Understanding Your Leadership Style & How to Best Use It

If you’re a leader at work, chances are your leadership style falls into one of the following categories. Here’s a look at the details of each one and how to best put it to use.


This is a more traditional style of leadership, one focused on results and efficiency, with decisions being made solely by one person or a small circle. When put to use effectively, it provides employees with clear expectations and set rules. However, this style of leadership can make it difficult to delegate work, which can lead to burnout over time.


A democratic style involves a group in the decision-making. There is generally a team of leaders making decisions and asking employees for input and feedback. As a result, employees feel like their voices matter, which can improve employee engagement and morale. On the other hand, it can make it difficult for expedient decision-making, which can lead to inefficiencies and higher costs.

Laissez faire.

This is the opposite of the autocratic style of leadership and tends to allow a lot of autonomy among employees. By delegating work, leaders have more time for strategy and big-picture obligations. This can be a good fit when you have a team of experienced individuals you trust. However, it can be more difficult if you have entry or junior-level employees who need a lot more guidance and feedback.


This is the style found in many large corporations and government agencies. There are procedures and protocols in place, and employees are expected to follow them exactly. This style of leadership generally governs over a fixed system with very clear hierarchies. It can be effective in industries that require little creativity and collaboration. But for employees, it can also feel limiting and restricting.

People first.

This is a type of leader that strives to put their people first and works toward helping employees achieve professional success. Employees often feel a high sense of satisfaction when part of teams that have a people-first mindset. However, they can also start to see the boss as more of a fellow team member and not the leader, which can make decision-making difficult.


A coaching leader is someone who works toward recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of a team, putting people in the right-fit positions, and motivating everyone to improve. This is the type of leader who is extremely goal-oriented and focused on providing regular feedback to ensure expectations are clear and progress is made.

Sometimes, there’s a definite answer as to what leadership style defines you. In other cases, though, you might see your style as a mix of these. Either way, to make the most of your leadership style, you need to ensure you’re hiring people who are a fit for it. This will help you to achieve goals and maintain a happy and productive team.

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