coaching leader will focus on identifying the individual strengths and weaknesses of each team member while developing the strategies that will enable the team to function better together.

While it resembles the strategic and democratic leadership models, the coaching leadership style places more emphasis on the development and success of individual employees.

A coaching leader won’t necessarily force all employees to focus on the same skills and goals just so they are unified in any sense, but rather, they will gather a team in which everyone has their unique expertise and skill set, and later encourage everyone to embrace the skills of one another through support and communication.

A coaching leader might help the employees further improve their strengths with new tasks they can try, guidance, by discussing and giving feedback, or even, they might encourage mutual mentorship between the employees by empowering them to teach their skills to their colleagues and learn something they are less experienced in from the other team members.

A manager practicing a coaching approach will assist an employee in setting smart, achievable, yet challenging goals throughout the process while providing regular feedback and assessing the exact strategies that can facilitate growth.

Employees can expect a coaching leader to set clear expectations and deliver them in a positive, inspiring manner, fostering a confident company atmosphere.

Pros

1. Positive work environment

Leaders utilizing the coaching style can foster and attain a positive, motivational working environment easily, as one of the main goals of this leadership style is to help employees improve their performance.

People enjoy working with coaching leaders as they don’t hold their hand and do things for them while investing time and energy to examine their performances and guide them through the process of steady, measurable growth of their skills and confidence with patience and encouragement.

In this kind of growth-focused environment, people are highly motivated, eager to learn, and quick to collaborate and learn from each other.

Positive work environment
Source: Pimg.mhcc

2. Everything is upfront

Coaching leaders don’t hide anything from their employees and the whole team always knows what is expected of them.

Just like with the expectations, a coaching leader makes the guidelines for developing the skills needed for the employees to finish their tasks very clear, along with keeping the employees aware of the long-term goal and any changes that may come.

The leaders ensure that no questions are left unanswered before a project starts, helping everyone on the team understand the concepts of a project on time so that they can prepare the strategies that bring their best abilities to the forefront and help move the project forward.

By promoting the development of new skills, free-thinking, self-confidence, strong work ethic, learning and empowerment between the team members among themselves, and fostering a company structure that supports its employees with total confidence and investment in their abilities, coaching leaders are seen as great mentors outside the company.

3. Selflessness and creation of future leaders

With high levels of personal mentorship that help each employee elevate the skill competence levels at every stage, it creates the opportunity for everyone to be more productive and satisfied with their knowledge, thus more likely to share their knowledge with other team members.

As everyone supports everyone while climbing the corporate ladder, it pulls things together for anyone to continue using the coaching leadership style in the future, as many employees working under this style become coach-style leadership managers themselves.

4. A competitive advantage

Unlike the organizations with high turnover that have to invest a large amount of money and resources into cycling and mentoring the next roster of new employees every once in a while, companies led under the coaching leadership style can lower the turnover rate significantly and enhance the employees’ soft skills, which gives them the competitive edge on the market.

5. Neutralization and transformation of the employee weaknesses

All team members have weaknesses, which is why it is important to identify these on time before they can threaten the organization.

A coaching leader can quickly identify a team member’s weaknesses and create awareness so that consequences can be avoided or implement an action plan that enables the team member to turn that weakness into a strength.

6. Adaptability during change

When evolving a service or a product, companies often go through a change, and the coaching leadership style helps teams accept and adapt to changes when they occur.

Cons

1. A lot of time and patience is required

It takes a lot of time to see the changes made by a coaching leader, as this requires the leaders and employees to stop with their work and help others with their responsibilities.

Some companies aren’t able to make such an upfront investment, where they set aside a lot of resources and patience, to see the first results produced.

An effective way of saving some time and taking the burden off the leader would be to prioritize who to coach, as coaching the potential coaches of the future would create a spreading effect.

Additionally, coaching at this high level is extremely difficult as it requires a lot of experience, confidence, and the ability to convey meaningful advice that addresses specific skill development areas with constructive criticism.

Equally as important to the success of the coaching process is the commitment to self-development an employee has to have from the start, which is not something a leader can always influence.

2. Specific coaches are required for different occasions

Great coaches won’t always translate into great leaders for a specific organization due to the special skills and intricacies involved, so the best coaching leaders for a specific organization are often the ones with sizable life experience and specific training in the management style they apply for.

Also, equally as important is the personality of the leader and their chemistry with the team, as some personal similarities and adaptability to the work atmosphere are crucial for good communication.

Specific coaches are required for different occasions
Source: Projectcubicle

What Type of Organizations can benefit from The Coaching Leadership Style?

A coaching leadership style will elevate the productivity of an organization with a highly skilled leader and team members receptive to change.

Due to its complexity, the coaching leadership style is best suited for smaller teams or branches where strong personal relationships can be developed, and it can be seen in sports, manufacturing, the technology industry, and even the civil rights movements.

Famous Coaching Leadership Style Examples

Andrew Carnegie played a crucial role in Charles Schwab’s rise in the steel industry, as he began his career as an engineer in the Carnegie Steel Company where he began mentoring and coaching Schwab when he became a manager upon which Schwab became the president of the company.

Schwab learned from Carnegie’s enthusiasm and kindness towards the workers and modeled his leadership after his mentor’s leadership.

Red Holzman was an NBA coach who was notable for leading the New York Knicks towards two NBA titles.

Another NBA coach Phil Jackson and Mark Breman praised him for his influence and pointing out his exemplary leadership strategies such as regularly reinforcing the vision and performance standards from day one, always refining the fundamentals, empowering his team when his system is fully accepted, being humble, and taking a deep interest in each team member.

