If you are having trouble inspiring your team, meeting strategic growth goals, or stabilizing your workforce, you may not have to look to far to find the problem. Sometimes, a poor fit between leadership management style and business goals can create obstacles that cost the company time, talent, and ultimately money.

What is Your Leadership Management Style?

Depending on who you ask, there are anywhere from 4 to 10 different management styles. Most leaders naturally gravitate in one direction or another, and that can affect the efficiency, productivity, and engagement of your team. Where do you think you fit in?

1.     Democratic

Democratic leaders listen to their staff, engage them in company decisions, and trust them to handle day-to-day affairs. However, they also can act as judge or referee when internal conflict arises.

2.     Autocratic or Authoritative

Authoritative leaders take a top-down approach, setting expectations for employees to meet. They generally make company decisions with little input from their direct reports and hold to strict codes of discipline.

3.     Transactional

Transactional leaders reward staff for the precise work they do. They establish roles and responsibilities for each employee and use incentives to encourage staff to meet or exceed their goals.

4.     Bureaucratic

Bureaucratic leaders rely on conventions and established structures to provide stability to their companies. They may consider staff input, but only when those ideas are in line with the company’s existing practices.

5.     Transformational

Transformational leaders push their companies to be something new or better. They often set ambitious deadlines and motivate employees to push their limits and grow personally and professionally.

6.     Pacesetting or Results-Oriented

Results-Oriented leaders care most about efficiency. They care less about how employees meet their goals than how well or quickly the job gets done. Some pacesetters may lead by example, working long hours or pushing for higher sales.

7.     Hands-Off or Laissez-Faire

Hands-off leaders generally allow the staff to run the business. They delegate tasks and authority, taking a laissez-faire approach to direct employee supervision. They trust their employees to get the job done.

8.     Inspirational or Charismatic

Inspirational leaders put their people first. They use empathy and strong interpersonal skills to encourage employees to develop their own professional strengths. However, when taken to extremes, a charismatic leader can sometimes become a servant, valuing employees over the business’s bottom line.

9.     Coach

Coaching leaders put a high value on the members of their team. They identify employees’ strengths and weaknesses and motivate them to improve their skills. They set clear expectations and focus on creating a positive working environment.

10.  Strategic or Visionary

Strategic managers set a course and allow their staff to oversee implementation of day-to-day tasks. They focus on the overarching vision for the company rather than the details of its operation.

What Worked as a Startup May Not Be the Key to Growth or Sustainable Business Goals

Different situations require different responses. Changes to your leadership team, company culture, or business goals can turn existing habits into obstacles and push your business in the wrong direction. Emergencies, crunch times, and shifts in your strategic model can all require you to adjust your leadership strategy. For example, a crisis may require a short-term shift toward authoritative leadership, while a growing business prioritizes transformation. Stability may require a more bureaucratic or democratic style.

Executive Coaching Helps You Learn Effective Leadership Management

No new skill comes without two things (1) training and (2) practice. Working with an executive coach, you can develop the interpersonal and managerial skills to shift from one leadership style to another better suited to your business goals. You aren’t locked into an ineffective leadership management style just because it comes naturally. When your leadership strategies don’t match your business goals, you can choose to learn new management styles that will continue to guide your direct reports and employees toward success – for themselves and the whole business. An executive coach can help you define your current leadership management style, identify how this helps or hinders your company, and develop a new style to move your business forward.


David Stanislaw is an organizational development specialist with over 30 years’ experience helping business owners develop leadership management skills to drive their businesses. Through one-on-one executive coaching, David helps CEOs and executives develop the skills to lead their employees. Contact us to meet with David and advance your professional development today.