10 Leadership Styles with Examples


Leadership style can be defined as the technique and approach of providing direction, implementing plans, and method of motivating people. It is an acquired attribute that begins in early childhood and may evolve over time. An effective leader is not just aware that there are different leadership styles but also mixes and matches them to influence followers in a desired manner to achieve desired results.

Different leadership styles can be developed through training and practical experiences to boost organizational effectiveness and enhance performance output. Read, reflect and experiment with the ten leadership styles outlined here, to decide which leadership styles to employ to manage circumstances and achieve your intended goals.


  • Autocratic or Authoritarian Leadership

In this type of extreme leadership style, the leader possesses total authority and exercises complete power over the people.

Positives Negatives
  • enables leaders to impose their will and perspective on others


  • does not take others inputs into consideration


  • this style is considered good for getting routine jobs done by employees who require close supervision or in situations where decisions need to be made quickly.
  • no one is allowed to make suggestions or to question the decisions and instructions of autocratic leaders, even if it’s in the best interest
  •  people who like order, and set rules and instructions thrive under this kind of leadership
  • most creative people resent being treated this way.


Kim Jong-un

This leadership style is usually employed by military commanders. North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un exemplifies this leadership style.


Bureaucratic leaders work upon official rules fixed as duties by higher authorities and go strictly by the book to apply rules for management and taking decisions.

Positives Negatives
  • such leaders work rigorously to ensure that the procedures are

being followed precisely by those under them.

  • a serious drawback of bureaucratic leadership is that it has no scope for creativity and flexibility.


  • this leadership style helps fortify operational policies and work processes of the organisation.

This leadership style is mostly noticed in organisations where employees are involved in high-risk routine tasks such as in a manufacturing plant. Bureaucratic leadership is also employed at various levels in government agencies. In India, civil servants are a good example of bureaucratic leaders.


Charismatic leaders create a self-image so powerful that people are naturally drawn to them.

Positives Negatives
  • such leaders influence others by projecting the strengths of their personality
  • one major drawback of charismatic leaders is that they are more focused on themselves than their team
  • they are energetic, full of passion and believe in motivating others to move forward.
  •  can create the impression that a project would fail or an organisation would collapse if the leader abandons the team.


  • can be useful in boosting the organisations standing in the marketplace and in raising the morale of the team members at organisations
Narendra Modi- charismatic leadership

The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is often regarded as one of India’s most charismatic leaders. His party fought the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections in 2017 under his tutelage – highlighting his personal appeal to voters and recorded the greatest win for any party ever.


  •  Laissez- Faire Leadership

Laissez- faire leadership is based on trust. The leader is available to provide guidance and furnish the necessary resources only if the need arises.

Positives Negatives
  •  the leaders delegate the responsibility to take decisions to group members
  •  people who prefer supervision, careful monitoring, and clear instructions are often not comfortable working under the laissez- faire leadership style
  • allows people to work at their own pace and provides maximum scope for innovation and flexibility
  •  most effective with self- motivated employees
Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi was a laissez- faire leader. Gandhi believed that people should lead by example and be the change that they wish to see in the world so that others can follow.


  •  Participative or Democratic Leadership

Participative or democratic leaders give importance to the opinion of the team members and engage them in the decision- making process. This is normally used when you have part of the information, and your employees have other parts.

Positives Negatives
  •  boosts the morale of the team members as when the leader considers their inputs, it makes them feel valued and satisfied
  •  the leaders reserve the right to take final decisions
  •  makes employees  more willing to accept changes as they consider themselves a part of the decision-making process
  •  slows down the decision- making and can even affect efficiency
  • also marred by the likelihood that team members may not have adequate expertise to provide high-quality input
Carlos Gohsn

Carlos Ghosn, the chairman, and CEO of Renault believes that change in the organisation’s culture should not be forced by the top management but should come from the bottom level. He believes in empowering employees to take decisions and is quite reasonable when dealing with the subordinates


  • Relationship- oriented Leadership

Such leadership is focused on skilled interaction with people. Relationship oriented leaders inspire and motivate subordinates to achieve the team’s or organisation’s targets

Positives Negatives
  •  leaders assist subordinates in feeling positive about their career prospects and in navigating career opportunities through the quality of their work
  •  sometimes relationship oriented leaders may get carried away and put too much emphasis on the development of their team members than the project itself
  •  they are approachable, friendly, understand the needs of the employees and try to fulfiltheir expectations
  •   these leaders are dependent on the subordinates and seek their loyalty
  • people usually like working under such leadership and their productivity is also higher, as these leaders make the people want to be a part of the team
Mahendra Singh Dhoni

A good example of relationship-oriented leadership is Indian cricket team’s ex- captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni who is known for encouraging players and has led the team to many unbelievable victories.


Servant leaders lead by example and work behind the stage. Servant leadership is best suited for people who provide their services to non- governmental charity organisations or community development programmes.

Positives Negatives
  •  they are generous, have high integrity and work hard to fulfil all the requirements of their team
  • this type of leadership style is considered unfit for competitive tournaments.
  •  they also involve the whole team in the decision- making process and give equal credits to all team members for goals that are successfully achieved
  • servant leaders hesitate to take credits and recognition for their work
  •  servant leaders are said to have strong ethics and values
Mother Teresa- Servant Leadership

Mother Teresa is the perfect example of a servant leader. She invested her entire life to the service of people and her motives behind her desire to help others is unquestionable. She acquired mass- scale popularity over time, but she never strived to achieve personal recognition.


  • Transformational Leadership

It is usually considered the best leadership style to be used in business scenarios. They employ empathy and rapport to engage followers.

Positives Negatives
  • these leaders not only expect the best from their teams but also work hard to be the best at everything that they do
  •  may lack managerial skills at the practical level and require assistance from the staff.


  • known for taking new initiatives and promoting the flow of innovative ideas
  • good at increasing team engagement and inspiring subordinates to become more productive in their work
Steve Jobs - Transformational leadership

Steve Jobs is widely regarded as an iconic transformational leader. He worked hard and always challenged his employees to think bigger and better and inspired them to create extraordinarily successful products.


  • Task- Oriented Leadership

Task – oriented leadership is a behavioural approach that revolves around the proficiency of getting tasks done within set deadlines.

Positives Negatives
  •   they always aspire to set high standards with utmost efficiency
  •  task- oriented leaders are so strongly focused on increasing work efficiency and achieving goals that they often overlook their team’s well- being
  • they look for efficiency in their subordinates and provide clear instructions about the requirements and schedule
  •  may even exhibit autocratic leadership traits
  • subordinates who work best with easy to follow work structure and have a knack for method and management appreciate such leadership

Lenin, the Russian political leader and ideological figurehead behind Marxism- Leninism is viewed by supporters as a task- oriented leader who championed socialism and the working class.


Transactional leadership is interchangeably called managerial leadership. It is based on the idea of a transaction between the leader and the team members.

Positives Negatives
  •  the leader provides supervision, evaluates performance and sets goals
  • team members are punished by the leader for not meeting an appropriate standard
  •      team members are shown appreciation for their good work and consistent efforts in terms of rewards
  •   self- motivated people consider this as interference
  •     people who admire external rewards are often motivated to improve the quality of their work
Bill Gates

Bill Gates is a transactional leader who aims at inspiring positive changes in his followers. He is dedicated to his work, has a remarkable business vision. He expects the best from his subordinates and incorporates the reward- punishment motivation strategy.



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