You are currently viewing Top 12 Leadership Styles and Why Do You Need to Know Yours

Top 12 Leadership Styles and Why Do You Need to Know Yours

Leadership can make or break a nation. Similarly, it can change the course of history. If you read the stories of the famous world leaders of history, you will notice that most of them could be sorted into categories based on the leadership style they followed. Some like Joseph Stalin followed an autocratic leadership style, whereas some like Martin Luther King followed an inclusive leadership style. If you want to know more about leadership styles and why you need to know yours, continue reading ahead. 

What Determines a Leadership Style

A leadership style is determined by how you interact within your organization, especially with your associates and your teammates. It is also dependent on your personality, your characteristics, and your behavior patterns. All in all, the behaviors you show consistently end up determining your leadership style. 

What Are the Top 12 Leadership Styles of Today?

A common question that is often asked is ‘What is your leadership style’ or ‘What style of leadership do you aspire to?’. It is common to ponder over this question and wonder where you stand. But before that, you need to know what these leadership styles are. 

1. Inclusive Leadership

Inclusive leadership involves a leader prioritizing diversity and inclusivity during the hiring process. Moreover, it involves leaders inculcating an environment that is free from prejudice and discrimination. Inclusive leadership is generally very successful as it leads to diversity in the team. 


  • Allows the leader to create a perfect mix of team members
  • Allows for greater dissent and healthy discussions within the organization


  • Affirmative action may come at the cost of merit sometimes
  • Leaders often focus more on optics than the actual work

2. Exclusive Leadership

As the name suggests, exclusive leadership involves leaders treating almost everyone as competition and not feeling secure enough in their role and position. Moreover, these leaders try to hire from a similar group. So, for instance, a white male leader who has an exclusive leadership style will prefer hiring all white individuals and will shun diversity. 


  • Follow a fear-based leadership style and hence ensure unwavering obedience
  • Do not have to create specific policies to cater to diverse groups


  • Makes a leader unpopular as they are shunned by the world
  • This leads to a toxic culture of bullying and harassment toward diverse individuals

3. Participative Leadership

Participative leaders prioritize the involvement of the group in the decision-making process. Within an organization, participative leaders ensure that they are approachable and do not follow rigid hierarchies. They ensure that their team members are free to give in their input. Not just that, these leaders ensure that the valuable feedback given by the employees is catered to at every step of the decision-making process. 


  • Allows for greater engagement within the team
  • Ensures a process of trial and error, thus helping create foolproof plans


  • Can sometimes make the leader look weak
  • Emerging leaders within an organization can overpower the actual leader

4. Autocratic Leadership

The autocratic leadership style involves one individual holding all the power in the office and then exercising it without any accountability. An autocratic leader will control the entire decision-making process and will hardly take any input from the team. Moreover, these leaders believe themselves to be superior, both in intellect and wisdom. 


  • Saves time and gives leaders the ability to take quick decisions
  • Suitable for organizations with a lot of corrupt individuals


  • Reduces brand loyalty and brand affection that is felt by employees
  • Makes people lose trust in leadership

5. Democratic Leadership

Democratic leadership is exercised by individuals that take decisions after taking their team’s opinion and involving them in the decision-making process. These leaders take in feedback and allow everyone to exercise their right to dissent and disagree. Through this, they encourage valuable discussion and discourse that ultimately leads to consensus or a democratic decision. 


  • Suitable for new projects that require brainstorming
  • Allow team members to feel validated and appreciated


  • May diminish the authority of the leader
  • Not suitable when there is time-restraint

6. Charismatic Leadership

Charismatic leadership involves leaders who have superior communication and persuasion skills. Charismatic leaders use their charm and their popularity to influence others. Additionally, these leaders are people pleasers and can please and attract a larger audience with their verbal and non-verbal communication skills. Some of the most charismatic leaders include the likes of J.F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln. 


  • Suitable for organizations that are struggling to progress
  • Allows a large group to be convinced easily


  • This leads to blind followership that may prove counterintuitive to success
  • Allows leaders to evade responsibility and accountability

7. Bureaucratic Leadership

For bureaucratic leaders, rules are more important than freedom of expression. Such leaders follow a set hierarchy and a fixed set of principles and do not appreciate when their team members exercise individual freedoms. Such leaders might consider the opinions of their team members, but are under no obligation to follow these opinions. 


  • Suitable for organizations like the army, navy, and military
  • Prevents chaos and conflicts that arise due to diverse opinions


  • Makes people feel invalidated within an organization
  • Takes away their creativity and freedom to exercise control

8. Laissez-Faire Leadership

Known to be one of the least intrusive leadership styles, this allows the employees to have a lot more freedom within an organization. It translates to ‘let them do’. It involves a leader that delegates authority and allows the decision-making process to be participative. Moreover, such leaders empower their team members and encourage them to hold themselves accountable. By doing this, they create a sense of intrinsic motivation within the team. 


  • Allows individuals to exercise freedom and creativity
  • Makes individuals feel validated and appreciated for their efforts


  • Takes away the pressure that is sometimes needed to compel people to work
  • Without a central authority, the chances of chaos increase

9. Fear Based Leadership

Fear Based Leadership

More common than you think, this style of leadership is exercised by many popular leaders today. This involves leaders who are not secure in their position and feel that other people are out there to get them or to take over their jobs. This insecurity makes them hoard all the power for themselves and not delegate any of it to their team. Such leaders are also hesitant to take risks and hence rarely see exponential growth within their organization


  • Keeps power central and thus inculcates unwavering obedience from followers
  • Needed in times of crisis


  • Makes people lose trust and faith in the brand and the leader
  • Prevents people from developing creativity or exercising freedom

10. Strategic Leadership

Strategic leadership involves leaders that play the long game and use their wisdom, skill, and knowledge to help an organization reach its short-term and long-term goals. Moreover, these leaders strive to motivate and coach individuals, so they can help them reach their full potential. Strategic leaders are very intuitive and generally use their years of experience to come up with important decisions. 