Partners at the Berkeley partnership international management consultancy have received extensive training in coaching that made them better equipped to serve their clients and support each other in responding to unclear problems.

8. Purpose-Driven Leadership Style

Purpose-driven leadership style is a management model that businesses and organizations apply when they want to align the aspects of running their organization with their core values and beliefs.

This leadership model places priority on purpose, character, and integrity, and usually, the leaders who follow this model have a deep belief in the cause that fuels them in their decision-making.

Everyday business activities are seen as more than simple decisions and are guided by values that are not only beneficial to the company and its employees but the consumers and the larger community.

The businesses run under this leadership are interested in growth and profit,  but they are committed to not sacrificing their culture or purpose and prioritizing greatness over growth.

Value-driven leaders will rebel against the traditional pressure to grow a business as big as possible, as quickly as possible, while disregarding any impact of the everyday practices on the employees, consumers, environment, and the industry as a whole.

Not often found in business schools, a purpose-driven leadership style to be implemented often requires the organizations to turn to internal training programs or special academies where it is ensured that the next generation of leaders within an organization has the foundation to implement the values-driven practices.

Purpose-driven leadership style training programs will include teachings on applying company values to every area of the business, making hiring, firing, and promotion decisions based on salutary core values, developing and attaining a company purpose, and practicing financial transparency.

Usually, purpose-driven leaders will have a common set of qualities that include a powerful mission statement, core values brought to life through everyday systems and processes in an organization, fostering a positive culture of intimacy and caring in totality for the lives of employees, protecting gross margins without compromising core company values, nurturing relationships with consumers, suppliers, stakeholders,  and establishing deep roots in their communities.

Pros

1. Enhanced employee motivation and energy

When you can create a workplace atmosphere where the employees can derive meaning from their work, through a set core of ethical values, you will be able to maintain the morale of your team high throughout all stages of a project.

A Harvard Business Review study showed that employees who derive meaning from their work receive almost twice the job satisfaction and are three times more likely to stay in their organization and fuel business success.

2. Loyal customers and brand ambassadors

Having a company or leading an organization with a purpose can easily make you stand out in today’s corporate market, with some studies like the one done by the New York Times bestselling author Simon Mainwaring who claimed that 91% of consumers would switch brands if an alternative one was purpose-driven while having similar price and quality.

Not only does having a strong and sustained purpose engage new customers, but it strengthens the connections with all consumers of the product as the cause you are advocating aligns with their core values, which creates loyal followers of your brand, and even brand ambassadors who promote your services on social media.

3. Higher success rates

With the main priorities of motivating the employees better and satisfying customers, purpose-driven leaders can and often do generate higher success rates for their organizations.

In the Corporate Culture and Performance book, you can find the HBS professors John Kotter and James Heskett displaying the data showing the performances of purposeful, value-driven companies against their counterparts over a ten-year-long period, with the value-driven companies outperforming in stock price by a factor of twelve.

Purpose-driven companies will attract the most creative and knowledgeable minds and create the most passionate customers organically, through the process of fostering values and nurturing the higher value behind the presented product, detached from the expectations of success.

4. Long-term sustainable performance

A business prospers when there is a clear connection between the purpose of the business, the benefit to society, and all stakeholders, which is what a purpose-driven leader can deliver by ensuring that the employees have a meaningful job, customers have the right products at the right price, suppliers are treated fairly, and the investors get the return on their capital.

Behaving and deploying everyday operations within an organization according to a purpose that serves a wider community and respects the people’s dignity, aligns the various stakeholders, and ensures that the business develops a long-term sustainable performance.

5. Purpose strengthens trust and relationship capital

One of the amazing benefits of operating according to a purpose is that it earns and maintains the public’s trust in the company.

Through value-driven leadership, the leader and the stakeholders will allow public dialogue around the business’s purpose, which is a key ingredient in maintaining the public’s trust through which relationship capital and other valuable assets are enhanced.

Impact of Purpose on Financial Performance
Source: Researchgate

Cons

1. Low priority placed on success

While the strong focus on the core values does strengthen customer relationships, a case could be made that a value-focused leader can get too restrictive and obedient to the cause that it ends up costing the organization great opportunities to expand.

While the main focus of this method is to prioritize the impact on the community over profit, the platform through which the leaders and the organization are trying to deliver their message will always be limited if there are no financial resources to help the business grow.

By rebelling to make a change ethically, a leader might pass on offers from investors or stakeholders because working with specific people might disobey the cause they are promoting through their product.

However, if there is a chance to significantly expand the audience to deliver the message with the help of certain investors, isn’t there an argument to be made that their message would be more effective and resonate more when the value-driven company expands to a wider audience?

Juggling between all these beliefs, while incorporating the complex structure of the purpose-driven leadership model which you can see below, is quite a task.

Leadership Development
Source: Sixdisciplines

2. Struggling times for employees

Since the nature of the cause the organization represents can vary and be delicate, they can struggle with acquiring the stakeholders and investors that will help them, especially in the beginning stages.

If the leader is too stubborn to realize that the changes need to be made to make any significant profit, this can lead to employees operating in a poor working environment, being underpaid, and unsure if the company has any future.

Not only can this compromise the lives of many employees, but it can create a stigma around the organization of being unprofessional, irresponsible, and harmful to the employees, which is a reputation that is hard to come back from.

Also, the employees can lose trust in the leader and view them as completely delusional, and self-centered with grandiose ideas they are incapable of realizing.

