6 Leadership Styles And Their Effectiveness


When you are put in a leadership role, you are given the responsibility to achieve results through your team.  You are given the accountability to give your team the tools and resources they need to be extraordinary.  There are many different leadership styles and each style can achieve results.  Is there an absolute right type of leader?  In my opinion, there are certain leadership types that bring short term results and other types that will effect positive long-term results.  While some leadership types may be extremely effective in the immediate situation, it may create disengagement long-term.


“Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions.” –  Harold S. Geneen

Here are 6 Leadership Styles


1. Dominating Leaders

The dominating leader is very directive and no matter what level of experience their employee has, this leader will still direct what their team should do.  They tend to believe their way is the best way and the quickest way.  They are not strong delegators.

Effective when:  A new vision is in place and guidance is needed.  The dominating leader also works well with an employee who is inexperienced in a certain area of responsibility.

This leadership style will demotivate a team who is extremely competent in their scope of responsibility, or with an employee who is a consistent performer.


2. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Leader

The Jekyll and Hyde Leader can be a super motivator when results are high and the team is performing above standard.  “All is good”, the boss is happy and employees are happy.  It is when results are not present or when there are performance issues that we see the what the leader is really about.  This type of leader likes to find fault and point the finger away from him.  The real test of a leader is not what happens when things are going right, it is when times are tough that the real measurement comes.

Effective When:  Performance is high.  This leader can be an amazing cheerleader.  This leader’s effectiveness is short term.

This type of leadership can be extremely frustrating during times when the team needs this leader the most.  The inconsistency of not knowing what to expect builds distrust in the team.


“Don’t find fault, find a remedy”. – Henry Ford


 3. Me…Me…Me Leader

I once had a leader that was too busy talking about herself and her accomplishments that she never took the time to figure out what her team was really doing.  The “It’s all about Me” leader is out for his glory and accomplishments.  He will push for a team’s success but take recognition for his own.  To identify this leader only listen for the following words when he describes accomplishments, “I did…I made… I…I…I” vs “We”.  This leader tends to be secretive as well, for fear that someone else’s success will outshine theirs.


This type of leader creates frustrated and disengaged employees.


“Ultimately, leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It’s about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high and the consequences really matter. It is about laying the groundwork for others’ success, and then standing back and letting them shine.” –  Chris Hadfield


4. Laissez-Faire Leaders

A laissez-faire leader lacks direct supervision of employees.  Under his supervision, if employees are to do any sort of development, it needs to be done on their own.  Highly experienced and trained employees requiring little supervision do great with this type of leadership.  In fact, the freedom and macro management style can be motivating to a high performing employee.  However, not all employees possess this characteristic which can lead to poor performance.

Performance issues are not addressed which in turn can frustrate the team.


[tweetthis]When a leader doesn’t address a problem, the problem is no longer the problem. The leader is the problem.[/tweetthis]


5. Inspirational/Coaching Leaders

With inspirational leaders, the organization will see improvement.  This leader has a plan and a vision for the company and his team.  There is an alignment between this leader’s priorities, the team’s priorities and the company’s priorities.  This leader is seen as a coach and develops people for the future.  In one phrase, this style can be summed up by, “What do you think”?  In opposition of the “Me” leader, this type of leader give credit and creates an ownership mindset.  He trusts and is trustworthy.


The Inspirational/Coaching leader produces faithful followers and works best when the leader wants to help his team build lasting strengths.


6. Building Leaders / Empowering Leaders

This leadership style exhibits all the great qualities of an Inspirational/Coaching Leader with one MAJOR difference.  The Empowering Leader gives responsibility away.  This type of leader sets clear expectations of where the destination is, but empowers the team to find their own transportation in order to get there.  This leader hires to their weaknesses to produce a solid team.  They don’t produce great followers.

Empowering leaders produce great leaders.


They work hard on investing in themselves, so they in turn can help develop others.  Their priorities become not in achieving results themselves but empowering their teams to achieve results for the team.

To tell if a team is guided by an empowering leader, look at the team’s performance when the leader is not present.


If you want to build long-term success, look to the traits of a Building Leader.  This type of style will achieve the greatest results and build the strongest team.

If you want to know what style of leadership style you fall into, ask your team the following questions:

  • What type of support do I provide?
  • Do you feel recognized for your accomplishments?
  • Are you receiving the support necessary to move you to your next stage of development?
  • Is it clear what you need to do to achieve great results?
  • (When times are tough) What do you need from me in order to move forward and change these results? What else?
  • What priorities are you working on and what actions will get you there?

The best feedback you can get on your leadership effectiveness is from your team.


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