5 Styles of Leadership You’ve Experienced

Having spent many years in the corporate environment, I’ve seen nearly every style of leadership you can imagine. I believe that leadership is a God given talent that comes from your soul, but you can study to refine that talent. If you take a management class you’ll usually see the same top 5  types of leadership, however, the best leaders are a combination of those styles. I’ll share with you the leaders who I came to admire over my career and some of their secrets to success.

Styles of Leadership

There are many different styles of leadership.  Some are listed in the textbooks, so you just have to meet to really understand.  Each of these styles of leadership have their own unique leadership skills that act as a catalyst to their style.  Coupled together, they make for great leaders.  It is important to try and combine some of these styles of leadership to make you a more dynamic and diverse leader.

The Parent – The parent is a busy man who supervises a large group of people. He isn’t feared, but he is respected. He is soft spoken but has a commanding presence and a paternal air about him that makes you feel as if he really cares about you as an individual. You work hard because, like a parent, you couldn’t bear for him to be disappointed in you.  This is one of the most often seen styles of leadership.

The Coach – The coach is energetic, up beat and competitive. When you’re part of his leadership team, every project is a race to the finish line, but he makes it exciting and there’s always a reward at the end. Team work is a top priority and he knows how to delegate fairly. He’ll take the time to teach you, and he knows what it takes to keep morale high.

The Flexible Leader – The flexible leader isn’t a pushover but she knows that there is more to life than your cubicle. She arranges a “work from home” schedule for a coworker who’s caring for an elderly parent and she understands if you’re 15 minutes late because your kid couldn’t find his shoes this morning. Employees feel that they are understood and appreciated, and in turn they do their best to exceed her expectations.

Daddy Warbucks – In tough economic times, layoffs come in waves like terrifying tsunamis that wash away coworkers leaving vacant offices where your friends sat only yesterday. Daddy Warbucks is a shrewd businessman with a sixth sense about these things. He makes strategic moves to take on high profile projects and has connections to trade off employees to other groups to adjust head count before the layoffs hit. Even though he shows no outward signs of affection, you know he’s looking out for you. He’s well respected and employees show their appreciation by always giving their best.

The Pioneer – The Pioneer’s team is the pacesetter for improving efficiency. Change management isn’t a problem for this group because the Pioneer’s enthusiasm to try new things is contagious. They’re always the first to test new systems or processes and are encouraged to come up with ideas to improve the company. Morale is high because employees feel appreciated and respected for taking on the extra responsibilities.

Without looking back at the list, can you come up with the three common denominators of these successful styles of leadership? If you said caring, respect and appreciation, then you understand that everyone is different, but we all need these three things to succeed in business.


Which Styles of Leadership do you see yourself leading with?

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