Types of Leadership Styles & Personalities

Whether you’re a CEO and oversee an entire company or you’re the manager of a small team, the way you lead has a direct impact on the business as a whole.

Leaders of companies big and small can strengthen their teams by learning which leadership personality they most relate to and how that may impact their employees. Here are the most common leadership styles and personalities out there today.


A common and effective leadership style is democratic. Democratic leaders consider the thoughts and opinions of each member of the team.

These types of leaders care about input from others and will ask for their opinion before making final decisions. This type of leadership is one that many companies strive for as it creates an open work environment that encourages contribution and keeps the wants and needs of the team in mind.


The total opposite of democratic leaders, autocratic types of leaders control the environment. Everything from the employees to the big projects and the day-to-day tasks is under the watchful eye of an autocratic leader. These types of leaders want everything to go their way and typically don’t consider the opinions or ideas of others on their team.

Employees under an autocratic leader may be unhappy with such a controlling environment. This could lead to conflicts within the team as well as high employee turnover. While most fields would not work under this type of leadership as it’s too controlling, a field that exercises a strict routine may be the a type of environment where this personality could work.


Leaders with a laissez-faire management style have a hands-off approach. They give their team space, freedom and autonomy to work on tasks and trust that they will get them done on their own time and in their own way.

This leadership style works well in creative environments where you want everyone to feel open and free to create. One issue that may arise from a laissez-faire leadership style is a lack of communication over tasks due to little direction.

While creative types may benefit from a hands-off approach, there may be times when they could use more direction and guidance. If you implement this leadership style, be sure that tasks and goals are clearly communicated before your team goes off on their own.


Similar to autocratic, a bureaucratic leader is all about rules and procedures. While they may be less controlling than an autocratic leader, team members may still feel like they don’t have much say in decisions or new ideas.

This isn’t an effective leadership type if your company is focused on innovation, and it’s typically seen in fields where procedures are strict and routine such as medicine or administration. If your company is seeking innovation from their employees, then a bureaucratic leadership style would may not be the most effective approach.  


Transactional leaders are exactly how they sound -- they reward employees for completing tasks or goals. This type of exchange is certainly a motivator for team members as they receive perks, like bonuses for achieving certain goals or completing big tasks.

But when used too often, employees may lose sight of the big picture and only work hard if they know they will be rewarded. If you’re going to use this leadership style, be mindful of how often you’re rewarding and remind your team of the purpose behind what they’re doing.


These types of leaders are focused on growth and improvement among their team. They make sure everyone is not just doing the work, but also striving to practice work outside of their comfort zone.

Transformational leaders are inspiring -- they encourage and motivate their team to be innovative and create change within the company and their positions. This is an effective style for creative jobs, startups, or any other environment that benefits from independence and creative thinking.


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