4 Common Leadership Styles and How You Can Inspire Your Team with Them

June 28, 2023 – Do you consider yourself a visionary? Or more of a consensus-building type of leader?

Leadership experts say your style of leading is shaped by several factors, all of which can impact the team you lead and the business you run.

What is Positive Leadership?

Being a positive leader comes from an area in positive psychology that deals with leadership styles, techniques and behavior.

“So what does positive leadership look like in action? It looks like leaders who care, who empower their employees, and who support their employees,” writes author and researcher Courtney E. Ackerman in a Positive Psychology blog.

“For example, a leader who cares will respond to a rare mistake from their most productive employee with concern and compassion rather than condemnation.”

There are four critical “positive leadership” styles as explained by social intelligence expert Daniel Goleman and researchers Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee, says the blog by Ackerman.

Take a look at the following styles these experts have put together. You may find inspiration or validation for your own style of leadership.

Visionary (or Authoritative) Leaders

These leaders have an ambitious vision and inspire others to pursue them.

If you fall into this category, your style comes with the ability to provide guidance, encouragement, and a solid understanding to your team about what lies ahead.

“The authoritative leadership style is the mark of confident leaders who map the way and set expectations, while engaging and energizing followers along the way,” says Bruna Martinuzzi, who specializes in leadership communication skills training, in a post for American Express.

Coaching Leaders

The name says it best. These leaders have the abilities most identified in a successful coach, which is the know-how to cultivate and get the best out of your team.

In this style, leaders view people as a reservoir of talent and potential to help develop, says Martinuzzi in the Trends and Insights blog.

“Leaders who use a coaching style open their hearts to and doors for people. They believe that everyone has power within themselves,” she writes in the American Express blog.

Affiliative Leaders

This type of leader has a “people first” approach to bring positivity into their environments.

“These leaders are well-versed in applying and enhancing positive affect in the workplace, and they can bring harmony and conflict resolution to a team,” writes Ackerman for Positive Psychology.

Of all the leadership styles, this is the most personal one, Martinuzzi says.

“A leader practicing this style pays attention to and supports the emotional needs of team members,” she writes in the American Express business blog. “The leader strives to open up a pipeline that connects him or her to the team.”

Consensus (or Democratic) Leaders

As the democratic name implies, this type of leader thrives on collaboration, asking for their team members’ perspectives before making decisions.

If you’re a consensus-style leader, then you may have already realized the benefits.

“It can engender trust and promote team spirit and cooperation from employees,” says Martinuzzi. “It allows for creativity and helps employees grow and develop. A democratic leadership style gets people to do what you want to be done but in a way that they want to do it.”

Owning Your Style and Improving

Understanding the different types of leadership and how your style affects your team and business can help you become a more successful leader.

“Developing a signature style with the ability to stretch into others as the situation warrants may help enhance your leadership effectiveness,” adds Martinuzzi.

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