8 Different Types Of Leadership Styles with Examples

Have you ever considered why some teams succeed while others can’t seem to get their foot off the ground? The answer often lies in the type of very common leadership styles they experience. Imagine a ship’s captain – some captains lead with an iron fist, while others prefer a collective approach. Leadership styles are like these different captains, each with its unique way of guiding a team.

Importance Of Understanding Leadership Style

Ever tried using a hammer on a screw? The wrong tool for the job, right? Similarly, applying the wrong leadership style can hinder team productivity. It’s all about finding the right fit. 

Understanding types Of leadership style holds immense significance as it shapes how you guide and influence your team. By recognizing your inherent tendencies and preferences, you gain insights into your strengths and areas for growth. This awareness allows you to tailor your approach, capitalize on your natural talents, and address potential blind spots. 

When you comprehend your right leadership style, you can leverage it to build strong relationships, foster effective communication, and create a positive work environment. Knowing your leadership style is like having a compass that guides your actions, enabling you to lead authentically and effectively.

This blog will discuss the different leadership styles and how they affect the team and their teammates. Types Of Leadership image 01Different Styles Of Leadership

Ever wondered how your approach compares to others, whether it’s the hands-on guidance, people-centered focus, delegative leadership, or perhaps the collaborative essence? Read on to dive deeper into the various types of leadership styles and find out your own leadership style.

1. Democratic Leadership Style

What if decisions were made collectively, drawing upon the wisdom of the entire team to shape a brighter future together? 

Democratic leadership style, or participative leadership, is characterized by a collaborative decision-making process. In this style bureaucratic leadership, decisions are not solely dictated from the top but involve input from various team members.

At its core, democratic leadership emphasizes teamwork and inclusivity in the decision-making process. This creates an environment where open communication and the contributions of all team members are valued.image 8The advantages of a democratic leadership style are multifaceted. Firstly, it fosters creativity by harnessing the collective wisdom of the team. Secondly, involving team members in the decision-making process enhances job satisfaction and loyalty, contributing to a positive organizational culture. Additionally, democratic leadership frequently leads to higher-quality decisions due to the consideration of various viewpoints and a reduction in potential blind spots.

However, despite these advantages, there are also challenges associated with democratic leadership. The participatory nature of the style can occasionally result in conflicts arising from differing opinions, potentially prolonging the decision-making process. Furthermore, in situations where quick decisions are imperative, the democratic leadership style refers used might not be the most efficient choice.

An example of a democratic leader is President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He practiced democratic leadership by involving advisors, encouraging open discussions, and connecting with the public through “fireside chats.” This approach guided the nation through challenges like the Great Depression and World War II.

2. Autocratic Leadership Style

Can a single leader’s swift decisions genuinely harness the potential of a diverse team, or might it unintentionally stifle innovation and collaboration? 

Autocratic leadership is a distinctive leadership style marked by its centralized decision-making approach. A leader wields considerable authority in this framework, making decisions independently and with limited team input. This approach of authoritarian leaders can be likened to a monarchy, where the leader’s directives are followed with minimal discussions or collaborative involvement.image 6The most prominent advantage of autocratic leadership is its capacity to ensure fast decision-making. When time is of the essence, an authoritarian leader’s ability to make quick choices becomes pivotal. Moreover, this style can prove effective when a leader possesses unique expertise or insights that guide decision-making. Autocratic primary leadership styles can offer a well-defined direction in scenarios requiring clarity and a straightforward approach.

However, despite its merits, autocratic leadership presents its challenges. The limited involvement of team members can lead to diminished job satisfaction and reduced motivation. Employees may feel detached from decision-making, potentially impacting their commitment and engagement. Additionally, this style might yield less innovative or creative solutions, as ideas predominantly stem from the leader. The absence of collaboration can result in missed opportunities for diverse viewpoints and fresh perspectives.

A classic example of an autocratic leader can be found in the leadership style of Steve Jobs at Apple. Jobs was known for his autocratic leaders with his hands-on approach and inclination to independently make significant decisions. While this approach led to groundbreaking innovations like the iPhone and the iPod, it also contributed to a challenging work environment. His direct decision-making style often led to conflicts within the organization, and his perfectionism occasionally hindered timely product releases. This illustrates how the autocratic leadership style, while effective in some aspects, can also lead to difficulties when not balanced with collaboration and team involvement.

3. Laissez-Faire Leadership Style

Could allowing team members to forge their own paths lead to a landscape of untapped creativity, or might it risk steering the ship without a guiding hand?