What Type of Organizations can benefit from The Purpose-Driven Leadership Style?

Instead of focusing on the “what?” and “how?” they can achieve their aspirations, purpose-driven leaders focus on the “why?”.

Purpose-driven leadership can be found in many religions, civil rights movements, and similar non-profit organizations, as the primary goal is to explore why a leader gathers their followers, employees, which is something always personal and can’t be imitated.

However, this leadership style isn’t missing in a wide range of modern industries.

Famous Purpose-Driven Leadership Style Examples

Nelson Mandela spent many years in prison protesting against apartheid, after which he was elected the President of South Africa in 1994 and focused on combatting poverty and HIV/AIDS through the charitable Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Jesus Christ was the founder of Christianity with his teachings on leadership serving as guiding principles to his disciples and present-day church leaders, preaching compassion, love, and servanthood.

Jonathan Keyser is the CEO of the Keyser Co. commercial real estate firm from Phoenix, Arizona that has been built on the ethics of selfless service, giving people clear purpose through detailed operating principles for everyone to see, and a strong framework and autonomy for his employees to make the right decisions.

9. Situational Leadership Style

Conceived by Dr. Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard, and later improved upon by Daniel Goleman, this concept advocates a leader who can combine different managerial styles according to different people and contexts of individual situations.

Extremely adaptable and versatile, situational leaders use four fundamental leadership styles of telling, selling, participating, and delegating, used for achieving four key objectives of diagnosing, adapting, communicating, and advancing.

Situational leaders will evaluate the situation, the circumstances, and the people involved in the process, after which they will choose the most appropriate type of leadership style to achieve the desired result within the given circumstances.

Goleman’s theory on Situational leadership describes six styles within this approach, which include coaching, pacesetting, democratic, affiliative, authoritative, and coercive leaders, while Blanchard and Hersey’s Situational leadership model is based on the concept of leadership and the development level of an employee.

There is the telling, selling, participating, and delegating model, while the stages of development are separated into low competence & high commitment, some competence & low commitment, high competence & variable commitment, and high competence & high commitment.

Situational Leadership Style
Source: Guntergroup

The four methods of leadership differ the most in the level of supervision and guidance required from the leader, with the telling leader delegating specific guidance and close supervision and the delegating model allowing minimal guidance from the leaders.

The best practice is to pair the leadership model with the readiness level of the employees, which means the lowest readiness level (R1 – low competence & high commitment) can produce the best results under the telling style (S1), as it allows the telling leader to make decisions and communicate them to the employees that are eager to learn but have little experience.

Pros

1. Flexibility

Instead of treating everyone from a singular perspective, situational leaders embrace the different experiences and skill sets that each individual has, which sets up everyone to pick up the abilities at their optimal pace and find success.

Without a strict set of rules that must apply to everyone, a situational leader can maximize each employee’s potential, which motivates the team to develop faster and feel more encouraged.

Since the situational leader adapts to the readiness level of an employee, it allows the employees to feel comfortable with their job duties, and without the burden of comparison with others, the employees can develop their skills in a growth-focused mindset.

The situational approach allows the leader to maintain a high level of productivity, which makes the employees more susceptible to being influenced and motivated.

2. Mores solutions for each stage of development

Not only does the situational leader expand the possibilities for the employees by looking at each situation through an individual lens, but this approach improves the effectiveness of the team as it allows the changes to be made, allowing the leaders to switch between different styles that are the most effective at each readiness level.

Each phase will have its own set of challenges, and sometimes the leader needs to clear the path for the employee and give them more freedom as they have proven that they’ve outgrown a certain level of readiness.

3. Adjustments to make the employees always stay productive

Not only do people change and evolve depending on daily circumstances and the accomplishments they make, but the many factors outside the leader’s control can also influence if the employee will perform better or worse on some days.

The situational leadership model allows the manager to quickly identify the best approach for an employee if the worker had a bad morning, experienced a tragic loss, or is burned out due to excessive work recently,  adding and relieving the worker from more responsibility or alternative strategies, as the leader reads the level of stress an employee can handle before a particular assignment.

The leader creates empathy this way, allowing each employee to feel they are approached correctly and treated fairly.

Elements of Organizational Conversation
Source: Hbr.org

4. Leadership maturity and team unity

Intuitive and flexible in their approach, a situational leader can approach direct reports at any level of maturity and advise the workers on the next best step they can take, allowing the employees to easily find a common ground between each other and minimize the risk of conflict developing.

When a situational leader is responsible and quick, they are deemed mature and capable of stopping the issues in their tracks before they can become disruptions in everyday work.

5. Employees are inspired to develop daily

Focusing on the short-term needs, the leaders can modify training scenarios for new workers that will help them get a grasp on things quickly while nurturing the educational opportunities for their established workers also.

When the leader communicates the benefits of the available development options, the employees get the chance to improve their skills in some way every day.

Cons

1. Disregard for the long-term needs

Instead of staying focused on the full-scale objectives, the situational leaders can fall into a trap of noticing and responding only to immediate circumstances, which can lead to projects hitting a dead end and the team capacity stalling.

2. Leaders can get lost without the flexibility

When assigned to manage in a task-oriented environment, where operations need to be completed in specific ways in a distinct period, the situational leaders will have no chance to apply their greatest asset which is flexibility and adaptability to each employee.

They are forced to delegate in a more telling than advisory and listening manner, which can cause them to get thrown off by the rules, policies, and regulations.

