12 Leadership Styles and How To Find Your Own

Leadership Style and Finding Your Own Unique Style

Leadership is a multifaceted concept that has many dimensions. Every leader has a distinct style of their own that sets them apart from others. Analyzing different leadership styles can help you discover your unique approach to leading others. So, we will discuss in detail various leadership styles, share some real examples, help you find your own leadership style, and provide thought-provoking questions to help you find your leadership journey.

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Understanding Different Leadership Styles:

1. Autocratic Leadership:

Autocratic leadership is a style where the leader has complete control and authority over decision-making without involving their team. This style may be useful in certain situations like emergencies or urgent decision-making. However, it can limit creativity and autonomy among team members.

2. Democratic Leadership:

The democratic leadership style is characterized by encouraging team participation in decision-making processes. This approach values input from team members and aims to foster a collaborative environment by promoting engagement and innovation within the team.  This style promotes engagement and innovation within the team.

3. Laissez-Faire Leadership:

Laissez-faire leaders are the kind who let their team members do things their own way. They prefer not to excessively intervene and opt to give their team members proper autonomy and independence in their tasks. This style of leadership can be great for people who like to take charge and make decisions for themselves, but it may not be the best for those who need more direction. Having a competent team capable of working autonomously and keeping self-drive is crucial when operating under a laissez-faire leader.

4. Transformational Leadership:

Transformational leaders are people who inspire and encourage others to work together towards a common goal or vision. They help people to grow and develop personally, and they promote new ideas and ways of doing things. They also focus on building strong relationships with the people they lead. This type of leadership is especially helpful when there’s a need for change or innovation.

5. Transactional Leadership:

Transactional leaders are those who believe in the concept of reward and punishment based on the performance of their team members. They set clear expectations and offer incentives to motivate their team members to meet their goals. This style of leadership is effective in certain settings such as sales environments where achieving targets and meeting quotas are the primary goals. However, this approach may restrict the creativity and intrinsic motivation of team members.

6. Servant Leadership:

Servant leadership is a management style that prioritizes the needs of team members above those of the leader. This approach focuses on supporting and empowering the team, which creates a sense of trust and collaboration within the team. Servant leaders act as guides, encouraging their team members to grow both personally and professionally. In such an environment, team members feel valued and appreciated, resulting in a positive work environment. However, in hierarchical cultures or organizations with top-down leadership structures, this type of leadership may lead to resistance and inefficiencies.

7. Charismatic Leadership:

Charismatic leaders possess a magnetic personality that attracts and inspires followers. They have the ability to engage and captivate others with their charisma, charm, and persuasive communication skills. This style of leadership can rally people around a common cause and motivate them to achieve extraordinary results. However, it’s important to note that this leadership style may not be suitable in situations where a more collaborative and inclusive approach is required. In such situations, leaders may need to prioritize building consensus and involving team members in decision-making processes rather than relying solely on their own charisma and influence.

8. Bureaucratic Leadership:

Leaders who adopt a bureaucratic style of leadership tend to prioritize following rules, policies, and procedures. They put a strong emphasis on maintaining structure and order within the organization, which can be beneficial for ensuring consistency and efficiency. However, this approach may sometimes limit creativity, innovation, and flexibility within the organization.

9. Adaptive Leadership:

Leaders who are adaptive are able to thrive in complex and rapidly-changing environments. They are skilled at navigating ambiguity and they are comfortable with uncertainty, which allows them to respond effectively to emerging challenges. Adaptive leaders encourage creativity and experimentation while remaining focused on achieving their desired outcomes.

10. Coaching Leadership:

Coaching leaders are known for their ability to develop the potential of individual team members. By providing guidance, support, and feedback, they help their team members grow and achieve their personal and professional goals. This leadership style emphasizes mentorship, skill-building, and continuous learning, which can lead to a more motivated and engaged team.

However, it’s important to note that the coaching style may not be appropriate in all situations. For example, in urgent or emergency situations, a more directive leadership style may be necessary to address the problem quickly. Additionally, coaching requires a significant investment of time and resources, so it may not be feasible in all organizations or for all leaders.

11. Transactional Leadership:

Transactional leadership involves setting clear expectations, providing rewards for meeting goals, and administering punishments for non-compliance. Leaders establish a transactional relationship with their team members based on exchanging rewards and punishments for performance. This style can be effective in specific contexts where structure and compliance are essential.

12. Authentic Leadership:

Authentic leaders lead with integrity, transparency, trust, and authenticity. They align their actions with their values and enable open and honest communication. This leadership style emphasizes self-awareness, ethical decision-making, and building strong relationships. Authentic leaders acknowledge their errors and attempt to establish a supportive work atmosphere conducive to the growth and well-being of all individuals.

Finding Your Own Leadership Style:

1. Self-reflection:

Reflect on your values, strengths, and weaknesses. What leadership qualities do you naturally exhibit? What style aligns with your personal values and goals?

2. Observe Successful Leaders:

Consider the leaders you admire and think about what you appreciate about their style. How can you incorporate those elements into your own leadership style? 

3. Seek Feedback:

Request feedback from team members, colleagues, and mentors. Ask them about your leadership approach and how it affects the team. This input can provide valuable insights into your strengths and areas that may require improvement.

4. Experiment:

Don’t be afraid to try out different leadership styles in different situations. Pay attention to the outcomes and the reactions of your team members. Adapt your approach based on the situation and your team’s needs.

Examples of Leadership Styles:

  1. Mahatma Gandhi: This influential leader embodied the transformational leadership style, inspiring millions through his commitment to nonviolence and social change.


  1. Steve Jobs: Known for his visionary thinking, Steve Jobs had an authoritative leadership style that drove innovation and success at Apple Inc.


  1. Oprah Winfrey: An example of a servant leader, Oprah Winfrey emphasizes empathy, compassion, and empowering others through her media empire.

Questions to Ask yourself :

  1. What are the leadership qualities that come naturally to you? How can you leverage them to enhance your leadership style?


  1. How has your leadership style evolved over time? What experiences or mentors have influenced your growth?


  1. How do you adapt your leadership style to different situations and team dynamics?


  1. What are the strengths and limitations of your current leadership style? How can you further develop your weaker areas?


Remember, Leadership styles aren’t set in stone,  and leaders often incorporate elements from multiple styles depending on the situation and their team’s needs. Developing your own leadership style involves self-awareness, learning from others, and adapting your approach to lead and inspire those around you effectively. Keep in mind that becoming a confident and successful leader takes time and effort, but it is a worthwhile goal. Development of Leadership styles requires a thorough understanding and practical implementation and for this, you can join the practically oriented Leadership Management course by the Confederation of International Talents.

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