What Leadership Style Serves You the Most?

Updated: May 14



What makes a great leader?

For years, I grappled with identifying my leadership style and what makes for a great leader. As an emerging leader in the early nineties, I studied the leaders in my workplace and dissected what they did, choosing and adopting what I liked and thought made them successful.

Today, almost thirty years later, I identify the most with fearless leadership. The definition encapsulates the best attributes from my role models, managers, mentors, and teachers over the years. From my perspective, the definition of fearless leadership is our ability to lead ourselves and others powerfully, intelligently, and with integrity. And it is made possible through Self-leadership and self-awareness.


To be an effective leader, Self-leadership requires leading yourself from your highest Self first to drive business results and nurture a workplace culture that supports employees and foster the organization’s and stakeholders' success.

Even with the best of intentions, if you are not self-aware about how you’re showing up in your role, and of your style and that of those around you, you won’t have the most significant impact that you are capable of having. In many cases, your efforts to be an effective leader don't quite resonate or land as you intended, especially while attempting to collaborate with leaders who embody a different style from yours.

In this article, I'm inviting you to explore the most prominent leadership styles with one main objective. I intend to assist you in identifying your current style, assess whether it's serving you, and consider how to leverage it while also integrating new qualities that will position you to deliver the most value in your current role and organization.

After being the student for so many years, now I'm dedicated to teaching fearless leadership to my students and the talented leaders in my program, the Fearless Leadership Mastermind™. In a safe community of growth-minded professionals, we journey into the various aspects of developing Self-leadership and raising our self-awareness. Among other topics, we delve into developing a growth mindset, improving key leadership competencies, leading, engaging, and influencing your team, boosting performance, coaching and mentoring team members, and many other valuable skills all leaders require.

As an established leader, CEO, and founder, what is most meaningful for me is that I get to share my expertise and serve leaders across all levels, from emerging leaders to senior leaders. They not only learn conceptually what fearless leadership is, but they practice and embody it in a safe, inspiring, fertile environment of peers and experts in the industry. Reflectively, I am now in a position to provide our members with the type of guidance I wished I had received to expedite becoming the impactful and fearless leader I have grown into over the past three decades.

Most great leaders have several qualities and employ distinctive leadership styles that set them apart. There isn't a leadership style that will be the right fit for every business. Each company operates differently, and specific methods will be more successful in some companies than others.

Similar to my background, many leaders develop their style of leadership based on various factors, such as their experiences, personalities, and role models, to name a few. The multiple needs of the business and its company culture can also shape a leader.

While every leader is unique, this article highlights seven leadership styles commonly used in the workplace, in no particular order. The research reflects the information collected by Status.net and my insights.

As you go through these leadership styles and familiarize yourself with the attributes and the environments that best suit each, you will start to recognize and target specific areas you want to continue to lean into and also expand upon in your style.

You will have the tools to identify a combination of ways to lead that would better serve your organization and goals. And you will know how to distinguish between your style and others to collaborate more effectively with your peers. Have fun identifying your leadership style(s).

#1 Transformational Leadership

Transformational leaders look to inspire people to achieve their very best. They encourage their employees to do high-quality work and let them know that they are valuable to the organization. They understand the human element of their team and want to be sensitive to their needs while also launching them forward. They are mainly coaches who lead by example.

Where Transformational Leaders Thrive

Transformational leaders are perfect for companies who have an outdated approach and need someone to come in to reevaluate the internal structure. They are also great for companies that have adopted a new direction or strategy that they need a leader to "sell" to their employees. Transformational leaders work well in small organizations with big goals and aspirations, as well as established and larger businesses who want to raise morale and motivate their employees.

On a scale of 1 - 10, 1 meaning "not at all" and 10 "very much so," how do you relate to this style? _______


#2 Servant Leadership

Also known as humble leaders, servant leaders have the humility, bravery, and insight to recognize that they can benefit from the expertise of others who have less power. They seek the ideas and unique contributions of their employees. Humble leaders create a culture of learning and an environment that encourages followers to become their best.


Where Servant Leaders Thrive

Although they’re natural leaders, servant leaders don’t try to maintain a tight grasp on their power. Instead, they focus on elevating and developing their employees. They work best in environments where these qualities and practices incite the best from employees: listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, and stewardship.

On a scale of 1 - 10, 1 meaning "not at all" and 10 "very much so," how do you relate to this style? _______

#3 Strategic Leadership

Strategic leaders usually operate with a "big picture" mindset. Their approach is to turn the company's structure into an apparatus that helps the company meet its strategic vision. Their main goal is to encourage effective productivity and performance. A strategy is a part of everything they do: encouraging worker creativity, a generalist mindset, self-control, and a tendency to delegate.


Where Strategic Leaders Thrive

Strategic leaders are great for organizations that need someone to pull everything together. If companies are having issues getting one department in sync with another, managing an unbalanced budget, or worried about high turnover, strategic leaders can create a plan for these problems to work toward a solution. They see the connection between everything, so companies who haven't figured out how to connect the pieces would benefit from a strategic leader.