3. Different aspects of maturity

It can be challenging to identify the level of maturity in an employee, and this can distort their actual levels of competence and commitment in the leader’s eyes.

Since each person has different levels of emotional maturity and job maturity, this can get convoluted, as the more emotionally mature employees can present themselves as having more competence than they do while the more competent workers with lower levels of emotional maturity can get more aggravated by changes and perform on a lesser level than what they are capable of.

Also, while situational leadership does attempt to establish equality, you can’t always expect that the people respond well to a style just because it fits their level of competence and commitment on paper.

Differences in gender, prior experience, psychological makeup can make the leader less capable of understanding what’s best for certain individuals.

4. Corporate and leadership dependency

If the skills of a leader aren’t fully developed, it can cause them to make misjudgments, and read the changing situations and people’s needs inaccurately.

Also, once a situational leadership model is deployed, the company must go all-in as much of the project success depends on the continuous developmental and learning aspect of the leader/employee relationship, thus requiring a complete turnover when a leader is replaced.

If the company doesn’t go all in with the intended plan, this can disrupt the relationships and expectations of various internal and external stakeholders.

Corporate and leadership dependency
Source: Bsr.org

What Type of Organizations can benefit from The Situational Leadership Style?

Many companies and public institutions will be able to profit from the Situational leadership style, with prominent examples from a variety of industries including Adobe, British Telecom, WD-40, Genentech, the city of Battle Creek, the San Diego Padres, the Royal New Zealand Navy, and much more.

Any organization with frequent turnover being the norm can benefit from the Situational leadership style, as is the case with sports teams where team rosters are constantly changing.

Industries with Highest Turnover Rates
Source: Zippia

Famous Situational Leadership Style Examples

Pat Summitt was the head coach of the Tennessee Lady Volunteers for over 38 years, where she was assigned to build a new team each year and achieved great success, ending her career with a win-loss record of 1098- 208 and a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics.

John Wooden was the head coach of UCLA’s men’s basketball team where he won three Pacific Coast Championships while having team members graduate and others start on the team.

George Patton was a famous leader of the Second World War, with his methods often being regarded as only authoritative and relentless, but he was an expert analyst who produced several essays on war strategy and leadership, out of which the most important one would form a foundation for military readiness evaluation for the coming decades.

10. Bureaucratic Leadership Style

Similar to an autocratic leadership style, the Bureaucratic leadership model allows the leaders to expect their employees to follow the set rules and procedures precisely.

Fixed duties are set within a clear hierarchy where each employee needs to fulfill a set list of responsibilities, with little to no need for collaboration or creativity.

The leaders also must follow a setlist of responsibilities and clearly defined rules on how they can manage other employees and make decisions, through a roadmap deployed by the higher executives, owners, and leadership.

Bureaucratic Leadership Style
Source: Slidegeeks

Often, you will find bureaucratic leaders in older companies with long traditions and large enterprises, while the approach itself is best suited for highly regulated industries such as governments, finance, healthcare industries, and so on.

Often, bureaucratic leaders will reject a strategy from an employee, even if it is a strong one, because of the success the company has achieved with the current processes and resistance towards any new, time-consuming procedures.

While the employees might not feel as controlled as they would under an authoritative environment, there is still a lack of freedom in how employees are able to do.

Being closed off to innovation, this approach won’t be the most suitable for companies aspiring to achieve big goals and quick growth.

Relying on authority and conformity, bureaucratic leaders can bring their companies great efficiency when routine tasks are performed continuously.

Overall, the bureaucratic leadership style is more frequently found amongst the mid-level managers than it is with leaders of organizations and companies.

Pros

1. No special treatment

With a more detached relationship-building style, bureaucratic managers will keep the goal of each relationship to be the best possible result that can be achieved.

No friendship or family relationship can distort this leadership model, as this approach doesn’t allow any favoritism or nepotism to be present, which gives the lower-level employees a sense of equality with the higher executives up the chain of command.

2. Rules and duties are never mistaken

Bureaucratic leaders prefer their team members to have clearly defined roles, with one of the main goals of this leadership style being to create siloed experts in all departments who don’t require much assistance or guidance to perform their jobs accordingly.

While in rare cases some more versatile and multi-skilled individuals are required to perform multiple roles for a task, each employee is usually assigned a specific task and given the freedom to focus their whole energy on their strengths, which includes the leader who needs to ensure that all questions are answered by the correct people.

3. Creativity can be highly deployed for specific tasks

We are not going to contradict ourselves by claiming that bureaucratic leadership encourages creativity all of a sudden, but that doesn’t mean that certain individuals under specific circumstances can’t contribute massively to a project through their creative innovation.

In fact, people who tend to thrive under bureaucratic leadership tend to have a college degree, are comfortable working independently, and can use their creative ideas if they improve the workflow.

4. Job stability

The bureaucratic rules and regulations expect the employee to perform great long-term, which reinforces the need and objective to keep teams around in the same roster for a long time.

A style that governs rigid systems isn’t necessarily bad as it secures the employees’ lifestyles they earned through hard work to be enjoyable, with most bureaucratic leaders being centered around service positions and focusing more on the benefits, like vacation time or pension, than salary.

Most Successfull Employee Retantion Strategy
Source: Getthppy

5. Consistent results

When a lucrative system is established within a bureaucratic company, there will be rare occasions for that system to change, which creates an environment of predictability.

The rules are designed to help teams achieve consistent results, and the organization can have confidence in a leader that delivers consistently high performances out of his subordinates.

