Evan Goodman

The Most Frequently Used Leadership Styles

The best leaders are constantly changing their leadership styles to adapt to their ever-growing and/or evolving businesses. The longer a leader is in a position of authority, the more you will learn about which methods of leadership best suit you and your organisation. There are many ways to lead a business, some of which are more effective than others.

Democratic Leadership Style

This style of leadership will create good morale throughout the organisation and/or project; everyone involved will participate and have an effect on the decisions. The leader in this situation takes into account everyone’s input before making the final decisions.

The democratic leadership style is a very effective style because employees in lower-levels of the organisation are able to make well-informed decisions or contribute to well-informed decisions for the organisation.

The major downside to this style of leadership is that it can take longer to reach a general consensus on a project/activity with everyone providing input. Another negative of this strategy is that if the project fails, blame can be shifted around the team and will discourage everyone from being accountable.

Overall, the democratic leadership style can be very beneficial if managed well; it may need to be incorporated into other leadership styles to improve its effectiveness.

Bureaucratic Leadership Style

The bureaucratic style is very traditional and is most common in older organisations that don’t require much creativity from their employees. This style relies on a chain of command where decisions and policy are made by top management, and then the success of levels of management strictly implement and follow those decisions. Bureaucratic leaders will listen to suggestions but turn down new, innovative ideas that aren’t traditional or follow the strict guidelines of the organisation.

This leadership style creates consistency and creates a clear conception of each employee’s duties. Bureaucratic leadership goes by the books and has been proven to be reliable on many different occasions.

The bureaucratic leadership style isn’t very effective for organisations that rely on new innovations and ideas. Further, this style isn’t always efficient as it focuses more on creating consistency.

Autocratic Leadership Style

Autocratic leadership is rarely effective in a big workplace. This leadership style is the reverse of the democratic leadership style. Autocratic leadership doesn’t take input from anyone. The leader is the only one to make the decisions, even if those decisions directly impact employees or business units. There is no consultation.

However, there are benefits to the autocratic leadership style, such as quick decision making. It can be very effective where strong leadership is needed, particularly for stressful situations.

The main disadvantage to this style is that all employees have very little creative freedom, and this could lead to resentment. The morale will be low as employees will feel their ideas and concerns aren’t relevant and are being ignored.

The autocratic leadership style, whilst similar to the bureaucratic leadership style, is the strictest style; it shouldn’t be used if the organisation relies on creativity and innovations.

Coach-Style Leadership Style

Coach-style leadership is very effective in a company. This style of leadership focuses on every employee’s strengths and weaknesses, much like how coaches would treat their teams. These leaders help each member of their team individually and encourage them to innovate and grow their skill sets.

The major advantage of this style is that it creates a positive workspace and boosts morale. Another advantage is that every individual will grow their skills and become more experienced in their particular field.

The major disadvantage to this style is that it takes a long time to be effective. Further, it also requires leaders that are experienced in mentoring/coaching every situation.

The coach-style leadership is not always the right approach, but it can be very effective if used correctly.

Laissez-Faire Leadership Style

The Laissez-Faire leadership style relies on a leader’s trust in their employees. This style takes a very hands-off management approach. Leaders don’t set restrictions around their employees but trust them to finish all of their work by the set deadlines.

The main advantage of the Laissez-Faire style is that it encourages innovation and creativity in the workspace. This style also encourages efficiency as there is no significant micromanaging; the employees are able to focus and are quicker to finish work.

The major disadvantage to this style is that it may lead to a lack of involvement from the team. Further, the laissez-faire style also takes accountability away from the leader in a situation where the project is failing. This style lacks a strong leader.

The laissez-faire leadership style works best and is most efficient and effective in a creative and highly motivated organisation.

Transactional Leadership Style

The transactional leadership style is all about rewards. This style of management is fairly common in many businesses today and is moderately effective. The leader in this style rewards the team based on the work they do. Employees essentially get back what they put in, be that in the form of bonuses, rewards, gifts, etc.

A massive advantage of this easy-to-implement style of leadership is employee motivation. Rewarding employees will also help create achievable goals.

The major downside of this leadership style is that it tends to limit innovation. Team members will only focus on what they need to do to earn a reward rather than thinking outside the box.

This leadership style creates quick, anticipated results but limits innovation. The transactional style isn’t ideal for a creative workspace but can create efficient results when implemented correctly.

Strategic Leadership Style

The strategic leadership style is focused on the leader’s clear view of the organisation. This style relies on setting concise action plans for the future and planning ahead.

The major advantage of this style is that the company has a clear direction and creates a clear objective for everyone involved. Another advantage is that this style of management relies on planning for the future, which can lead to making better and more thought-out business decisions.

The main disadvantage of this style is that it is time-consuming and hard to implement. It also relies on perfect and concise planning for the future. The unpredictability of the future can create problems with this style of leadership.

Overall, this strategy has a lot of advantages and disadvantages, and its effectiveness differs based on each separate company and the direction the company is headed.

Transformational Leadership Style

The transformational leadership style focuses on pushing employees out of their comfort zones and transforming the company as a whole.

The main advantage is that employees are given a lot of freedom, which creates a positive working environment. The major disadvantage is that it can lead to employee burnout and can also lead to a disruptive workspace.

Essentially this leadership style requires a leader that can inspire employees and keep everyone motivated to continue working.


Every leadership style has its own positives and negatives. It is up to each individual leader to decide which style is best for them and their organisation at a point in time. Leaders need to be flexible and adjust their leadership styles to suit the different circumstances.