Of course, you can! Asking if you can have multiple leadership styles is like asking if you can have multiple dimensions in your personality. If your partner asked you, “Do you act the same way when you’re with the kids as you’re when you’re with your friends?” – you would answer “Of course not!” Two modes of behavior to suit the circumstance doesn’t mean that you are two separate people! In the same way, each leader is unique and has a different combination of leadership styles.
5 Examples of Leadership Styles
It’s important to understand leadership styles so you can find the right combination for your personal work style.
Related: Why Leadership Is Important In Life
1. Servant Leadership
Servant leadership is a leadership style based on the principles of servanthood.
A servant leader is committed to the success of others and serves them in a way that promotes their growth.
Servant leaders seek to be available and responsive while trying to understand exactly what those they serve are trying to accomplish and how to accomplish it.
Servant leaders understand the importance of protecting ideas and promoting personal and professional growth by supporting others when challenges need to be solved and making them feel heard, guiding them, and providing feedback when needed.
What distinguishes this idea from the old leadership ideals is that servant leaders are willing to be led by others, that they put others before themselves, and that they serve others above all else.
Servant leadership can be a good solution for those who’re looking for a non-traditional way to lead their employees.
2. Autocratic Leadership or Authoritarian Leadership
Autocratic leaders are characterized by their confidence and decisiveness and lead through orders and instructions. They know what they want and expect their subordinates to work without further instructions.
Autocratic leaders (or authoritarian leaders) don’t have to ask them for permission before performing a task, provided you have the skills and resources to complete the task.
Autocratic leaders don’t like surprises. So if your plans call for a drastic change in approach or procedure, you should let them know beforehand.
As an autocratic leader, you may wonder if everyone will agree with your decisions once you’ve made all the necessary arrangements.
You may also have to deal with sycophants who seem to agree with you but are only expressing what they think are your views.
3. Democratic Leadership or Participative Leadership
People with a democratic leadership style recognize the value of group input and encourage their employees to use it.
Democratic leaders (or participative leaders) may ask for feedback, make suggestions, democratically elect a team leader, or allow their employees to take leadership roles.
This is much more difficult than having a dictator set the agenda, but it shows that you trust your employees and help them feel more involved and valued.
The intent behind democratic leadership is to give all members of the organization or community (collectively known as the constituency) an equal opportunity to be heard and understood.
The collective participation of all participants in a democracy ensures that their individual needs are better met, while also providing a common ground that allows for constructive and healthy collaboration through discussion, further enhancing understanding between participants.
4. Bureaucratic Leadership
The bureaucratic leadership style is a management technique focused on efficiency and consistency, requiring subordinates to follow specific rules, strategies, and guidelines in every predictable situation.
In such workplaces, employees are given standardized instructions and are expected to complete the same types of tasks using the same method every time.
Bureaucratic leaders adhere to step-by-step procedures without qualifying what’s happening around them or deviating from established practices.
The bureaucratic leadership style is most commonly used in larger companies or organizations where consistency is important for efficient workflow.
They focus mainly on structure, following rules, and maintaining the hierarchy. Although this leadership or management style has some disadvantages, it’s still useful in certain situations where clear and strict leadership is required.
5. Transformational Leadership
They focus on their people and engage them in a positive way so they support the vision of the organization. They’re good at building relationships and inspiring their teams to achieve their goals.
The concept of transformational leadership is a popular leadership theory that looks at how leaders develop loyalty and create an organizational culture for change.
A transformational leader isn’t just concerned with implementing new programs or solving problems.
Transformational leaders find their organization’s biggest problems and seek to change the culture to achieve desired results.
Instead of developing new programs, these leaders develop new attitudes and cultures to achieve the goals of the people around them.
This can be beneficial to an organization because it fosters innovation, collaboration, and a willingness to work together by opening the channels of communication between leadership and employees.
Transformational Leadership vs Transactional Leadership
There are many similarities between transformational leaders and transactional leaders, and the two styles are often compared, however, transactional leadership is a different leadership style to transformational leadership, but it is possible to be a transformational leader as well as a transactional leader.
Leadership Styles That Work Well Together
The theory of situational leadership states that leaders should adapt their leadership style to the situation at hand. So if you want to be successful as a leader, you need to be able to adapt. Situational leaders are able to use the right leadership style for a particular situation.
How Many Leadership Styles Can You Combine?
In order to get the best results in any situation, it may be necessary for you to familiarize yourself with the different leadership styles so that you can apply them all at once when needed.
This way, you can make sure you’re giving all employees what they need from a leadership perspective and make them feel like their voice is being heard, which is incredibly important when it comes to morale and motivation.
The best leaders recognize their strengths and weaknesses and then hire people who can fill in the gaps.
