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Leadership Development

Choosing the Perfect Leadership Style for Your Organization

Discover 11 leadership styles and their pros and cons. Find the perfect fit for your organization's success.

Leadership Styles

Leaders come in various forms, each wielding a unique style that can significantly impact an organization's success. From charismatic visionary leaders to humble servant leaders, there are countless approaches to guide a team.

In this comprehensive exploration, we delve into 11 distinct leadership styles, shedding light on the advantages and disadvantages of each. Whether you're a seasoned leader seeking to refine your approach or an aspiring one eager to find your own path, join us on this journey through the diverse world of leadership styles and discover which one best suits your organization's needs.

Why It's Important to Know Your Leadership Style

Developing leadership skills can help leaders guide their team no matter what comes their way. If you are wondering which leadership style is best for your organization, it's important to remember that each leadership style has a place.

No leadership style is better than another, but finding a leadership style that matches your team's needs is the key to successful management. Some leadership styles work well in certain situations but not others, so knowing when to shift your style to meet certain goals or needs is essential.

11 Common Leadership Styles

Leadership styles present different approaches, values, benefits, and challenges in the workplace. Understanding the pros and cons of leadership styles can help you decide which one is best for you.

A manager's leadership style will affect employee productivity, communication, job satisfaction, and growth. It's important to learn the management styles and practice one that will best fit your values and match your organization's needs. If you are looking to refine your leadership, consider the following leadership styles:

1. Autocratic Leader

An autocratic leader makes decisions with very little input from team members. The autocratic management style has a control-and-command approach that was more common in the past than it is today.


While this is not the most effective or productive leadership style, leaders may find it useful in certain situations. For example, a manager may practice the autocratic leadership style in situations where they need to make crucial decisions on the spot or when they are the only individual with applicable knowledge on an issue.

Managers may also use the autocratic leadership style when they need to manage new or inexperienced employees who are not yet familiar with their responsibilities or role.


Autocratic leaders often feel that they are more knowledgeable than others on their team and expect others to do as they say with little feedback. This can lead to resentment and a team who can only rely on their manager for direction.

2. Bureaucratic Leader

The bureaucratic leadership style is similar to the autocratic style because both styles focus on precise procedures and rules. Bureaucratic leaders organize duties within a hierarchy and assign fixed duties to their employees. The bureaucratic leadership style places little emphasis on creativity and collaboration.


Bureaucratic leaders value structure and rules, and they are very task-focused. This leadership style is very effective in organizations that have to follow strict regulations because bureaucratic leaders separate relationships from work to help their teams focus on goals.


The bureaucratic leadership style is typically not as effective in dynamic environments. Some employees may find this style restrictive because it is slow to change and leaves little room for creativity.

3. Authoritative or Visionary Leader

Authoritative leaders are confident and motivate their employees to follow them. They map plans and energize and engage employees to meet their expectations. People often view authoritative leaders as visionaries because they help their team envision where their plans will take the company.


Authoritative leaders avoid simply issuing orders and instead explain their thinking to help their team understand their plan. They create common goals, but they also allow employees to make their own choices and determine for themselves how they will meet these goals. Authoritative leadership cultivates clarity and provides direction.


One of the downsides of the authoritative leadership style is that authoritative leaders must fully own their mistakes. While other styles involve team decision-making, authoritative leaders must take full responsibility if failures occur because they make decisions for their employees and must provide clear goals and instructions.

4. Transformational Leader

Transformational leaders develop a vision for their organization and inspire their team to achieve it. They serve as role models, empowering and encouraging their employees. Transformational leadership places significant value on the corporate vision and relationships.


Leaders gain employee support through inspiration and motivation, which often increases employee morale and lowers the employee turnover rate.


Transformational leadership can sometimes cause teams to deviate from regulations and protocols. It can slow processes because employees have to agree to push tasks through. The transformational leadership style may also require constant feedback and motivation in certain workplaces, and it can potentially open opportunities for leaders to deceive their employees.

5. Transactional Leader

Transactional leaders use transactions with their team to reach goals and accomplish tasks. They use rewards, punishment and other exchanges to manage employees and maintain productivity.

The transactional leadership style involves setting clear goals and letting team members know what rewards they will receive for their compliance. Transactional leaders focus more on efficiently following routines and procedures than making transformational changes to their company.


The transactional leadership style increases employee productivity with achievable goals that are specific, measurable, specific, and time-bound also known as ‘SMART Goals.’ It maintains a system that managers can easily implement and employees can easily follow, so it can minimize or eliminate confusion within the chain of command.


A disadvantage of the transactional leadership style is that it minimizes creativity and innovation and places less value on empathy. It often turns more employees into followers rather than helping employees grow into leaders.

6. Pace-Setting Leader

The pace-setting leadership style is fast-paced and energetic. Pace-setting leaders set high expectations and push their team members to work hard and fast to meet goals.


Although it is not an ideal long-term style, the pace-setting leadership style can benefit teams in certain situations. If an energetic leader and a like-minded team develop or release a new product or service, this leadership style can be an excellent motivational tool. However, it's important to avoid team burnout by limiting this style to certain situations and then removing some pressure once the team completes a project or meets specific goals.


The benefit of the pace-setting management style is that it often drives results and helps companies meet goals quickly. However, this style can also cause employee burnout. Placing too much pressure on employees can cause significant stress, so the pace-setting leadership style is not always effective in achieving overall company success.