6. No limitations to expansion

Bureaucratic leadership style allows almost infinite levels of scalability when it comes to a company’s expansion and additions of new departments.

Companies are ensured that they can add a new team to raise the volume of production because they have a proven structure that will function equally as successfully under any department.

When the market demand for more production is there, skill and quality levels will be easy to duplicate.

Cons

1. One uncommitted employee can disrupt the efficiency of the entire chain of command

With the approach relying heavily on everyone’s laser-focused commitment to their specific part of the chain work, one employee who is distracted eyeing the position higher up the scale or isn’t productive enough can slow the whole process down.

Adding to that, leaders tend to stay in their positions until a bigger opportunity presents itself while the employees usually stay focused on a specific skill which can lead to demotivation and urge to pursue something else.

The system of repetitive tasks can lead to the employees developing expertise in a specific task, but this can limit the cross-over opportunities if a shortage of workforce occurs.

2. Rules can slow things down

If a leader continues adding rules upon rules, workers will be forced to slow down and check they are meeting the required standards, which can create significant drops in productivity.

3. System of quotas can create complications

Bureaucratic leaderships are commonly based on a series of quotas, which if not fulfilled are followed by disciplinary action, which can create huge imbalances if one team member is extremely efficient while the other struggles.

Also, when there is a quota set, most workers won’t work beyond that set requirement, which limits the potential for an increase in productivity.

4. The appearance takes priority over reality

For bureaucratic leaders, there tends to be more concern whether their teams and projects look appealing on paper than in reality, and this can cause changes in budget line expenses, project availability, and the types of demographics targeted for consumers.

5. Leaders won’t listen to the advice of anyone

While workers are permitted to use their creativity to meet their quotas, this is not the only problem the bureaucratic leaders create by being dismissive of any advice.

Because of the lack of freedom for the employees to step outside of their job assignments, there can never be a chance for the team to correct course and make changes that the leader doesn’t see by themselves.

Leaders won't listen to the advice of anyone
Source: Hbr.org

What Type of Organizations can benefit from The Bureaucratic Leadership Style?

For a long time, bureaucratic leadership was essential to govern companies, countries, and empires. 

The rigid structures and processes are crucial in certain industries like the food processing industry where certain requirements must be met for safe food handling, packaging, and distribution.

In governments, strict adherence to regulations ensures equal treatment without personal judgment.

If a leader manages an organization expansive enough to practice specialized bureaucracy, the results can maintain a high level of consistency as everyone is a specialist in their field, and the tasks broken down into predefined activities, allow the work to be done in a short time.

Organizations can Benefit from Bureaucratic Leadership Style
Source: Slideshare

Famous Bureaucratic Leadership Examples

Winston Churchill was a former British Prime Minister and a Bureaucratic leader who depended on structures and systems which contributed, along with his determination to follow through with his plans, to the victory over Russians and Nazzis during World War II.

Alfred Sloan was a former CEO of General Motors that emphasized procedures and rules, and even supported creative input if it contributed to the set quotas, and decisions never swayed away from Sloan’s carefully constructed hierarchy.

Steve Easterbrook is the former CEO of McDonald’s that doubled the company’s shared price and saved it from a decline, which can be attributed to him fostering a strong hierarchical model.

Leadership Style Assessment

Through this leadership style assessment, you will have the chance to get to know your leadership style closer as the questions you need to answer here help you understand if you are more authoritative or democratic, strategic or innovative, rigid or flexible, employee-focused or objective-focused, and explain all other key ingredients required in specific leadership types.

1. Are you someone who believes short-term, actionable goals will bring you results and credibility much faster than any grandiose idea?

If yes, then you might be suitable for a transactional leadership role as this style is great for organizations and teams hitting specific goals, according to the maximum capacity of the workforce.

In short, a transactional leader is someone who will set a list of predetermined incentives and hire the people that are best qualified to deliver the company’s objectives, without what’s considered an unproductive waste of time of brainstorming and creating grandiose business expansion strategies for them.

Just as you are ready to reward a worker after a job well done with a monetary prize, you will most likely want to keep the balance in this extrinsic motivation-driven system with disciplinary action to punish failure.

If you want to eliminate the guesswork out of your projects with clearly mapped out tasks, yet you want to provide some mentorship for more project success unlike the pacesetter leadership style, you might just be a transactional leader.

2. Are you the most comfortable with following an already accepted procedure that was deployed by your predecessor?

If you are loyal to your organization and have full trust in the efficiency of the installed daily procedures, and are detail-oriented and motivated enough to oversee that the guidelines are being followed by the employees as precisely as written, you could be a perfect fit for a bureaucratic leader.

As someone working in financial, transportation, healthcare, government, or other highly regulated industries, you could be the person to delegate the fixed duties within a hierarchy through work ethic, strong will, commitment to your organization, and equal expectation of discipline from yourself and your subordinates.

Planning ahead and understanding the impact of the choices you make is one of the essential characteristics of entrepreneurs, which is what a modern-day strategic leader will resemble with result-oriented decision-making based on facts like the bureaucratic leader, but with more forecasting and innovation tendencies.

3. Do you believe in your influence being irreplaceable?

No, because the autocratic leader is someone who believes in their influence as being irreplaceable and crucial to drive the company forward, while a bureaucratic leader might have less sense of self-importance and more company loyalty.

A transformational leader is first the student, and then the teacher, as their approach depends on getting to know the company’s organizational structure and the employees within different departments.

After getting familiar with the set systems, they can set a clear strategy to improve any weaknesses and intellectually challenge each team so that they align with the bigger vision at equal contribution.

