Types of Leadership Styles (With Examples) and Qualities of a leader

Read this article to learn about Leadership Types and Qualities of a leader

A good leader is very imperative for any team. The world has had its fair share of some great leaders including Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Che Guevara, Margaret Thatcher, and many more. However, we must note that none of them had the same personality, but had a few same qualities that made them stalwarts of their respective nations.


There are various types of leadership. Some are autocratic, while others are democratic. Some are accommodating of new ideas, while some want to stick to their own norms and rules. Some are laid back while others are go-getters.

Types of leadership

To find the type you are- go through these, and find which fits you the best.

  1. “Do as I say” – Autocratic Leadership style

Usually, these types of leaders think that they are the smartest and best-skilled people out of everyone in the room. They make all the decisions for the team without any input from the team members. This was present in the past, especially when many of these types of leaders were also present in politics. This type of leadership was reflected in Adolf Hitler, Genghis Khan and many more.

Fear not, not everything is negative about this type of leader. This leadership style works best in a situation where no one is stepping up to make a decision and the decision needs to be made at the earliest. It also works when you are working with someone inexperienced or new

  1. “Follow me”- Authoritative Leadership style 

These type of leaders sets the expectation and marks the milestone. This is the mark of a confident leader as they energize people on the way. In a back-ground of uncertainty, these people help to lift the fog from people’s heads.

Unlike autocratic leaders, authoritative leaders take the time to explain their thinking: They don’t just issue orders. Most of all, they allow people choice and latitude on how to achieve common goals. An example that proves our point is Vladimir Putin

  1. “Do as I do” –  Pacesetting Leadership Style

Pacesetters will usually be coaches of sports teams wherein they push their students or team members to achieve a particular goal. They set the bar high, and continuously modify their milestones. This type of leader will keep his eye on the ball at all times, and will never give up. On the surface, this type of leader seems great, but dig deeper and you can find signs of burn out in his team members.

“Many employees feel overwhelmed by the pacesetter’s demands for excellence,” Goleman, a psychologist notes, “and their morale drops.”

  1. “What Do You Think?”- Democratic style

Unlike the types mentioned above, this leadership type does not involve a top-down process of learning. A leader that is democratic will ask his/her team members before taking a crucial decision. This is a participative leadership style where things are decided upon through consensus.

The benefit of this leadership style is that it can make the team members more cooperative. This will also make them feel more valued as they feel as if they are part of the decision making process. Examples of this type of leader include Mahatma Gandhi, Obama.

Read: Ideological similarities and differences between Gandhi and Ambedkar!

  1. “I trust you, do what you think is best” – Laissez-faire style

The laissez-faire leadership style is at the opposite end of the autocratic style. This involves the least amount of oversight. This type of leader often lets people swim with the current.

However, there are limitations to this. A laissez-faire leader may be seen as someone who trusts their employees but if taken too far, may seem like someone aloof of what is happening in their team. This style can work only if you are leading high skilled employees who are very experienced. A PhD supervisor can afford to adopt this style but a school teacher cannot.

The best kind of leadership is a combination of all of these. One must adopt a style that suits their situation. This is called situational leadership theory and it refers to the adoption of different leadership styles according to the requirement and development level of the team. This highlights your adaptability as a leader.

Let’s focus on the qualities that a leader must develop in him/herself.

These qualities include:

  1. Vision: Great Leaders can see into the future (not literally though). They have the fantastic ability of foresight where they can predict the consequences of their action. They have a clear and exciting idea of where they want to go with the team and what they want to accomplish.


  1. Courage: Courage translates into the ability to take risks. Their resilience is also high. Even if they encounter failure the first time, they will be sure to get back up and lead the way to success.


  1. Communication: Effective leaders are effective communicators. They have to guide a large team and thus have to make sure that the message transmission within the team is fast and clear. Effective communication also includes the ability to persuade and influence people.


  1. Decisiveness: A good leader can take decisions. They can take ownership of bad decisions and give credit to the team for good ones. The leader must be willing to take the risk, keeping in mind, even if their decision fails they will be held accountable for it.


  1. Charisma: People are willing to follow the lead of the people they like. Charismatic leaders have the necessary charm and approachability that makes them likeable.


  1. Positive Attitude: A leader should be optimistic about the outcomes of the company. He/she must keep the team motivated and keep the energy of the team-up. That could mean anything, from asking about the health of your team members to remembering little details about them. This quality makes you more likeable in the eyes of your team.


  1. Team player: This is one of the most fundamental qualities of a leader. A leader must know when to take the back seat in a team. The leader should be able to become a follower when needed, and when she/he feels that someone else in the team might be more experienced in a particular field than the leader.

“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.” Says John Maxwell. However no leader is the same, you must focus on enhancing some capabilities that you have out of the above, instead of trying to have all of them.

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Saanjh Shekhar is a first-year student of Lady Shri Ram College. She is studying sociology and is passionate about the subject. She loves writing and debating. Her other interests include reading lots of fiction. She's a fan of all things classic, including movies and books. If you ever want to have deep discussions about life or even light ones about social conditioning, you can hit her up on her Insta id which is saanjh_shekhar