What Is Your Leadership Style?

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In today’s fast-moving, competitive, and high-stress work environments, leadership is more critical than ever before. Employees need strong, supportive, and competent leaders who guide, inspire, and help draw out latent talent and grow into the best versions of themselves.

The key to being a good leader is understanding your leadership style, how you naturally approach managing and influencing others. Maybe you like to go strictly by the book or, perhaps, you value innovation to achieve your company’s big-picture goals and mission.

If you don’t know what your leadership style is, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn more.

10 Common Leadership Styles

The chances are that you’ve encountered many different leadership styles throughout your career. From the pesky micromanager to a leader who constantly looks over employees’ shoulders and is often perceived as controlling and overly critical, you very well know that no two leaders lead the same way.

Now that you’re a leader, you have your approaches that your experiences and preferences have shaped. Here are 10 of the most common leadership styles. See which one best describes you!

1. Situational

Situational leadership is all about flexibility. This type of leader adjusts their leadership style depending on the situation. Situational leaders tend to be very tolerant and are willing to consider alternatives to solving a problem or achieving a goal.

2. Transactional/Managerial

Transactional leaders value order and structure. They shy away from creativity and innovation and, instead, rely on self-motivated employees to understand their role in getting things done. For this type of managerial leader, consistency and following set systems and procedures are important.

3. Transformational

Transactional leaders place a heavy emphasis on progress and change. They don’t stick with the status quo. Instead, they look for ways to improve the organization as a whole. A transformational leader values innovation and seeks big ideas from others.

4. Autocratic

This kind of leadership makes all of the decisions. Autocratic leaders tend to be assertive and prefer to be the sole authority. They decide what tasks need to be done, how they should be done, and when they should be done. This information is then passed down to employees to complete the work.

5. Democratic

On the other side of the spectrum is a democratic leader. This type of leader wants contribution and participation from others. They value collaboration and believe that shared responsibility is the best way to get things done.

6. Bureaucratic

A bureaucratic leader has defined rules and procedures for how they lead. This type of leader sticks to the rules and does things by the books. Often, bureaucratic leaders are in government agencies, such as the military, where structure, stringent policies, and top-down order is imperative. They value processes and procedures and strongly believe in compliance. A bureaucratic leader isn’t one to slip into new territory.

7. Laissez-faire

Laissez-faire is a French term that means “let it be.” A laissez-faire leader trusts their team to get things done. They aren’t micromanagers and have no interest in providing constant oversight. They let their employees use their talents and skills to meet their objectives. As long as tasks are completed, they are content.

8. Pacesetting

A pacesetting leader sets ambitious goals. They place a heavy focus on achievements and set the pace for what they expect their team to accomplish. Pacesetter leadership involves little oversight. Instead, this type of leader is more of a “set forth and conquer” kind of person doing things well and with speed, which at times can be challenging.

9. Charismatic

A charismatic leader is persuasive and great at communicating. They have a talent for rallying people to meet goals and engage in completing whatever needs to be accomplished. Charismatic leadership is excellent for helping a team connect on a deeper level or inspiring a higher level of performance to overcome a prevailing crisis.

10. Servant

Servant leaders put their team first. They have a heavy belief in serving others and ensuring that their needs are met. Servant leaders are always looking for ways to help to keep things moving. This kind of leader isn’t concerned about themselves and is most focused on investing in their workforce.

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How to Determine Your Leadership Style

Knowing what kind of leader you are will ultimately make you a more effective leader. When you understand your strengths and weaknesses and how you naturally approach certain situations, you can improve your approach to leading.

If you still aren’t sure what type of leadership best defines you, here are some things to think about.

Ask for Input

Most people don’t excel at self-awareness. Instead of assuming what kind of leader you are, ask those around you! The people you work with, including your leadership and colleagues, will have an outside perception of who you are as a leader.

You can ask questions such as:

  • How do I handle conflict?
  • Do I micromanage?
  • Do I encourage innovation and new ideas?
  • How does my leadership make you feel?

Be open to honest answers, and don’t take anything personally! If there are any concerns from you or your workforce, you can always choose to gather responses anonymously.

Determine What Motivates You

Your leadership style is directly connected to your internal drive. As a person, what do you value? What motivates you in the workplace? While there is no right or wrong answer, understanding your motivations can help you sharpen your ideal leadership style.

Maybe you’re someone who values innovation and paving new paths. Or perhaps you’re a leader who prefers to trust your team to get the job done, so you tend to provide very little oversight.

Consider What You Aren’t Good At

Great leaders not only understand what they’re good at but also what they are not good at. Knowing and understanding what you aren’t good at may reveal more insights than you might think.

Take some time to reflect on some challenging times at work. Did a significant policy change stress you out? Does the idea of delegating tasks to others give you anxiety? Think through those situations and make a note of how they made you feel.

By looking at yourself holistically, you can figure out which leadership styles work and which ones don’t.

How to Boost Leadership Skills

No leader is perfect, and we all have room to grow to better ourselves and better our team members. While there are all sorts of courses to take and books to read if you’re looking for accurate and trustworthy guidance as a leader, consider the services offered by Tom Flick Leadership.

Tom Flick, a former NFL quarterback, has presented more than 2,000 presentations to companies of all sizes, ranging from startups to Fortune 500s. If you want to make your organization more competitive and agile, and if you’re going to perform at higher levels to get that competitive edge, Tom can help.

His presentations focus on several key leadership concepts, including the heart, leading from the middle, true urgency, and how to become a change leader. Want to learn more? Contact us at (425) 868-9090.


  1. https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/10-common-leadership-styles
  2. https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-democratic-leadership-2795315
  3. https://www.forbes.com/sites/deeppatel/2017/03/13/6-ways-to-figure-out-what-type-of-leader-you-are/?sh=284cbeed62d3