  • Helps team members make the best out of situations
  • Can help uplift a team or an organization that has lost all hope


  • May not be appreciated for their efforts as these leaders usually lead from behind
  • This may lead to slow progress at the start

11. Servant Leadership

Probably one of the most notable forms of leadership, at least in principle, this style requires leaders to serve others. It is embedded in a deep-rooted philosophy where the goal of the leader is to help others and decide for the good of everyone. Such leaders are different from traditional leaders, and their main focus is to help the company thrive and achieve exponential success for everyone involved. 


  • Helps uplift an organization and uplift minorities within it
  • Create a domino effect that inspires other leaders to change


  • A capitalistic world often corrupts leaders who join with a noble cause
  • Leaders often end up losing the dominance that is needed to hold control

12. Transformational Leadership

Leaders generally want to create a change within the status quo. For transformational leaders, this takes precedence over everything else. These leaders identify problems within the status quo, carry out thorough research, devise plans to fix the status quo, and then deliver on their promises. Some of the most popular transformational leaders include Martin Luther King and Muhammad Ali Jinnah. 


  • Help fix the minor and major issues of society
  • Have a high moral and ethical standards to follow


  • Transformational leaders tend to aspire to unrealistic goals
  • Requires a lot of capital and resources to fix the status quo

Which Is the Best Leadership Style Today?

The best leadership style is one that serves not just the leader, but also the organization that they are associated with. Inclusive, democratic, and participative leaders are quite popular because they serve the interests of the team and involve other people in the decision-making process. In short, there is no one best leadership style; it depends on how honest a leader is with their role and how much change they want to bring to the world. 

How to Identify Your Leadership Style?

There are a couple of questions you should always ask yourself if you are unsure of your leadership style. Your answers will determine the kind of leader you will make. Here are some important questions. 

1. Do I value goals more than relationships?

2. Do I believe in the absolute authority of the leader, or am I a champion of democracy?

3. Do I prefer involving other people in the decision-making process?

4. Do I focus more on the intrinsic or extrinsic form of motivation?

5. Do I prioritize short or long-term goals?

How to Identify Your Leadership Style?

Why Do You Need to Identify Your Leadership Style?

1. It Makes You Self-Aware

You need to identify your leadership style because only then can you learn to analyze yourself better and perfect your skills. For instance, if you identify yourself as an inclusive leader, you need to ensure that hiring from a diverse pool is integral to your role. 

2. It Gives You the Ability to Shift Styles

Unlike people believe, leadership styles are not stagnant. You do not have to be a certain type of leader all your life. If you have always been an autocratic leader, you can shift to a more progressive and democratic leader. You can add more inclusivity and diversity to your style. 

3. It Allows You to Conduct Thorough Research

Research is integral to self-awareness. It allows you to dig deeper into the leadership phenomenon and thus able to assess your style better. You can also read the stories of other more famous leaders and integrate characteristics from their leadership style. 

4. It Helps You Identify Issues With Your Style

A great benefit of knowing your leadership style is that it helps you identify issues with your leadership style. For example, a common trait associated with the charismatic leadership style is that it generates blind following. Knowing your style will help you identify the reasons you may be lacking in the field. 

5. It Helps You Make Amends

If you have been a non-progressive or autocratic leader that has always tried to dominate others, it is not too late to make amends. Knowing your leadership styles gives you a deeper understanding of what you are dealing with and how you can make amends. 

Enhance Your Leadership Style With Best Diplomats

Enhance Your Leadership Style With Best Diplomats

The world will have you believe that one leadership style is better than others. Some styles indeed make leaders more popular than others, but regardless of the style you adapt to, you must prioritize self-learning. 

An excellent way to enhance your leadership is to join Best Diplomats. It is a world-class training program that helps you kick-start your journey to success. By holding conferences in some of the major cities of the world including New York, Dubai, and Istanbul, Best Diplomats offers you a chance to explore yourself and find out your authentic leadership style. 


After reading about the 12 styles of leadership, you would have guessed that most styles overlap with each other. This is why you mustn’t put yourself in a box and feel restricted by a particular style. You can pick and choose from different styles and create your unique leadership patterns. This will not only help you stand out in the crowd, but will help you carve your path in this chaotic world. 


What Is Strong Leadership?

Strong leaders can sustain growth even in times of crisis. A good way to differentiate strong and weak leaders is to know how they act when things go south. During covid, the strongest leaders found a way to save their companies by taking an ulterior route. However, weaker leaders sat depressed and could not find a way to save their companies. 

What Are the Quality of a Good Leader?

Good leaders are few. They are the ones that actively try to bring transformation to society. They try to detect issues within the status quo and then find ways to improve it. Moreover, these leaders have a high moral and ethical compass and do not waver in their attributes. This makes them stand out in the crowd.

How to Be a Powerful Leader?

To be a powerful leader, you need to do the following things. 
1) Develop a good sense of verbal and non-verbal communication skills.
2) Take a good training course that will help you widen your perspective.
3) Ensure your team trusts in your leadership and supports you in times of crisis. 

Oleksandra Mamchii

Working as a academic lead at Best Diplomats.

Leave a Reply