Laissez-Faire leadership, often termed the “hands-off” approach, is a distinct leadership style where leaders offer minimal guidance, granting team members considerable autonomy in decision-making and task execution. “Laissez-Faire,” meaning “let them do” in French, mirrors the leader’s readiness to allow the team to function with limited intervention.

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Benefits of Laissez-Faire leadership include fostering self-motivation and initiative among team members, as they wield decision-making power that directly influences their work. This autonomy can elevate job satisfaction and instill a sense of ownership. Moreover, this approach finds its stride when working with adept and experienced individuals who require minimal supervision.

The absence of direct guidance can lead to ambiguity and uncertainty, especially in situations necessitating precise directions. Inexperienced team members might grapple without proper guidance, potentially yielding delayed or suboptimal outcomes. Additionally, the lack of oversight might induce complacency or diminish accountability, potentially affecting overall productivity and performance.

Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group, is recognized for his hands-off leadership style, allowing his employees to innovate and explore new ideas within their respective ventures.

4. Transformational Leadership Style

How might igniting a shared vision and inspiring individual growth revolutionize teams and entire organizations, propelling them toward extraordinary accomplishments?

Transformational leadership style is dynamic and inspiring that seeks positive change in individuals and organizations. Adopting this approach, transformational leaders motivate teams for exceptional outcomes, inspiring innovation and personal growth.image 7Igniting passion and commitment enhances engagement, sparking creativity. Empowered to contribute, team members innovate. This style prioritizes personal and professional growth, yielding job satisfaction and development.

Change and innovation may face resistance, especially from employees who don’t like change. Balancing inspiration with realism is key. Charisma reliance can breed dependency; mismanagement may lead to instability upon a leader’s departure.

Martin Luther King Jr. is an iconic example of a transformational leader. His leadership during the civil rights movement in the United States inspired millions to stand up against racial injustice and advocate for equality. King’s charismatic speeches and unwavering commitment to his vision brought about significant societal change, showcasing the immense power of transformational leadership in driving positive transformations on a grand scale.

5. Transactional Leadership Style

Is pursuing concrete results the linchpin to efficient teamwork, or does this approach overlook the intricate dynamics that fuel productivity and growth?

Transactional leadership is a results-oriented leadership style emphasizing clear structures, expectations, and rewards. Leaders who adopt this approach focus on the day-to-day tasks and processes, using a system of rewards and consequences to motivate their team members.

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The structured nature of this leadership style ensures that tasks are carried out efficiently and according to established norms. Team members know exactly what is expected of them and the rewards they can earn for meeting these expectations. Moreover, this bureaucratic leadership style provides a sense of stability and predictability, which can be reassuring for both leaders and team members.

The focus on rewards and consequences can lead to a narrow focus on short-term goals and a lack of emphasis on long-term vision and innovation. The rigid structure might hinder creativity and the exploration of alternative solutions. Additionally, this approach might not be effective for highly motivated individuals driven by intrinsic factors rather than external rewards.

Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric (GE), is often cited as an example of a transactional leader who implemented clear performance expectations, rewards, and consequences to drive organizational success.

6. Visionary Leadership Style

When infused with the leader’s passion, can the sheer force of a compelling vision ignite a collective drive that propels teams beyond conventional limits?

Visionary leadership style is innovative that revolves around crafting and sharing a compelling future vision. Leaders embracing this approach to coaching leadership inspire teams with a bold direction and a united goal.image 4 2These leaders envision possibilities beyond the present, communicating them passionately. Through persuasive and inspiring communication, they employ storytelling and imagery to make the vision tangible.

Inspiring purpose unifies teams around strategic leaders, fostering commitment to a greater goal. This approach fuels creativity, as aligned ideas are encouraged. Visionary leaders often lead organizations to groundbreaking achievements.

Yet, challenges arise. Grand visions might lead to impatience if progress is slow. Innovation enthusiasm might overshadow practical execution. Not all team members may resonate initially, requiring effective communication and persuasion from leaders.

An iconic example of a visionary leader can be observed in the charismatic leadership style of Elon Musk. Musk’s ambitious visions of electric vehicles, renewable energy, space exploration, and high-speed transportation have captivated the world. Through companies like Tesla, SpaceX, and The Boring Company, Musk has transformed industries and challenged conventional norms. His ability to envision a future where sustainable energy and interplanetary travel are a reality showcases the power of visionary leadership in driving innovation and change.

