Leadership is a word that creates connotations of strict authority, high power and self-importance. But this isn’t always the way in which business leaders see themselves or treat their job role.
There are many different methods to leading a team to success and everyone has an approach to how they exercise their leadership authority.
We want to delve deeper into this and find out exactly what types of leadership styles exist and give you the chance to find out which one you are!

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Based on information from the Leadership Foundation, here are some of the main leadership styles.

Autocratic Business Leader

graphic of one person holding a stick to a group of people

This is a style that can perhaps be better known as authoritarian. It involves the leader exercising full control over their team and every decision made. They like to express how they want a task to be undertaken and expect it to be done that way. They try to take on everything themselves and are reluctant to hand over important tasks to team members. They trust their own judgement on decisions to be made and don’t rely on the opinion of others.

  • Decisive – When a decision needs to be made quickly, they have no qualms about doing so. This leads to tasks being completed efficiently and without hesitation halting the process.
  • Total Control – By exercising full control over every process it means every decision is consistent.
  • Aware of Everything – An autocratic leader likes to keep an eye on every employee and the work they produce. This means less chance of employees ‘slacking off’, which is effective for team members that respond well to order.
  • Takes Responsibility – Employees don’t have to worry about making crucial decisions or mistakes as there is no question about what is expected.


  • Neglects Input – By adopting an autocratic approach, it means the leader is not open to any ideas from the team. This means a lot of missed opportunities and chances for the business to benefit.
  • Morale – Employee morale may take a hit as often the leader can come off as unapproachable and strict.
  • Insensitive – Autocrat’s tend to be less sensitive to the feelings of others and can create bad working relationships.
  • Not Persuasive – They have a hard time trying to persuade others outside of the company as their nature is not overly personable.

Example: Margaret Thatcher

Democratic Leader

graphic of people all putting their hands together

This is also known as participative leadership. Team members are encouraged to join in on the decision making and discussion is had amongst the group to decide the best course of action. However, the final say lies with the leader as they offer guidance and they take control during a meeting. They favour creativity and participation and enjoying considering other viewpoints.

  • Better problem solving – As group discussion is encouraged, it leads to better solutions and free flowing ideas.
  • Valued Employees – Employees have a sense of feeling valued, which leads to more productivity.
  • Communication – A democratic leader is often approachable as they are more open to communication and ideas within the group. This forges better working relationships and reduces staff turnover.
  • Teamwork – This leadership style builds strong teams that are able to work together effectively towards one aim.


  • Apologetic – Often where people have demonstrated a democratic leadership style, employees will become expectant that their views will be taken on board and put into place. This will result in the leader feeling it necessary to apologise.
  • Indecisive – This type of leader does not function well making quick and snappy decisions. They like to include everyone and get the overall opinion of other before going ahead, which can delay processes.
  • Deadlines – It is usually a characteristic of a democratic leader that they are not reliable with deadlines. This is because they like to take their time to explore all possibilities before completing a task.

Example: D. Eisenhower

Laissez-faire Leader

graphic of figures putting together a giant puzzle

This can also be referred to as the delegative approach. It involves the leader demonstrating a very hands off style, allowing team members to make decisions. The leader will provide the tools needed and leave the team to get on with it, solve their own problems and decide their own goals. Will only communicate with the team when they are approached to.

  • Time-saving – This is a particularly positive approach where there is a highly skilled team that works best independently. Ultimately, it saves time for the leader as they don’t need to provide guidance and can concentrate on their work.
  • Job Satisfaction – Team members may feel a greater sense of job satisfaction and trust from gaining the ability to make their own decisions.


  • Unsupportive – Where employees don’t have the knowledge or experience to work without guidance, it will cause people to feel unsupported and unable to do their job.
  • Unproductive – Too much free reign may cause employees to ‘slack off’.
  • Responsibility – The opportunity to offload the blame for decisions onto employees.

Example: Warren Buffett
Don’t feel that that any of those business leader categories sum you up well enough? These are some other types:
Charismatic – Sometimes named transformational leaders, they express charm and persuasiveness, with great commitment and knowledge to a cause. Their approach consists of instilling enthusiasm in others to motivate them towards a vision.
Bureaucratic – This type of leader relies on rules, hierarchy and organisation. They reward behaviour that conforms to guidelines and solves problems by control.
Servant – Servant leaders allow for the whole team to be involved in decision making. They will display characteristics of generosity, integrity and will prefer to sit back and allow the team to take positive credit for the decisions and actions taken.
Task Oriented – This type of leader will focus only on getting the job done. Much like the autocratic leader, they will expect it to be done whilst monitoring very closely. However, they will not take into account who is completing a task or how it is done, only when it is completed.
Transformational – Transformational business leaders are concerned with change. They have a vision that excites others and are determined to complete their goals. After inspiring others to join in on their vision, they will lead the way with a defined plan and stand up for what they believe in.
Let us know which one you think you are!
No matter what type of business leader you are, you can lead your team to success with our amazing ERP software. Find out more and get a FREE demo here.