The Leadership Series: The 6 most common leadership styles

4th April 2023 | 3 min read

LABS_Leadership_Blog-Header1-The Leadership Series: The 6 most common leadership styles

Introducing our new series of articles based around the theme of ‘leadership’, beginning with a dive into the different types of leadership styles and what benefits and challenges they might have within business today.

Anyone of working age will be familiar with the different types of leadership styles that exist in modern life from the dictatorial to the delegated. There are certain characteristic behaviours people display when managing people such as how much control they like to exert or what role rewards play. 

The way people lead is likely to be influenced by a number of factors from the family dynamic they grew up with to bosses they’ve worked for previously to levels of emotional intelligence (how empathetically you handle interpersonal relationships). That’s not to say we can’t change the way we behave when we’re in charge, but it might be useful to examine where our strengths are and where we perhaps need to improve, as well as examine how we best communicate. How people lead is commonly categorised into six different styles:



Good for quick decision making and where decisive action is necessary. 

Its detractors would say it encourages controlling or dictatorial behaviour. It can also create an ‘Us and Them’ scenario between team members and a manager which can fuel disgruntlement among staff.



Also known as participative leadership this leadership style involves plenty of discussion between team members and their manager, with the latter having the final say. This can encourage and motivates the team but it can be time-consuming reaching a concensus. 


Laissez Faire

A ‘hands off’ style where responsibility for decision making is delegated to team members. Its champions believe this style empowers employees, particularly those who are creative and self-motivated but it can lead to the team being steered way off course, causing chaos. 



A style that offers incentives for completing certain tasks and possibly penalties for poor performance. Good for the achievement of specific performance benchmarks but it can stifle creativity and lateral thinking and may lead to staff churn and lower long-term job satisfaction. 



High-levels of emotional intelligence and exceptional communication skills are among the traits of a transformational leader. These managers focus on organisational change and growth but the commitment demanded from team members can sometimes result in burnout.  


Servant Leadership

As the name suggests, this is where the leader is essentially a servant to the team, putting the team members’ needs above their own in order to inspire them and achieve a high quality of work. Critics of this style point to a lack of agility. 


One thing to bear in mind is that no one leadership style fits all companies or situations and there may even be an argument to switching between different types of leadership. A lot can depend on the type of organisation, the type of work involved, the experience and skills required and the team leader’s own personality. This is why it’s important to understand all the pros and cons of the different leadership styles.