7. Pacesetting Leadership Style

Could setting the bar exceptionally high while motivating for peak performance inadvertently place unwavering pressure on teams that stifle their potential?

The leader’s commitment to achieving the highest performance levels is at the heart of the pacesetting leadership approach. These leaders don’t just demand excellence; they actively model it through their actions and behaviors. They set a rapid pace for accomplishing tasks and expect their team members to keep up. Communication is often straightforward, as pacesetting leaders prioritize efficiency and results.

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By leading by example, leaders can inspire their teams to strive for greatness and surpass their limitations. This can lead to increased productivity and a culture of continuous improvement. Moreover, pacesetting leaders often drive rapid progress and accomplishment of goals, fostering a sense of achievement among team members.

However, the pacesetting leadership style also comes with its challenges. The relentless pursuit of excellence can sometimes lead to burnout among team members who need help to keep up with the demanding pace. The emphasis on rapid results also overshadows the importance of collaboration and skill development. Additionally, the intense focus on outcomes can lead to neglecting the well-being and growth of team members.

A real-world embodiment of pacesetting leaders can be seen in the leadership style of Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon. Bezos is known for his relentless pursuit of customer satisfaction and high company performance expectations. He sets ambitious goals and encourages his team to achieve them, constantly pushing the boundaries of innovation and efficiency. Bezos’s commitment to setting the bar for excellence has propelled Amazon to become one of the world’s largest and most successful companies.

8. Servant Leadership Style

Is leading by serving others the cornerstone of effective leadership style, forging deeper connections and fostering enduring success?

The servant leadership approach is a people-centric leadership style that emphasizes the leader’s role as coaching leader as a servant first, dedicated to the well-being and growth of their team members. Leaders who adopt this approach prioritize empathy, collaboration, and the empowerment of others.

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Servant leadership offers numerous benefits. By placing the needs of their team members at the forefront, leaders create an environment of trust and mutual respect. This style fosters open communication and collaboration, as team members feel valued and empowered to contribute their ideas. Moreover, servant leaders nurture a personal and professional growth culture, leading to higher engagement and job satisfaction.

However, servant leadership also comes with its challenges. The emphasis on serving others can sometimes be misconstrued as a lack of assertiveness or direction. Balancing the needs of team members with organizational goals can be complex, and leaders must find ways to align both. Additionally, the selfless nature of servant leadership might lead to neglecting one’s well-being and growth.

A real-world embodiment of servant leadership can be seen in the leadership style of Warren Buffett, the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett is known for his humility, approachability, and commitment to serving his shareholders and employees. He leads by example and is renowned for his willingness to share his wisdom and insights. Buffett’s focus on building long-term relationships and valuing people over profits exemplifies the principles of servant leadership.

Impact Of Changing Leadership Style

Even though there is no hard and fast rule on which one is the most effective leadership style, attempting to adopt different leadership styles can yield positive and negative outcomes. 

Incorporating a different style can enhance your versatility and broaden your leadership toolkit. For instance, if you typically embrace an autocratic leadership style assessment but consciously integrate democratic elements, you might encourage more collaboration and input from your team. This adaptability allows you to navigate diverse situations and effectively connect with various team members.

On the flip side, forcefully inculcating a style that contradicts your natural tendencies can lead to incongruence and confusion. For instance, if a democratic leader suddenly adopts a highly autocratic approach, it might breed resentment and resistance among team members accustomed to a collaborative environment. Moreover, embodying an unfamiliar style may dilute your authenticity and undermine trust.

Striking a balance is key. While expanding your leadership repertoire can be beneficial, staying true to your core values and inclinations ensures genuine leadership. Ultimately, understanding your own leadership style works and empowers you to wield your strengths judiciously and evolve into a well-rounded leader capable of adapting without compromising your authenticity.


In leadership styles, a wide range of approaches gives leaders many tools to handle challenges and maximize opportunities. From big-picture visionary thinking to caring servant leadership, each type offers unique strategies for growth, creativity, and teamwork. Embracing this variety helps leaders develop, adapt and succeed in different situations. Leaders can confidently navigate diverse contexts and lead effectively by understanding and using different styles.

Rishabh Bhandari

Rishabh Bhandari is the Content Strategist at Kapable. Rishabh likes to transform complex ideas into captivating narratives relatable to the target audience. He loves telling stories through his content. He believes that stories have the power to shift mindsets and move mountains. He has 3 years of experience in educational blog writing and copywriting.

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