7. Strategic Leader

Strategic leaders focus both on their organization's growth opportunities and its main operations. They cater to executive interests as well as employee working conditions.

Strategic leaders create goal-setting frameworks to turn their company's vision into daily objectives, but they also focus on how their actions impact their team. They work hard to turn goals into actions and results, but they also work with compassion and integrity. Strategic leaders consider their employees' feelings, perspectives, and ideas before they make decisions.


The strategic leadership style is often effective because it revolves around effective planning strategies that save organizations resources, money, and time. It encourages collaboration and unity, and its focus on clear communication helps team members understand goals and the impact their work can have.


One disadvantage of the strategic leadership style is that it can create a lack of flexibility. Leaders can struggle to alter frameworks once an organization implements a plan company-wide. Additionally, strategic plans can sometimes fail. Successful plans will increase a company's profits, but unsuccessful plans will reduce profits. The strategic leadership style requires managers to accurately predict the future, which can be difficult and unreliable at times.

8. Democratic Leader

The democratic leadership style revolves around participation and inclusion. Democratic leaders often ask for team members' opinions and ask them how they see things. They share information with employees whenever possible, especially when it affects their responsibilities. They gather and consider employee opinions before making important decisions, and they give their team space for creativity.


This leadership style can cultivate trust, cooperation, and team spirit among team members, and it often helps employees develop and grow. Democratic leaders successfully get their team to meet goals and expectations, but they give their team space to accomplish tasks how they want to.


A downside of the democratic leadership style is that it is very time-consuming. Taking time to consider, compare, and analyze each individual's ideas can take time and delay decision-making. This can also lead leaders to become inconclusive in their decision-making.

9. Coaching

The coaching leadership style provides support and direction to help employees reach their potential. Coaching leaders believe that their team members have the power within themselves to excel, and they guide team members toward accomplishing their goals. They offer direction, and their door is always open to employees seeking assistance.

The coaching leadership style cultivates a positive work environment and improves employee skill competence. Coaching leaders help their team turn weaknesses into strengths so they can generate growth and increase productivity.

The coaching leadership style requires time and patience, and some companies and leaders lack the time that it takes to implement this style. It also requires quality leadership skills, and it will only be effective if both the mentor and the mentee work hard to generate results. If the team lacks collaboration and the coaching leader has to work harder than the employees they mentor, it could lead to frustration.

10. Servant

The servant leadership style emphasizes employee collaboration and satisfaction. Servant managers lead with a people-first mindset and strive to make employees feel professionally and personally fulfilled. Servant leaders motivate their teams with excellent communication, and they encourage collaboration.

Employees often regard servant leaders with high respect, and this leadership style can boost productivity and employee loyalty. Servant leaders earn trust from their employees, and they help their team develop decision-making skills to become future leaders. The servant leadership style can benefit any type of organization, but it is best for non-profit organizations.

Servant leaders may struggle to be authoritative when situations call for more authority. They may also become burnt out because they place others' needs above their own.

11. Laissez-Faire or Delegative

The laissez-faire leadership style involves significantly less oversight than other styles, and it is the opposite of the autocratic style. Rather than giving orders, the laissez-faire leader practices a very hands-off approach and allows their team to go with the flow. They often appear to trust their employees to know what to do and make their own decisions.

While trusting your team is excellent, an extreme laissez-faire approach can sometimes make leaders appear aloof. Giving employees space and freedom is great, but it's also important to maintain balance. This leadership style works well for experienced, highly-skilled, and self-motivated employees when leaders monitor their performance and offer regular feedback.

What's My Leadership Style?

Different personalities respond better to different leadership styles, so it's important to consider your team when choosing a style. It's also important to consider your personality, strengths, and your organization's goals. If you are wondering how to choose a leadership style, consider the following tips:

  • Be authentic: Choose a leadership style based on your strengths and values.
  • Collect feedback: Collect feedback from others and identify areas in your leadership where you can grow.
  • Ask for advice: Seek advice from a more experienced leader and ask them how they developed their leadership style.
  • Test different styles: If you are deciding between different leadership styles, test a couple of styles and observe the results to determine which works best for your team. Implement a leadership style and note how your team responds and how it affects productivity.

You may also use several different leadership styles at different times throughout your career. For example, military positions often require leaders to adopt an autocratic style while non-profit organizations operate best under the servant leadership style. Government, finance, and healthcare offices often thrive under a bureaucratic leadership style. If your organization requires employees to collaborate on projects and form positive relationships with each other, they may perform best under the transformational leadership style.

Different situations require different leadership styles, so you may need to implement a few different styles for the same team at different times. One situation may call for an autocratic leadership style while another situation may call for a coaching leadership style. If your organization has a deadline that's quickly approaching, you may need to adopt a pace-setting style to energize and motivate your team. At other times, you may need to implement a servant leadership style if you notice employee burnout and need to improve morale.

Develop Your Leadership Style With Bundle Sessions

Leadership is a skill that develops with practice, growth, and knowledge. Develop your leadership style and skills with personalized instructor-led sessions. Bundle offers virtual live, and interactive video sessions led by vetted experts to help leaders and their teams develop their leadership skills and style. Bundle offers sessions that cover a wide variety of topics, and we are always expanding to add more based on latest market and industry trends.

With Bundle, leaders can develop their leadership skills and provide resources for their team to grow, connect, and thrive in their positions. Speak with a Bundle Human about our 1:1 virtual solution designed to help your organization's leaders and teams develop their skills for a thriving and productive workforce.

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