Just like the coaching leaders, they will encourage the individuals to challenge themselves, but they won’t focus too much time on each employee as this diverts from the big-picture goal.

Instead, a transformational leader will boost each department’s morale through encouragement and personal connection while finding ways to improve each team, and also empowering individuals to push their own limits.

5. Are you dedicated enough to assess each of your employee’s strengths, weaknesses, and motivations?

If you are willing to bring out the best out of each individual on the team by dedicating time to analyze each member’s strengths, weaknesses, and motivations after which you will guide them through achieving smart goals with regular feedback, a coaching leader role might be the one for you.

A coaching leader will find the balance between conveying knowledge and helping the employees find it themselves, ask guided questions to bring the employee to a conclusion, and proactively examine the learning process and the progress made through a continuous feedback loop.

Like the transformational leadership structure, a coaching leader will empower free-thinking and foster a confident team atmosphere, but also they will dedicate equal time assessing each employee’s skills and developing strategies to magnify each of the employee’s qualities.

As far as leadership style assessment tools go, there are a few equally as important questions like the one of addressing your employees’ strengths and weaknesses, which will help you as much in evaluating what kind of leadership style in management will give you the best results every day.

6. Do you view yourself as having absolute power over your employees and value your ideas more than anyone else’s?

If you believe that the organization you manage will achieve best results with you acting as sort of a military commander, you might be the perfect candidate for an autocratic leader.

Especially suitable for compliance-heavy industries, autocratic leaders value and believe in the efficiency of highly-structured environments, with the style naturally accommodating the organizations where certain employees lack the experience and require close supervision from the leader to learn the skills necessary to accomplish the set objectives.

Do you want to dictate on not only what, but how things need to be done?

If yes, then your self-confidence, dislike for opposing opinions of your employees, loyalty to a predefined structure, and concise communication make you the optimal choice for an autocratic leader.

7. Can you place your full trust in the employees making the decisions?

The “hands-off” approach to leadership is the Laissez-Faire leadership style, through which the leader provides their employees with the tools and resources to handle each task with no micromanagement.

If you are a manager looking for the right approach to your highly-experienced, and expertly-trained team, while finding the time to focus on other areas of your organization, the Laissez-Faire leadership method might be what you are looking for.

If you are only really involved in the beginning and end part of the project development process, or you have complete trust in letting your employees make the decisions, you will be able to facilitate an autonomous work environment and foster leadership qualities in your team as a Laissez-Faire leader.

8. Does your leadership style land somewhere in between complete control and operating completely hands-off?

If this is the case, you might want to consider democratic leadership style  (also called “participative leadership”), which is a middle point in the spectrum between the autocratic and the laissez-faire leadership styles.

If you are a type of manager who likes to have a basic organizational structure so that it is clear who the leader is, but you actively seek to involve your teams in contributing with their ideas and then discussing the value of each suggestion, you might be suited for the role of a democratic leader.

Regardless of the leadership style you choose eventually, developing the skill of empowering your employees to present their ideas is among the most important leadership qualities, and it makes the leader and the whole team much stronger.

Perhaps you find yourself empowering your employees to get involved in the decision-making process, being open about your objectives fully with your team, getting the best ideas by encouraging discussion, and being a mediator with a keen eye for finding ways the different individuals’ ideas complement each other.

All these qualities can make a solid foundation for you developing into a great democratic leader, which is a leadership style attributed to facilitating high levels of employee engagement and job satisfaction.

9. Are you known for magnetism and persuasiveness?

If you have the magnetic ability to grab the attention of an entire team with conviction, perhaps incorporating an unorthodox or animated presentation style, you could be a good candidate for a charismatic leader.

Combining eloquence, storytelling mastery, optimism, confidence, and a little humor, charismatic leaders are the strongest when they can convince their employees that they can have the confidence in themselves and their ideas like they convey.

Charismatic leaders will often improvise when presenting a predefined idea and challenge any issues an employee might see in themselves or the plan at hand, encouraging their employees to find alternative paths to finding solutions for a united cause.

If you are persistent and bold enough to present your ideas with full confidence, while acquiring energy from your employees and being ready to address any potential issues in the strategy with enthusiasm, you might be suited for being a charismatic leader.

10. Do you have a vision bigger than any obstacle and are you ready to be the face of that vision?

The source of what makes people follow the leader is where the difference lies between these two types, as the charismatic leader attracts an audience with their personality and uses their influence to try and sell an idea.

On the other hand, a visionary leader gathers their audience through their vision, but these two leadership styles are often combined due to their similarities.

Leaders who can sell a vision to a crowd and make themselves the face of that vision are merging the two styles and operating as a charismatic visionary.

If you are in charge of a small, fast growing organization, or a larger organization that is in the middle of corporate restructuring, and you are strategic yet risk-taking, innovative, enthusiastic, and persistent in the message of your vision, you could be a visionary leader.

11. Do you nurture a people-first mindset and care about your employees’ lives personally and professionally?

Servant leaders operate in belief that their employees perform the best when they are satisfied personally and professionally.

If you are fully committed to doing whatever it takes to grow your team’s expertise and increase success, encourage collaboration and engagement in an attentive and stimulating manner, and you personally care about your team with patience for their growth, you are a servant leader waiting to happen.

Best Leadership Style Books You Should Read

Among the best business books for managers and entrepreneurs to read in 2021, we have selected a couple of the most influential, informative, and innovative pieces of literature on business strategy, entrepreneurship, productivity, company improvement, and profitability a leader can read and learn from to implement the knowledge for the team’s gain.

