In the workplace, you are and will continue to be exposed to different leadership styles. Just as every person is unique, so is their leadership style. But, before we learn about the most common styles of leadership, let’s take a step back and discuss what leadership truly is.

Leadership is the process of inspiring individuals towards accomplishing a specific goal. The main aim of leadership is to achieve results; leaders should be able to communicate with others in a way that makes them act the way they want them to act.

Now, let’s dig into common leadership styles and tips for each one.



This older leadership style places much emphasis on obedience. Leaders using this style do not typically listen to others. Instead, they believe that their decision is the best way to go. This style of leadership can often push down other’s courage to speak up and collaborate, therefore risking the opportunity to capitalize on hidden talent.

If this is your natural leadership style, be mindful to pause and ask for input along the way. You never know what great idea could be waiting for you!


Laissez Faire

This style of leading is done in a hands-off way. The leader will often let others make some of the decisions without being involved. While this leadership style is laidback, a standoffish leader might not get to discover the extent of other people’s capabilities and know how best to employ skills.

If this describes you, remember there will be times you will have to step up to take hold of some situations. Also, take the time to get to know your team to pull together everyone’s core strengths.



Also known as the visionary style, authoritative leadership is the leader displaying confidence in their decisions, while also involving additional input and ideas. An authoritative leader will issue out orders to employees while taking the time to explain why a particular decision was made. With newer or uncertain teams, this leadership style is great to lean into. When there is an air of confusion or doubt in an organization, it is the job of the leader to step up and make strong decisions.

While there are many benefits to leading by this style, ensuring that employees feel heard will be vital to overall efficiency.



Leading in a democratic way is done transparently. Typically, the employees are involved in decision making and are invited to provide their input too. It is a highly effective style because it can boost confidence and career development due to the collaborative nature. A democratic leader will unite the team and make them want to work harder.

While allowing leaders to guide while also welcoming collaboration from team members may be one of the most balanced leadership styles, in crisis or uncertain times, one leader may need to make the call.



A pacesetting leader will lead by example. Extremely focused individuals can effectively lead with this style. Essentially, in this style, the leader demonstrates the standards for the team and expects the team to follow with minimal supervision. Usually, this leadership style is best for type A personalities who thrive under pressure or highly-skilled, tenured teams.

Pacesetters can fall into the trap that their team just knows what type of work is expected from them. When leading with this style, take moments to do check-ins with the team.


Being a leader means that you are responsible for others. You guide others towards a goal while navigating different personalities, skill levels, and work ethics. Although there are natural-born leaders who seemingly slip into a specific leadership style with no training at all, for the rest of us, leadership is something to be developed.

When you understand your leadership style, you can start testing out other styles. The most effective leaders do not limit themselves to one style. They often switch up their styles when the need arises. So, believe in yourself and your decisions. Others will follow naturally.


About Debi

Debi is a coach to high performers, leaders and business owners wanting to achieve more and grow beyond what they believe is possible. Known for her clarifying insight and a pragmatic approach, Debi brings her clients to the next step by asking the right questions during strategy development and supporting them during strategy implementation. With experience in management, recruitment and employee development for various industries, she has a wide scope of expertise and will confidently guide you towards a successful future in your career.


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