8 Leadership Styles and How to Find Your Own

A leader is finding a leadership style by coaching her team

Have you ever wondered what type of leader you are?

When you google the different types of leadership styles, you will find more than a dozen different approaches to leadership. Becoming aware of your leadership style is vital to helping you understand your strengths and weaknesses

Do you tend to control the decisions your team members make, or do you allow them to make their own? Maybe you prefer to inspire others in order for change to occur in the work environment. Or you may even focus more on serving others. 

Take a look at these eight different types of leadership styles to help you start finding a leadership style that fits you.

1. Coaching style.

This type of leader recognizes the weaknesses and strengths of their team and uses that knowledge to motivate them to reach their full potential. A coaching leader collaborates with their team in order to achieve goals. This type of leader tends to create a positive and motivating environment

2. Laissez-faire.

If you take more of a hands-off approach, this is probably your style of leadership. Laissez-faire leaders allow their team members to make decisions, which in turn can encourage personal growth and innovation. Although this leader allows his team members to make decisions, he is available to provide feedback and support. 

3. Democratic.

In this type of leadership, team members play an important role in the decision-making process. It allows room for collaboration and promotes participation. It encourages team members to be invested in their roles. While the democratic leader will set certain objectives, he or she allows employees to make decisions and work toward their own goals. This type of leader respects the opinions of others. 

4. Transactional.

A transactional leader is one who takes a behavioral approach. They incorporate rewards and punishments to motivate their followers. This type of leader takes a managerial role, finding it necessary to carefully supervise subordinates. For individuals to perform at their best, a transactional leader believes a chain of command needs to be definite and clear. 

5. Bureaucratic.

Structure is key for a bureaucratic leader. Followers or employees led by a bureaucratic leader are expected to follow specific rules and regulations created by their superiors. A bureaucratic leader often struggles with change and tends to not be flexible. 

6. Transformational.

Transformational leaders inspire positive change. They focus on helping every member of their team improve. A transformational leader is often characterized as someone who is passionate and enthusiastic. Through inspiration, this leader will try to change the perceptions, expectations and motivations of their followers in order to reach their goals.

7. Servant leadership.

A servant leader focuses on the growth and well-being of others. They put others first and share their power, reversing the typical pyramid and putting employees first. A servant leader looks to serve and empower others. 

8. Autocratic.

An autocratic leader takes full control of all decisions for their followers or employees and limits input from others. This type is often viewed as more of a dictator style of leadership. The autocratic leader will often make their employees feel as if they are not trusted, since they are not able to participate in the decision-making processes.

You may find that you use several of these approaches as you lead your team. When finding a leadership style that’s right for you, remember that you don’t have to fit specifically into one category. However, once you are aware of the leadership styles you are most prone towards, you can start looking into areas where you can grow and improve your leadership

There are numerous resources that provide context on why you may lead a certain way. Getting an outside perspective can help you determine how your style of leadership can be detrimental or beneficial for your team. 

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