1. On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis

On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis is one of the most popular and highly-praised books for anyone who wants to learn how to become a better leader.

It is made clear in the book that the foundation for mastering an individual’s leadership skills lies in their personal development.

Bennis explains that all situations that require expert leadership have a context that influences the final decision, elaborating on how a leader can focus on the big picture instead of the current circumstances to arrive at the right decision.

Bennis uses the story of Norman Lear, who is a leader in television production who revolutionized sitcoms in the 60s.

Lear took the opportunity to explore topics that broke new grounds instead of staying with the status quo by having faith in his vision and confidence to experiment with the new ideas.

With the desire to apply innovative strategies and make improvements in his industry, Lear was a prime example of an effective transformational leader, which is clearly outlined in Bennis’s book.

The depth of knowledge and the practicality of real-life examples in books such as this one is hard to match for any regurgitated information or your mediocre leadership style questionnaire.

2. Wooden on Leadership by John Wooden & Steve Jamison

Wooden on Leadership by John Wooden and Steve Jamison is focused on the former UCLA basketball coach’s 12 Lessons in Leadership and the acclaimed Pyramid of Success.

In this book, John Wooden, along with his friend and longtime associate Steve Jamison, put the years of his experience, expert insights, and strategy advice on leadership he acquired through the most prolific college basketball coaching career the sport has ever seen on to paper for any sport enthusiasts, managers, strategists, and regular people looking to master their life.

Winning 10 NCAA national championships and being proclaimed “the coach of the century” by ESPN proved his credibility and mastery, but it is his approach that made him one of the most beloved coaches in the history of basketball among the fans and players.

As someone who believed in balance and principles before anything, John wasn’t fond of the celebrity status he garnered and cared only about sharing the knowledge of the mental, emotional, and physical qualities needed in an effective leader through his book.

He believed that a person without principles is a dead man, an individual without ethics is nothing and a man/woman without ambition is mediocre, and he viewed success as a tricky process of drastic inner reform that only a small percentage of the population is capable of.

He emphasized the balance between the spirit, body, mind, and heart both in basketball and off the court, and taught his players that success is only a byproduct once an individual is willing to accept this mentality completely.

His approach of strenuous effort to develop this self-mastery attitude as the foundation of prosperity and happiness, along with analyzing the game with meticulous detail never before seen, made him one of the most brilliant minds not just in basketball, but in leadership and self-improvement as well.

Wooden’s approach was the ideal example of a coaching leader who took the necessary time to examine each of his team member’s strengths and weaknesses without judgment and developed strategies through trial and error that would minimize these weaknesses and maximize the players’ potentials.

While taking interest in his team members’ overall well being and balance on and off the court does overlap with the situational leadership model, his coaching prowess came with the relentless strive towards setting challenging tasks for everyone yet maintaining a positive atmosphere by prioritizing hard work and discipline over wins and losses.

3. Primal Leadership by Daniel Goleman

Primal Leadership by Daniel Goleman is often described as the original book on emotional intelligence that was written to demonstrate the classic lessons on dealing with people through empathy and understanding.

A must-read for anyone who aspires to become a great leader, Primal Leadership describes what managers and executives need to do to develop high emotional intelligence, going incredibly deep into the neuroscience of influence and impact of leaders.

Goleman describes the techniques the leaders can use to articulate messages that resonate with their followers’ emotional reality and sense of purpose.

Utilizing the relationship between the emotions, the attention, and the cognition that is involved when making decisions under stress, Primal Leadership describes how a leader must act to guide their team towards getting the work done without the emotions getting the best of them.

What Goleman describes in a leader building “that reservoir of positivity that unleashes the best in people” are the capabilities by a leader to resonate with their followers by speaking authentically, enthusiastically, and confidently towards achieving a positive goal.

By utilizing the contagious nature of emotions, a leader can spread positivity and instill predisposition in their employees towards achieving a united goal.

The part where Goleman describes a leader finding their authentic message to deliver to people aligns with the principles of the purpose-driven leadership methodology, while the overall approach best resembles a charismatic or a visionary leader instilling the motivation and commitment into their employees to actualize the potential they envisioned.

4. Lincoln on Leadership by Donald T. Phillips

Lincoln on Leadership by Donald T. Phillips  is a powerful book that explains some of the former president Abraham Lincoln’s most potent leadership qualities and how you can apply them in a modern environment.

Phillips explained the emphasis Lincoln placed on good temper, pleasant demeanor, and willingness to get out of the office and get to know his subordinates.

Being compassionate, forgiving, caring, while unafraid to do the things he delegated to his troops and subordinates,  Lincoln lived by his example as a member of his community, who was always approachable and eager to listen to feedback or criticism on his leadership.

Phillips explains how Lincoln built strong alliances by persuading instead of coercing, making consent a priority when leading others, which in return gained him a following and trust of his people hardly ever after seen.

Lincoln encouraged innovation and risk-taking, valuing his subordinate’s efforts even when they failed while delegating clear goals and creating a sense of urgency for them to be achieved, all while he asked for acceptance from his subordinates for his goals.. 

Lincoln mastered the art of public speaking like a charismatic leader, was precise in his objectives and had a strong hand as an autocratic leader, was open to feedback and unafraid to be led by his subordinates like a democratic leader, was honest and transparent as a purpose-driven leader.

In many ways, Lincoln balanced multiple leadership styles as efficiently and creatively as any leader ever has, which is why he serves as a perfect example for Phillips to convey the genius of his leadership so that anyone can understand.

