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Common Leadership Styles - Which One Is for You?

If you are reading this you are one of three types of people: either you aspire to be a leader, are a leader or have a desire to be well-led.

Have you ever noticed that great leaders make the news? It is because it is a rare quality to be able to truly inspire a group of people to want to be better, do better and believe your organization's mission is a worthy one.

Leadership is a popular word that is also a powerful quality. By definition, leadership is the act of guiding a team or individual to achieve a certain goal through direction and motivation. This quality can take an organization from good to great. But a lack of good leadership can take an organization from mediocre to nonexistent.

We live in the information age; a period in human history characterized by the shift from industrial production to one based on information and computerization. A person can rise to a leadership position overnight with a simple blog or a post about an experience. Although people from different backgrounds have different ideals of leadership, they still have ideas and expectations about this concept. Great leaders have a considerable impact regardless of their generation, gender, or religious affiliation.

Good leaders are often self-aware and intentional. To be those things, you must be able to identify your personal leadership style. It's important to note that no one leadership style is always better than another leadership style. The bigger focus is which one fits who you are and the organization you serve.

Let's look at five common leadership styles and see which one identifies and inspires you:

Servant Leadership

Servant leadership puts the needs, growth, and well-being of followers first. In other words, these types of leaders possess a serve-first mindset and prioritize their organization, employees, and community above themselves.

Coaching Leadership

Coaching leadership is defined by the leader's ability to see the strengths and weaknesses of individual team members so that the leader can help each individual grow and succeed.

Democratic Leadership

Democratic leadership is the ability to welcome and value others' input, rely heavily on team participation, and facilitate discussions that enable multiple members of their group to weigh in on decisions.

Autocratic Leadership

Autocratic leadership is having complete authoritarian control over a team in a work environment.

Transactional Leadership

Transactional leadership focuses on results, conforms to the existing structure of an organization and measures success according to that organization's system of rewards and penalties.

As you can see, each style of leadership has value and merit all on its own. If you are or aspire to be a leader, then it’s important to identify the form of leadership that best suits your personality. You can then determine how to use your leadership in ways that will benefit you and your organization.

Take some time to reflect on and identify what kind of leader you are or could be and secondarily to identify what type of leader would be great for you to be well-led. Consider this quote:

He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still. – Lao Tzu

We’ve all known some great leaders and some less than great ones. Tell us in the comments about your best leader.

If you need a little extra help finding great leaders, we can help! Feel free to reach out and connect with one of our human resource and recruiting experts. Contact us at or

703-362-0175 to set up a time to discuss how our team can support you.


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