Related: Do Humans Need Leadership
3 Examples of Charismatic Leaders Who Displayed More Than One Communication and Leadership Style
The best strategic leaders in history have always been those who could combine different leadership styles to get the best results.
1. Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi was a great visionary leader and he’d multiple leadership styles. There are four different leadership styles that Gandhi used.
He was a charismatic leader and often used inspirational speeches and writings to get people to follow him.
He was able to lead by example and he did this by not owning many material possessions, eating only a vegetarian diet, and walking barefoot most of the time. He was also able to transform others (transformational and transactional leadership).
By teaching and preaching nonviolence, Gandhi inspired his followers to change their beliefs and actions from violence to nonviolence.
He showed great servant leadership, was an effective leader and inspired many with his visionary leadership.
Gandhi believed in the importance of asking for help from those who knew more than he did. He often asked experts in their fields, such as lawyers or writers, for help when he needed it.
2. Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill had many leadership styles that he used throughout his life. He was a military man, a successful politician, and an artist.
Winston Churchill’s leadership style had many different aspects, but there were two main components.
The first was his ability to make speeches and win people over to a cause.
The second was his ability to not lose sight of his goal despite all the obstacles that stood in his way. In many ways, he led by example.
He was always willing to do what was necessary for the common good. He knew that if he focused on the goal, it would help him overcome the challenges along the way.
As a democratic leader, he was a strong advocate of civil service reform and planning. He was also a bureaucratic leader who believed in structure and discipline.
Churchill could be charismatic and charming, he could be an excellent orator.
3. Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs was a highly successful transformational leader who’d many different leadership styles.
He’d different leadership styles that he used to lead his team, from an autocratic to a transformational leader.
The most common leadership style Jobs was known for was his autocratic leadership style. This particular leadership style is also known as an autocratic leadership style, which he combined with transformational leadership.
How to Figure Out Which Style is Right for You
The most effective leaders have the ability to be visionaries and motivate their people. If you want to become a leader, it’s important to know how to combine these two styles to inspire those around you.
Telling vs. Selling
“Telling” leaders use an authoritarian approach that gives clear instructions on what to do and why, while the leadership style of “S_elling_” is to convey enthusiasm and passion for a particular course of action.
Both styles can be effective when used correctly and in the right context, but there are some differences between them.
Telling Leaders believe in exercising their authority over their employees while Selling Leaders are more likely to work with their team members.
5 Ways to Lead
The best leadership skill is the one that makes the most of your talents and the strengths of your employees or followers. It also depends on the situation, your area of expertise, your experience, your personality, and the people you lead. In addition, there are different communication styles that work best in some contexts and less so in others.
This communication style is characteristic of those who make decisions and give direction to their employees. The leader may delegate tasks but makes sure they’re done correctly. This autocratic style is usually used in times of crisis or when the task requires someone with expertise.
This leadership style is characterized by the manager delegating tasks to their employees and getting them to take responsibility for the project. Typically, this style is used for routine tasks that don’t require the manager’s expertise.
This style is characterized by the leader working with followers to achieve a goal or complete a project together as a team. The leader incorporates his or her own expertise and ideas, as well as those of his or her followers, to determine how to achieve the goal. This communication style can be used for both routine and non-routine tasks.*
The coaching leadership style is characterized by the leader working with the group member not only on completing specific tasks but also as coaching leaders who will be developing the skills that will help the person become more effective in his/her role.
Laissez faire leaders believe in trust.
A Laissez-faire leader trusts his employees to do their jobs and work hard because they know that everyone (including themselves) will benefit if they make the company successful.
For example, in Laissez-faire leadership, leaders say things like, “I’m happy to go over your quarterly reports with you. I’m sure you can use them as a good source of information for your own reports in the meantime.”
These types of non-authoritative leaders are relaxed and easy-going.
They don’t hover over their employees’ shoulders or put obstacles between them and the tasks they need to complete. They give direction, but let employees and followers figure out the best way to get there themselves.
Laissez-faire leadership works best when the leader is highly competent and confident in their ability to get results.
In this case, it’s actually true that “the blind can lead the blind” because laissez-faire leaders inspire others to follow them without using an autocratic leadership style. This can be an effective leadership style for creative ventures where followers need freedom and independence to do their best work.
Do Leadership Styles Evolve?
Like personality, leadership styles evolve with experience.
While it’s possible for a leader to change their style, most will do so when necessary (e.g., when the situation calls for it).
In leadership theory, determination is a key characteristic of all great leaders.
There are many examples of men and women who’ve become charismatic leaders because they have the determination to do what others wouldn’t.
Successful leaders have a clear and focused vision with a sense of purpose and goals.
They’re decisive and able to act decisively when necessary, which sometimes means changing or improving their leadership style.