Discover Your Leadership Style: A Comprehensive Guide to the 8 Most Common Leadership Styles

By Drew Moffitt

Have you ever wondered what makes a great leader? Identifying and developing your leadership style is crucial for success, both personally and professionally. In this blog post, we will explore the various leadership styles and provide guidance on how to discover and refine your own unique approach to leadership.

Short summary

  • Explore the 8 most common leadership styles, their strengths and weaknesses to better understand your own style.
  • Develop emotional intelligence and situational leadership principles to balance different styles for success.
  • Invest in continuous learning, mentorship/coaching, & draw inspiration from role models to refine your skillset.

Exploring the 8 most common leadership styles


Leadership styles heavily impact the organizational culture and overall success of a business. There are eight primary leadership styles that are most commonly observed, each with its own set of strengths and weaknesses.

By exploring these styles, you can better understand your own leadership style and learn how to adapt it to the needs of your team and the situations you face.

Transformational leadership

Transformational leadership is all about inspiring and motivating employees to achieve their full potential and align with the organization’s goals. This leadership style fosters a healthy team dynamic and encourages personal and professional growth among team members. However, it’s important to balance this approach with other leadership styles to avoid employee burnout.

Some of the key qualities of transformational leaders include the ability to create a grand vision, communicate that vision effectively, and inspire employees to work towards it. This style, known as transformational leadership, has been known to stimulate creativity and innovation, leading to increased profitability and efficiency for businesses.

Autocratic leadership

Autocratic leadership, also known as authoritarian leadership, involves making decisions without input from others, which can be effective in urgent situations but may cause resentment and stifle creativity. Autocratic leaders are known for their decisiveness, self-confidence, and strong dedication to the goal at hand. This autocratic leadership style can be both beneficial and detrimental, depending on the situation and the team dynamics.

While this leadership style can foster productivity and minimize employee stress by swiftly making decisions independently, it’s crucial to recognize the potential drawbacks of autocratic leadership, such as heightened levels of stress for the leader and team dissatisfaction.

This style may be most effective in emergency or disorganized scenarios that necessitate someone to control the team and make a timely and successful decision.

Democratic leadership

Democratic leadership, often demonstrated by a democratic leader, encourages the democratic leadership style, which includes:

  • Collaboration and input from team members
  • Increased engagement and satisfaction
  • Curiosity and openness to input
  • A participative environment
  • Effective communication and accessibility

While this leadership style can be highly beneficial in promoting a sense of empowerment, value, and unity among employees, it has the potential to be inefficient and costly due to the time allocated for group discussions, obtaining ideas and feedback, and communicating decisions. However, when implemented effectively, democratic leadership can boost employee satisfaction and foster creativity.

Laissez-faire leadership

Laissez-faire leadership empowers employees to work independently and make decisions, which can foster creativity and accountability. This style of leadership, often exhibited by laissez faire leaders, is characterized by minimal intervention, granting employees a high degree of autonomy in their roles.

The laissez-faire leadership style promotes accountability, creativity, and a relaxed work atmosphere, which often results in increased employee retention rates. However, it is generally not effective for onboarding new employees, as they require direction and assistance to familiarize themselves with the role. This style may be most advantageous when the team consists of highly experienced and well-trained members who require minimal supervision.

Coaching leadership

Coaching leadership focuses on:

  • Developing employees’ skills and talents through guidance and feedback
  • Promoting growth and improvement
  • Fostering a positive company culture
  • Providing valuable mentorship for employees

This leadership style can be advantageous in promoting employee development and creating a supportive work environment.

However, coaching leadership can be challenging to implement in a fast-paced environment, as allocating individualized time with employees may be difficult. Despite this challenge, investing in coaching leadership can lead to long-term benefits for both the employees and the organization as a whole.

Bureaucratic leadership

Bureaucratic leadership adheres to strict rules and hierarchy, which can be efficient in regulated industries but may limit innovation and adaptability. This leadership style is most suitable for larger, established, or traditional companies that are successful in their current operations.

While bureaucratic leadership can provide job security, predictability, and potential for creativity to certain employees, it is important to recognize its limitations in fostering a dynamic and adaptive work environment. Balancing bureaucratic leadership with other styles that promote flexibility and innovation can lead to a more effective leadership approach overall.

Visionary leadership

Visionary leadership:

  • Inspires change and growth through a compelling vision
  • May overlook important details
  • Requires support from detail-oriented team members
  • Drives progress and change through inspiring employees
  • Earns trust for new ideas

The advantages of visionary leadership include aiding companies in their growth, uniting teams, and modernizing outdated technologies or practices. However, visionary leaders may be less adept at handling details and processes, and may inadvertently manipulate others. To overcome these challenges, visionary leaders should collaborate with team members who excel in detail-oriented tasks and decision-making.

