I sure have come across some different leadership styles in my career! Some more effective than others, whether that’s how I felt being led in a certain way or in the results they were delivering with their style. I do think that most of the best leaders have a blend of styles and are adaptable – being able to mix and match depending on the situation or the audience is a talent. Having a mixture of leadership styles is a good way to bring out the best in a diverse and varied team of people. 

There are probably 8 identified leadership styles which are displayed most often – which one are you most like? Or are you a mix of a few? 

Transactional leader 

‘I will give X to you in return I expect this Y you’ 

A transactional leader is someone who values order and structure. They will be focussed on short-term goals, have policies and procedures in place to follow, keen to develop a culture of efficiency but may be likely to be opposed to change. 

Transactional leaders are clear and direct but may, in turn, stifle possible innovation or new ideas in their teams. 

Transformational leader 

Works closely with teams to inspire decisions to be made, keen for team members to be innovative through collaboration. Works hard to develop a culture of shared goals, they have a genuine interest and concern for others and their input into company visions and plans.  

May be seen as ‘soft’ to some but gains a good following by inspiring others.  

Servant leader 

These leaders would never ask someone to do something that they wouldn’t do themselves. Believing very much that ‘leaders eat last’. 

They develop a high level of trust and a positive culture by prioritising the needs of others. Putting those in their teams first every time, to ensure an inclusive team ethos. 

Be careful that you don’t miss out on your own to do list while taking care of others, this style may not be sustainable for long periods of time without becoming increasingly pressurised. 

Democratic leader 

These types of leaders encourage and value the input of others when working towards making decisions. They use a collaborative approach and actively work to bring about new ideas from the wider group and develop creative minds who are comfortable inputting in groups. 

Once all ideas are collated, the democratic leader formulates the plan and delivers it to the team who feel engaged and included. However, getting everyone to agree to something, every single time a decision needs to be made, could get tricky! 

Autocratic leader 

Here we would see and hear an ‘it’s my way or the highway’ leadership style. The leader makes the decisions and the team must agree with them. Power over all decisions lies with the leader.  

This way decisions are made quickly, strategically and effectively with no grey areas. Just be mindful, that your team may feel ignored, restricted and potentially undervalued. 

Bureaucratic leader 

This leader is led by his/her job title. The ‘Manager manages’ and therefore must be in control of things and have very clear rules, defined systems and workable plans in place for everything.  

This approach does leave little room for innovation or ideas coming from collaboration, but it would show off a stable, well planned and consistent culture in the business.  

Hands off leader 

These leaders will spend quality time giving out the tools and resources for a task to be done – and then allow team members to get on with the job. 

This will instil a trusting and independent culture in the team, it will certainly develop self-motivation amongst colleagues too. Keep an eye on it to ensure it hasn’t become disjointed or chaotic – which may make team members feel uneasy.  

Charismatic leader 

A persuasive and inspiring leader who is excellent at communicating with their team. Shows genuine excitement for ideas and appears very driven in wanting to execute the ideas to the very best of their capabilities. Their personality is often very engaging, and they have many followers.  

These leaders certainly have an invested and trusting team who are full of confidence – just be very conscious not to focus on the wrong things instead of the key issues which need addressing or to jump from one thing to another too much. It may end up being less productive and more confusing.