Leadership Styles | Types of Leadership in Business, Politics, Education and More

Leadership Styles | Types of Leadership in Business, Politics, Education and More

A leadership style or type of leadership refers to a leader’s characteristics behaviors when directing, motivating, guiding, managing, and coaching groups of people.

Great leaders can inspire political movement, social change, innovation, peak performance, and productivity. In this article, we will reinforce leadership styles in three different sections;

Different leadership types can be developed through training and practical experience to boost organization excellence and effective performance.
Read, reflect, understand and experiment leadership styles’ outlines here, considering the pros & cons, decide which leadership to employ for managing circumstances and achieve your intended goal.

Business Leadership Styles

1. Transformational Leadership

It is generally considered to be the best leadership style in business scenarios. 

This type of leaders works with teams to identify intended changes; create a vision to guide the changes through inspiration and motivation. 

They provide rapport and empathy to his or her subordinates


  • These leaders expect best from the team and work hard to get the best with the team
  • They are known for taking new initiatives and promoting innovation


  • May lack managerial skill at the practical level; however, can inspire subordinates to do the best with him

2. Transactional Leadership

This leadership is also called managerial leadership; they work on the idea of a transaction between the leader and the team. 

They focus on supervision, organization, and performance, in which the leader promotes compliance through both rewards and punishment.


  • Team members are inspired, valued and feel motivated in this style of leadership
  • People who like external reward are often motivated to work with this type of leadership


  • Not good for self- motivated subordinates who want flexibility and productivity
  • Team members are often punished for not meeting the goal

3. Coercive Leadership

This kind of leadership can be summed up as ‘Do what I tell’. These kinds of leaders seek immediate compliance from subordinates, often show dictatorship and feel people devalued. 

Pacesetting leadership style is similar to this type of leadership as, pacesetting leadership is known as, “do as I do, now”.


  • Suitable at the time crisis within a business organization


  • Highly skilled and self-motivated people don’t work with this type of leadership
  • Creates a communication gap between the leader and the subordinates

4. Democratic Leadership

The democratic business leaders demonstrate many qualities of democratic political leaders. 

These kinds of leaders are focused on getting feedback, building environment for trust, commitment, and respect.


  • Promotes decision-making and helps to motivate team members
  • Makes employees more willing to accept challenges as they consider themselves as a part of the decision-making process


  • Often slows down a process and can affect the time of execution
  • Should be avoided when team members are not competent enough

5. Authoritative Leadership

In this style, visionary leaders take fair approaches to mobilize team members towards a specific goal. This kind of leader uses positional power to influence members and often known as ‘come with me’.


  • Suitable for quick and emergency decision-making
  • These leaders strengths lie on enthusiasm and the long-term direction


  • Don’t provide flexibility for innovation through its team member
  • Self-motivated people often fail to work with these leaders

6. Affiliative Leadership

Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos is one of the affiliative leaders, these kinds of leaders known for “people come first” policy. 

They praise and nurtures members to cultivate a sense of belongings within an organization. 

These leaders can produce strong emotional bonding and loyalty towards an organization.


  • Boosts morale of subordinates and employee
  • This style strengthens positive workplace


  • Constructive criticism may be left out in this type of leadership, consequently, an employee will likely to stay stagnant in their workplace performance

7. Coaching Leadership

Some leaders can maximize organizational efficiency and manpower utilization by acting like a coach instead of a boss. 

This style lets the leader find strength and weakness among employees and the leader can encourage the employees to improve themselves.


  • Suitable for innovation-related business leadership


  • Should not be used when employees are unwilling to learn or the leader lacks proficiency

8. Situational Leadership

Situation leadership gives emphasis on the significant influence of the environment and situation of leadership. 

There are two situational leadership theories; Hersey & Blanchrd’s leadership style and Blanchard’s SLII leadership style.


  • Suitable for change management, crisis management, and emergency management


  • Often seems to be autocratic, so it might be hard to inspire self-motivated people

Political Leadership Styles

1. Authoritative or Autocratic Leadership

Autocratic leaders provide a clear expectation of what needs to be done when it should be done and how it should be done. Authoritarian leaders make the decision independently with little or no input from rest of the group.