Servant leadership


Servant leadership prioritizes the needs of employees and customers, fostering a supportive and collaborative environment. Servant leaders possess the ability to:

  • Increase employee loyalty and efficiency
  • Advance employee development and decision-making
  • Foster trust
  • Develop future leaders

However, servant leaders must be aware of their own requirements and implement self-care to prevent exhaustion. Balancing servant leadership with other styles that promote self-care and well-being can lead to a more effective and sustainable leadership approach.

Identifying your personal leadership style

Understanding your personal leadership style is essential for maximizing your effectiveness as a leader. In this section, we’ll discuss the importance of identifying your personal leadership style and provide guidance on how to do so. Self-assessment, seeking feedback, and adapting your approach as needed are all important steps in this process.

By taking the time to understand your own leadership style.


Self-assessment is a critical aspect of discovering your leadership style, as it helps you understand your values, strengths, and weaknesses, and how they influence your leadership style. By reflecting on your actions, behaviors, and achievements, you can identify areas for growth and development, set realistic goals, and create strategies for achieving them.

Self-assessment can help you become a better leader by providing insight into your own strengths. Here is a helpful tool for doing this assessment.

Seeking feedback

Seeking feedback from colleagues and mentors can provide valuable insights into your leadership effectiveness and areas for improvement. By maintaining an open-minded attitude and being precise in your feedback requests, you can obtain constructive criticism, guidance, and perspectives that will help you hone your leadership style and overcome challenges.

These insights can help you identify areas of strength and weakness, and provide you with the opportunity to do so.

Adapting and evolving

Adapting and evolving your leadership style is crucial for success, as it allows you to respond effectively to different situations and team dynamics. Being amenable to novel concepts, flexible in your methodology, and ready to modify your style to suit the requirements of the situation is essential for becoming a successful leader.

Leadership is a skill that can be developed and honed over time. It requires a willingness to work.

Balancing different leadership styles for success


To be an effective leader, it’s important to balance different leadership styles to best suit the needs of your team and the situations you face. In this section, we will explore how developing emotional intelligence and applying situational leadership principles can help you balance different leadership styles for success.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and manage your own emotions, as well as the ability to manage your own emotions.

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence enables leaders to:

  • Understand and manage their own emotions
  • Understand and manage the emotions of their team members
  • Improve communication and decision-making
  • Become more empathetic and insightful leaders
  • Better respond to the needs of their team and the challenges they face

By developing your emotional intelligence, you can become a more effective leader.

Leaders with strong emotional intelligence are better able to recognize and respond to the emotions of their peers.

Situational leadership


Situational leadership involves adapting your leadership style to the specific needs of the situation and the individuals involved, ensuring the best possible outcomes. By evaluating the circumstances and the people involved, and then adjusting your leadership style accordingly, you can become a more effective and adaptable leader.

Capable of navigating a variety of situations with ease, situational leadership is an invaluable tool for any leader.

Developing your leadership skills

Developing your leadership skills is an ongoing process that requires continuous learning, mentorship and coaching, and drawing inspiration from role models.

In this section, we will discuss the importance of these elements in refining your leadership style and becoming the best leader you can be.

Continuous learning


Continuous learning helps leaders stay up-to-date with industry trends, best practices, and new approaches to leadership. By attending workshops, seminars, and conferences, reading books and articles, and engaging in online courses, you can expand your skill set and stay competitive in the ever-evolving workplace and marketplace.

Developing a continuous learning plan is essential for leaders who want to stay ahead of the curve.

Mentorship and coaching


Mentorship and coaching provide guidance and support from experienced leaders, helping you refine your coaching leadership style and overcome challenges. Through mentorship and coaching, you can gain valuable insights and lessons from others who have faced similar obstacles and succeeded, allowing you to grow as a leader and achieve your own goals.

Mentorship and coaching can help you develop the skills and knowledge necessary to become a successful leader.

Role models and inspiration

Role models and inspiration can be found in successful leaders from various industries, providing valuable insights and lessons to apply in your own leadership journey. By studying the qualities and achievements of these leaders, you can draw inspiration and motivation to develop your own unique leadership style and approach.

These leaders can serve as a source of guidance and advice, helping you to identify and develop the skills you need.


In conclusion, understanding and developing your leadership style is essential for personal and professional success. By exploring different leadership styles, identifying your personal style through self-assessment and feedback, and continuously learning and adapting, you can become a more effective and inspiring leader. Remember, great leaders are not born; they are made through dedication, persistence, and the willingness to grow.

Frequently asked questions

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Drew Moffitt

Drew leads marketing at Kumospace. Prior to joining Kumospace, he spent his career founding and operating businesses. His work has been featured in over 50 publications. Outside of work, Drew is an avid skier and sailor. A wholehearted extrovert, he organizes VentureSails, a series of networking events for founders and tech investors.

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