Productivity Hacks

10 Common Leadership Styles

The way that you lead your team can have a big impact on the success of your business. There are many different leadership styles out there, but they all fall into one of 10 categories. In this article, I'll go over each category in more detail and explain its advantages and disadvantages so that you can find the style that works best for you!

10 Most Common Leadership Styles

  1. Democratic Leadership
  2. Autocratic Leadership
  3. Coaching Leadership
  4. Pacesetting Leadership
  5. Visionary Leadership
  6. Strategic Leadership
  7. Laissez-Faire Leadership
  8. Bureaucratic Leadership
  9. Situational Leadership
  10. Transformational Leadership

1. Democratic Leadership

Democratic leadership is a style of leadership that is based on the idea that everyone should have a say in what is going on. This can be a great way for leaders to motivate their teams because it gives them more ownership over the decisions made in their workplace.

The benefits of democratic leadership are clear—it creates transparency between management and staff, making it easy for workers to understand why they’re working towards certain goals, how they will be measured against those goals, and what kind of rewards come with reaching those milestones. Democratic leaders also tend to be skilled at building consensus among people who have different points-of-view; this helps ensure that all employees feel heard and valued by management.

The drawbacks of democratic leadership may include feelings of frustration or resentment when employees disagree with decisions made by management; if you find yourself getting into arguments with your team too often try switching up your tactics!

2. Autocratic Leadership

When a team needs quick decision making, the autocratic leadership style is typically used. This style allows for quick and decisive action, because there are no checks or balances in place to slow things down.

A leader who uses this style is accountable only to themselves—they make all the decisions and have sole authority over what happens next. If something goes wrong, it's their fault; but if something goes well, then they can take full credit for that too.

One thing you should know about this type of leadership: It's not for everyone!

3. Coaching Leadership

Coaching is a process where a leader provides feedback to help an employee improve their performance. It’s important for leaders to have the ability to coach their direct reports, as it helps them learn from their mistakes and develop new skills.

The best leaders are those who can provide constructive criticism without being destructive or demotivating. Coaching can be done in a variety of ways: one on one meetings, group discussions and even formal training programs that focus on helping teams learn how they can achieve better results together.

4. Pacesetting Leadership

Pacesetting leaders set goals and expectations for their team. They provide direction by setting the tone of the entire organization, motivating people to achieve what needs to be done, and ensuring that everyone is comfortable with their roles within the company.

Pacesetting leaders also make sure that each member of their team is on track toward achieving his or her personal goals and objectives by making them accountable for those goals. This leader believes that this type of pressure will ultimately lead to better results from employees who embrace it as motivation rather than resist it as pressure.

Pacesetting leadership styles can be very effective if there is an appropriate balance between pushing people too hard (and possibly creating resentment) versus not pushing people hard enough (and possibly leading them into complacency).

5. Visionary Leadership

Visionary leadership is about inspiring others to achieve the vision of the future. It's about setting goals and getting people to buy into them. It's also about having a clear vision, communicating it clearly, and making it real.

The first step in visionary leadership is developing a plan for how you want your organization or team to grow over time. This can be anything from creating an annual operating plan (AOP) for your business that outlines its strategy for the next year all the way up through five years' worth of AOPs that outline how you're going to grow your company into something much bigger than it was before. The next step is getting everyone on board with these plans—whether they're employees who need convincing or stakeholders who will also help make sure your company succeeds as much as possible along every step of its journey towards this goal-focused future state (also known as "the destination").

6. Strategic Leadership

Strategic leadership focuses on the big picture. It has a strong focus on long-term goals and aims to achieve the vision of an organization. The leader is able to look at things from a higher level, seeing what needs to be done to get there. Strategic leaders typically have high levels of emotional intelligence, which allows them to stay focused on their vision despite distractions or other challenges that may arise along the way.

The ability of strategic leadership can also be seen in how well it aligns with other styles such as democratic leadership or transformational leadership (see below). The most effective teams will possess all three styles within their ranks at some point during their development process—but they each serve distinct purposes within this team dynamic.

7. Laissez-Faire Leadership

Laissez-faire leadership is a style of management that involves letting your employees make decisions on their own. You don’t have to micromanage everything they do and can trust them to get the job done without having to check in on them constantly. Some people find this style of management very liberating and stress-free, as it allows them to focus more on other areas of their life outside of work.

However, there are also some drawbacks. Because your staff members aren’t being monitored as closely by you as they might be if you were more hands-on, it could result in mistakes being made or things not getting done in a timely manner because nobody was keeping track of deadlines or making sure things got finished before moving onto other tasks (this happens often with things like employee benefits). If you're someone who likes having complete control over everything going on around them at all times, laissez-faire leadership may not be for you!

8. Bureaucratic Leadership

Bureaucratic leadership is a style that is used by managers who have a strong desire to control the direction of the organization. This type of leadership can be seen in organizations where the manager does not feel confident in their own abilities as a leader, and therefore needs to ensure that every aspect of their team’s work is monitored closely.

Bureaucratic leaders tend to be very analytical thinkers, and they often use this skill when making decisions about what needs to be done next within the business. They may find it difficult to delegate duties because they prefer doing everything themselves; this could cause problems if their employees are not accustomed to working under such close supervision.

9. Situational Leadership

The situational leadership style is based on the situation. This means that the leader chooses a style that is most appropriate for the situation and changes it depending on what works best. In other words, one way of looking at this leadership method is to think of it as “leadership by exception.” The leader uses different styles in different situations and only changes when they see fit because they are aware of how effective each approach will be within a given context.

10. Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership is a style of leadership that aims to motivate and inspire others, change the way people think about themselves and their goals, focus on the future and inspire followers.

It’s a type of leadership that allows you to develop leaders within your organization by creating a vision for the future and inspiring them to achieve this vision. This type of leadership also involves creating shared visions between leaders as well as developing trust between you and your teams members.

How to choose the right style for you

There are many different ways that you can find the right leadership style for you. Because of this, it can be tough to know where to begin. If you're not sure what leadership styles will work for you, these steps can help.

1. Map out your values

Working on self-knowledge helps you better understand your strengths and weaknesses. When making decisions, it's helpful to have a clear idea of what's important to you so that those values can guide your actions.

You might have a long list, so you'll want to group similar ideas. This outline can help you see how you react, your strengths and weaknesses, and a base for your core values.

2. Know yourself.

Different people need different paths to self-discovery. Some try new things and take risks, while others find that quiet time and reflecting on their strengths is most illuminating.

3. Observe leaders you admire.

As you observe leadership styles in action, take notes so that you can try them for yourself.

Another approach is to view their actions through the lens of a specific leadership style. This makes it easier to figure out whether that style will work for you.

4. Try different styles.

Another way to decide if a leadership style is right for you is to try it out. Create an outline of each style that interests you and review your notes before the next meeting so that you can see how it might be incorporated into interactions.

5. Find a business coach or mentor.

You can also hone your leadership style by working with a business coach. There are a few places to start your business coach search.

First, look around your workplace and see if there is someone at your company who'd like to mentor you. If there's not a right fit, your colleagues can be great resources for respected business mentors.

6. Ask colleagues and leaders for feedback.

Another way that your team can help you find the best leadership styles is by asking them for feedback.

It's smart to take some time with this strategy. Before you reach out, plan what you want to ask and why. Think about how your team member might respond and set clear guidelines and expectations.


There are many ways to be a leader. It's important to understand what your leadership style is, as well as how it impacts those around you.

Join 250,000+ teams using Supernormal to move their work forward

Sign up for free to discover the magic of Supernormal.