Leadership Style FAQ

Why are leadership styles important?

When you identify the leadership style that suits you the best, you will be able to understand your strengths and weaknesses on a deeper level.

When you choose a leadership style, you have significantly higher chances of increasing your management success and the success of the employees you are guiding.

The first thing knowing your leadership style achieves is it allows you to maintain higher-quality communication with your employees, and communication is the foundation of any organization’s success.

Then, you will be the inspiration to your employees to meet their goals and the needs of the company, as you will have a clear structure that will eliminate any confusion about the way you should go about things.

Also, you will be able to embrace and handle challenges that occur, as understanding the leadership style that you use will help you see how you currently deal with challenges, and what modifications you will need to improve your approach.

What is new leadership?

As opposed to the traditional leadership theory, which advocates one person in the sole position of authority through whom all decisions are made without any input from the employees, new leadership theory is a concept focused on the employees and subordinates having more influence in the decision-making processes of a company.

The two primary representatives of the new leadership model are the transformational and charismatic leadership styles.

The transformational leadership style encourages interactions between a manager and subordinates who are invited to suggest changes that could help improve the processes within the organization.

Charismatic leadership centers around managers who have the charisma, persuasiveness, and an exuberant attitude through which they can influence others behaviors.

The charismatic leadership method advocates the leader influencing the employees through enthusiasm and a positive atmosphere instead of using their position of power.

What leadership style do most leaders currently use?

In today’s world, you will find confident leaders who will map the way and set expectations for their higher vision while engaging and invigorating their employees and followers to march along.

These are visionary leaders who eliminate any confusion of where the organization is heading and what the followers can expect when they get there, explaining everything with patience yet giving people the freedom to choose how they can achieve common goals.

Another popular style of leadership is the democratic style, through which the managers share information with their employees about any factors that affect their work responsibilities.

The team spirit is raised, cooperation more prevalent, and creativity is welcomed, which is a part of the democratic leadership’s benefits and other styles that consider the employees’ input in decision-making.

However, for better or worse, the most prevalent leadership style to this day is the autocratic leadership style which enables the managers to make all decisions with little to no input from the employees.

This leadership style has its occasions to be used, like when crucial decisions need to be made at the spot, a leader is dealing with an inexperienced team that requires constant guidance, or when high regulations and strict measures are a must within a certain industry.

What leadership style is most effective with millennials?

Millennials are known for absorbing knowledge much faster than any generation before, being highly tech-savvy, and being willing to learn new skills.

Considering all this, along with being collaborative and eager to work within a team, millennials would benefit from the democratic (participative) leadership style.

As they focus a lot on the social influence aspect of work and uniting with high levels of group participation, it makes them perfect for the democratic leadership model.

Communicating frequently and openly with their peers and managers, millennials will be able to express their thoughts freely, share their knowledge, and exchange feedback easily under the democratic leadership model.

With millennials, personal and professional development are priorities, which is why they will require continuous opportunities to evolve within a company and individualized support, making them well suited for more employee-focused leadership styles such as coaching, servant, or laissez-faire leadership style.

How hard is it to change my leadership style?

A leader wanting to change their leadership style can be a good sign of their maturity and willingness to accept responsibility for poor performance.

That being said, a change of leadership styles can be demanding on the leader and bring an extra burden on the employees during the habituation phase.

Moving fluidly between styles while achieving project objectives requires a lot of flexibility and emotional intelligence, as the leader is required to provide an example for employees while themselves being outside of their comfort zones.

Changing leadership styles will often mean that you will have to dose your involvement, as the time that you can spend with individual employees changes as your team size increases.

This will sometimes force the leader to choose between adhering to an individual’s needs and ensuring that the management achieves results.

Regardless of possible setbacks, a change in leadership style can be the opportunity for the whole team to grow along with the leader.

What is the best leadership style?

The democratic leadership style allows a company to benefit from individualistic creativity while involving more than one individual in the decision-making process to garner multiple perspectives and come to a more accurate evaluation.

The transactional leadership style focuses on group organization and a distinct chain of command, which clarifies what is exactly expected out of employees and conveys how the employees can meet such expectations, rewarding them for their success.

The democratic leadership style is a great choice for more creative environments, while the transactional leadership style suits the highly regulated organizations more.

However, our pick for the overall best leadership style is the transformational leadership style that lets the leaders motivate their employees through effective communication and collaboration, with challenging goals being set for each employee and guidance provided on the path to success.

Ready to Be A More Effective Leader?

You may have come out of this article realizing that you have pressured yourself with the business norms of achieving great financial success in the shortest amount of time while failing to see that your company has a statement to make, your organization can give the voice to the cause within your community, making the success inevitable once you adopt the purpose-driven leadership role.

Or, maybe, you have focused too much attention on developing long-term goals that you overlooked a certain group of individuals who are inexperienced within your organization, so they need more surveillance and well-defined guidelines favorable for an autocratic leader.

If you do want to maintain a clear hierarchy, but you are meticulous about the details of everyday operations and want to have a plan B for everything, you could be an exemplary strategic leader.

Wherever on the spectrum between total control and total autonomy you might fall naturally as a leader, it is important to consider what your organization needs first, and then decide if you are the right person for the job.

When you have a passionate person who aligns with the company’s environment yet isn’t afraid to make the necessary changes and has the chemistry and influence to transmit to your team to make changes, you will easily identify your leadership style.

Written by
Anastasia Belyh
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