This style of leadership is strongly focused on both commands by the leader and control of the follower. There is also a clearer division between the leader and the members. 

In 1939, a group of researchers led by German psychologist Kurt Lewin concluded that it is harder to move from authoritarian style to democratic style and vice versa. 

Abuse of this method is often viewed as controlling, bossy and dictatorial.


  • Enables leaders to impose their will and perspective on others
  • Suitable for members who do routine jobs, where the decision needs to be made quickly


  • No one is allowed to make suggestion or question even if they are best suitable for the job
  • Creative & innovative people are less prone to become subordinates of this style of leadership

2. Democratic or Participative Leadership

Participative leaders give importance to the opinion of team members and engage them in the decision-making process. 

Lewin’s study concluded that this type of leadership is most efficient in politics. 

Member of this group are less productive than the authoritarian group, but their contributions were of higher quality.


  • Boost the morale of team members, make them valued satisfied.
  • Make members more willing to accept challenges, cultivate wisdom as they consider themselves as a part of the decision-making team


  • Slow down decision making and even it can affect efficiency
  • Leaders reserve the right of the final decision maker

3. Delegative or Laissez-Faire Leadership

Mahatma Gandhi was one of the famous Laissez-Faire leaders. This kind of leadership is based on trust. 

The leader is available to provide guidance and furnish necessary resources on demand. 

This type of leader leaves the decision making to group members, and take cognizance of the decisions.


  • Useful in a situation involving highly qualified experts
  • Allows people to work at their own pace and provide maximum scope for innovation & flexibility


  • High possibility of members to blame each other for mistakes, members might refuse to accept personal responsibility, and produces a lack of progress at work

4. Charismatic Leadership

Charismatic leadership is based on creating personal images by the way of eloquent communication, persuasion, and guerrilla marketing. 

The ethos of charismatic leadership is based on heroism; this is accomplished by conjuring up eagerness among people to achieve an intended goal.


  • Such leaders influence others by projecting the strength of their personal power
  • Can be useful in boosting the morale of an organization or a group of people
  • These leaders are motivating, passionate and believe in motivating others to move forward


  • The major drawback of charismatic leadership is they are focused on themselves than their team
  • Creates an impression that project will fail or society will collapse if the leader abandons his or her team
  • Without excellent execution skill, this leaders can only inspire people with less cognitive intelligence

Additional Leadership Styles

1. Servant Leadership

Nobel laureate Mother Teresa is one of the famous servant leader, this kind of leadership is used in non-government charity organization as well as community development organization.
A servant leader works behind the stage, leads by an example, shares power puts the needs of others first and helps people perform & develop as good as possible.


  • They involve the whole team in the decision-making process and gives high credits to the team members
  • Servant leaders are known for their ethics, morality, integrity, and principle


  • Servant leader hesitate to take recognition and credit for their work
  • This kind of leadership style is not suitable for the competitive environment

2. Bureaucratic Leadership

These types of leaders are based on positional power and have to work according to the book. 

Bureaucratic leaders work on official rules set by higher authority, keeping the work according to the rules and regulation set by laws and management principles.


  • These types of leaders work rigorously to ensure that procedures are followed precisely by those under them


  • This leadership is bound to positional power and organizational laws
  • There is no scope for innovation and flexibility in this leadership skill.

3. Relationship-oriented Leadership

Relationship-oriented leaders inspire and motivate teams to achieve organizational goal. 

They are focused on skilled interaction with people; they are friendly, approachable and understand the needs of his or her subordinates.
This kind of leadership is often practiced in sports & culture. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, former captain of Indian cricket team is known for his relationship-oriented leadership skill.


  • Leader assist subordinates to feel positive and assist in their promotion depending upon the quality of work
  • People like working with this kind of leaders as they promote the growth of the subordinates


  • Sometimes relationship-oriented leader put too much emphasis on the development of the team than the project itself

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