11 Common Leadership Styles and Which One Will Be Right Fit for You

leadership styles

We all have idols that we admire, whether they’re at workplace, politics or business. What makes them so unique is their leadership qualities, which attracts us towards them. Their leadership style makes us wish we could replicate it and their resolve shows us how to deal with tough situations. Whether you are a leader or in line to become one, then you should be aware of different leadership styles great leaders follow.

In this article, you will learn about eleven types of leadership styles and how each one differs from one another.

Top 10 Leadership Styles Followed by Great Leaders

Here are ten different types of leadership styles that best leaders adopt.

1. Coaching Style Leadership

Although, there is a huge debate around whether to consider coaching style leadership as a leadership style or not but the fact it is that it is one of the most effective leadership styles out there. In this leadership style, a leader must play the role of a teacher and a coach. Leaders following this leadership style focus on nurturing the strengths of every team member and develop strategies that help their teamwork cohesively. Moreover, such leaders might also encourage team members to expand their skill set by learning new skills.

Modern organizations follow this leadership style, which delivers a host of benefits such as:

  • Boost employee motivation
  • Higher productivity and efficiency
  • Improve skills
  • Employee grooming

2. Visionary Leadership

Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.”—Jack Welch

What makes leaders stand out from others is their vision. The ability to visualize the future today and adapt accordingly to help them stay ahead of the curve. Moreover, they are great at strategic planning and knows how to turn their vision into reality. Visionary leaders tend to communicate their vision to their followers and show passion and commitment, which inspires others to buy into that vision. Such leaders are never afraid of pushing unique creative ideas and like to take calculated risks. This type of leadership style works great for small and rapidly growing organizations or in a large scale enterprise that is going through a digital transformation.

3. Servant Leadership

Ken Blanchard, an author and management expert, defines servant leadership as, “Servant-leadership is all about making the goals clear and then rolling your sleeves up and doing whatever it takes to help people win. In that situation, they don’t work for you, you work for them.”

With a people-first mentality, servant leaders believe that their subordinates will deliver exceptional results when they feel personally and professionally fulfilled. Most popular in nonprofit organizations, servant leadership style can help you boost employee morale, team collaboration and keeping employees engaged at work.

4. Autocratic Leadership

Leaders who follow this leadership style act more like military commanders and believe in results and numbers only. Autocratic leaders don’t like to take feedback from others and make decisions on their own. This leadership style can come in handy in organizations that have strict guidelines and compliance restrictions in place.

Here are some of the pros and cons of autocratic leadership:


  • Fast decision making
  • A clear chain of command


  • Lack of input from other stakeholders
  • Low employee morale
  • Discourages out of the box thinking.

5. Laissez-faire or hands-off Leadership

A leader is best when people barely know he exists…when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will all say: We did it ourselves.”—Lao Tzu

Laissez-Faire is a French word that translates into “Let them do” As the translation suggests, it is one of the less intrusive types of leadership. Leaders look to empower their employees by delegating tasks and in some cases, transfer authority to their subordinates. This leadership style can be adopted when all team members are highly skilled and experienced and do not require supervision. If implemented in a wrong setup, it can decrease productivity, create confusions and can also hamper the company’s growth.

6. Democratic Leadership

Democratic leadership style strikes a perfect balance between the autocratic leadership style and the hands-off leadership style. Instead of going to both extremes, it finds a middle ground. A democratic leader takes input from all stakeholders, analyze their feedback before making any decision. This sends a positive message to subordinates that their voices are heard hence, increase employee satisfaction and enhances employee engagement. This type of leadership style is ideal for the tech industry where creativity and innovation are required.

7. Pacesetter Leadership

If you are in a fast-paced industry where everything moves quickly then pacesetter leadership style is a great choice. Such leaders focus on performance so they can drive fast results. For this, they also hold their team accountable for their actions and usually set the bar high. You can use this leadership style in management if your team members are energized and can thrive in a fast-paced environment. On the contrary, if your team members require supervision, feedback and guidance then you should look elsewhere.

8. Transformational Leadership

Just like the coaching style of leadership, transformational leadership still also relies heavily on setting goals, clear communications and employee motivation. Unlike coaching leadership style, the transactional leadership style doesn’t solely focus on building the strengths of individuals but puts more emphasis on the company’s objectives. This type of leadership style works best for teams capable of handling multiple delegated tasks without requiring much supervision.

9. Transactional Leadership

Transactional leadership style takes its cues from other leadership theories such as management leadership theories. It is like a pacesetter leadership style in a way that both focuses on performance. Good performing employees are rewarded and underperforming employees are penalized.Employees who perform well are rewarded and employees that underperform get penalized. What distinguishes transactional leadership from pacesetter leadership style is that transactional leadership believes in training its employees, offer them mentorship and instruction required to achieve the goal.

10. Bureaucratic Leadership

Just like autocratic leadership, followers are expected to religiously follow the rules in an environment governed by a bureaucratic leader. Job roles and responsibilities of every team member are clearly defined so there is little to no need for collaboration. This leadership style is a right fit for companies that operate in a highly regulated environment such as healthcare, finance or governmental organizations.

11. Strategic Leadership

Strategic leadership is all about influencing others and take steps and decisions that can pave the way for the company’s long-term success. A leader going the strategic leadership route will communicate his or her strategic vision and assist them in pursuing that vision by using the right tools and implementing the right strategies. This leadership style is best suited for teams that are capable of handling unforeseen situations and consists of skilled and well-trained team members.

Which leadership style do you follow? Let us know in the comments section below.