On a scale of 1 - 10, 1 meaning "not at all" and 10 "very much so," how do you relate to this style? _______

#4 Transactional Leadership


Transformational, charismatic, and visionary leaders motivate employees by creating a bond. However, for transactional leaders, their main goal is to increase employee productivity and performance. Transactional leaders use guidelines and procedures to keep their employees on task and focused. Instead of creating relationships, transactional leaders encourage employees to do their best with money and benefits. These leaders only step in when goals are not being met, and are good at setting short-term goals they want workers to reach.

Where Transactional Leaders Thrive

Transactional leaders are advantageous for companies who need incremental goals that they need to meet in a short amount of time. A transactional leader would benefit large or small organizations who know they need to achieve quarterly or annual goals even if the cost is decreased quality or creativity. Retail companies, and organizations who depend on a sales representative to close deals use transactional leaders.

On a scale of 1 - 10, 1 meaning "not at all" and 10 "very much so," how do you relate to this style? _______

#5 Democratic Leadership

Democratic leaders focus on collaboration and sharing ideas. They make decisions with the help of others that may or may not be on their same hierarchical level. They naturally drive engagement because the employees are encouraged to be a part of the decision-making process. Leadership is decentralized, and choices go through many people before the leader makes a final decision. Employees are encouraged to be innovative, creative, and independent.

Where Democratic Leaders Thrive

Democratic leaders are great for organizations that serve customers who want to be a part of making decisions. For example, a school board that seeks input from parents, government leaders who seek input from representatives to find out what the people want, or forward-thinking companies who do not want a strict managerial style and want socialized information from employees. Creative businesses usually benefit from this leadership style.


On a scale of 1 - 10, 1 meaning "not at all" and 10 "very much so," how do you relate to this style? _______

#6 Autocratic Leadership

Opposite to Democratic leaders, Autocratic leaders mostly rely on their opinion and don't usually seek input from other people. They make all of the decisions for the team and decide how to get the work done.

Where Autocratic Leaders Thrive

The Autocratic leadership style works well for organizations that need someone to make decisions quickly and efficiently. Autocratic leaders also work well in smaller organizations where many of the employees are not experienced with a particular topic or practice and need someone to be in charge. The military and construction companies use this style as authoritarian leaders are useful for making quick, decisive choices.

On a scale of 1 - 10, 1 meaning "not at all" and 10 "very much so," how do you relate to this style? _______

#7 Bureaucratic Leadership

Bureaucratic leadership follows rigid rules, standardized processes, and division of labor and responsibility. It relies on a clear chain-of-command, with each leader having a defined structure for their power.

Where Bureaucratic Leaders Thrive

This style of leadership works well in highly regulated types of businesses, such as those in health care and manufacturing, and it can be an efficient management style in companies that don't require much creativity or innovation from employees.

On a scale of 1 - 10, 1 meaning "not at all" and 10 "very much so," how do you relate to this style? _______


Bringing It All Together

When I deliver corporate training, keynotes, webinars, and facilitate leadership retreats, panels, and masterminds, virtually or live, I always encourage participants to "Execute!" Years of immersion in learning-rich environments has taught me that both knowledge and execution are power.


What did you learn about yourself?

Exploring your leadership style helps you increase your self-awareness, one of the four components of emotional intelligence, according to Dr. Travis Bradberry and Jean Greave's book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0.

When you review your answers, in which leadership styles did you score the highest? Those would be your primary leadership styles today, from the top scores to the lowest.

How does your current style align with the needs and goals of your organization?

For those styles where you score the lowest, explore how you could benefit from adopting some of those qualities.

If you need to make any adjustments, what is the first step you plan to take immediately?

In your opinion, what makes a great leader? I would love to know. Leave me a comment.

As a fearless leader, growing our skills and exploring new ways to evolve into our next version is an opportunity. Learn more about how the Fearless Leadership Mastermind™ can help you reach your next level and become the type of leader you aspire to become.


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Don't hesitate to reach out for support! info@executivebound.com or www.callwithginny.com.

With love and appreciation,

Ginny


Are you struggling with a specific work or career-related issue? Book a complimentary strategy call today. I will give you my undivided attention and use my unique value proposition to help you quickly identify your most significant challenges. We'll even begin to strategize on the right plan of action that will support your needs and aspirations.



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About Dr. Ginny A. Baro

Dr. Ginny Baro is an international speaker & executive coach, and the #1 bestselling author of Fearless Women at Work. She is the CEO and founder of ExecutiveBound™ and Fearless Women @Work™ and the creator of the innovative and proven method, C.A.R.E.S. Leadership Success System™.


Ginny specializes in helping executives develop great leaders. As a career strategist, she partners with talented individuals navigating a corporate hierarchy or transitioning into an entirely new phase of their careers.


She has successfully facilitated leadership training and coaching programs for global companies with over 140,000 employees and delivered keynotes impacting international audiences larger than 7,000 people.


For over two decades, Ginny held multiple Director and senior leadership roles in financial services and technology. Her academic degrees include a Ph.D. in Information Systems, an MS in Computer Science, an MBA in Management, and a BA in Computer Science and Economics. She's a Mastermind Professional and Certified Professional Coach (CPC), accredited by the International Coach Federation. For more information, visit www.executivebound.com.


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