By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS, CSMCS, CELDC

Think back to your favorite boss. What made them your favorite and why did you enjoy working for them? Now think about your least favorite boss. Chances are, these two leaders had polar opposite leadership styles. One style complemented your personality, and you identified with the qualities of that leader. 

Now, consider your leadership style and what you hope to get out of your employees. Which one of these leaders are you? 


If you’re this type of leader, then you’re willing to let everyone voice their opinion and give input. Then as a group, you’ll come to an agreement about how to move forward. As the leader, you’re accountable for the outcome, but this doesn’t mean you get a stronger say than everyone else on the team. These leaders act more as a guide to ensure the company stays on track. Their advantage is that everyone feels heard and as though they are equally contributing. 


If you’re an autocratic leader, then you have the exact opposite approach as a democratic leader. You lead and make all of the decisions without asking for input. There’s no collaboration and no team vote as to the best course of action. This type of leadership style tends to be the least popular because it leads to employees feeling unheard and disengaged. These leaders may not achieve the most because there’s a lack of collaboration and growth through the sharing of ideas. 


This old-school style of leadership goes by the book and only the book. They toe the corporate line and refuse to be flexible. The difference between this style of leader and an autocratic one is that bureaucratic leaders will listen to and consider ideas. However, they will only encourage those that comply with company policy and standards. 


Leaders that are transformational want their employees to grow and develop. These leaders are continually looking to the future for development and change. This style of leadership excels in companies that are looking for growth. While this type of leader can bring the best out of employees, it can also create a high-pressure culture. Employees could potentially feel pressured to produce results. Others can feel stressed by the ever-changing work environment. 


The anti-leader is the laissez-faire leader. They take a hands-off approach and let their employees call the shots. This is the most progressive leadership style and can quickly lead to chaos if you aren’t careful. However, it can also lead to innovation through the encouragement of creativity. To make this strategy a success, the employees need to be able to manage themselves and have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities. Otherwise, you risk your team leaving a lot of potential unfulfilled because a strong leader didn’t push them to achieve more. 


This style of leadership is similar to that of a football coach. As the leader, you are the coach of your “team,” and it’s your job to find each employee’s strongest skill. Then you put them in a position that allows them to excel by using that skill. The advantage of this type of team is that you have a strong unit that works together to create results. 

Develop Your Leadership Style 

As you can see, there are several types of leadership styles out there. However, you’ll also notice that none of them are perfect, and none of them will work for everyone. Instead of focusing on finding the perfect style to adopt, focus on developing your skills. 

Staying true to yourself and your personality will have your leadership style feeling authentic, which is almost more important. Being true to you will make you trustworthy and garner respect from your employees. 

Let’s get to work!

If you are ready to move your executive career forward contact me today at [email protected]