What Are the Most Effective Styles of Leadership?

If you’ve had multiple bosses over the years, you probably know there’s more than one way to manage a team of people, and some styles are more effective than others.

Some leaders are always looking to get everyone involved, while others make decisions and expect their team to fall in line behind them.

Below are a few different ways to manage employees that could be used on their own or in combination. Keep in mind, there’s no perfect way to lead; there are just different styles with varying degrees of effectiveness.

Consensus building

A democratic approach means including the entire team when it comes to making decisions. While the leader makes the ultimate decisions, each person on the team has input on how they think things ought to be done. The leader simply synthesizes these inputs to reach decisions.

These kinds of leaders attempt to stimulate creativity and critical thinking in each team member. One of the biggest problems with this style is its slow moving, which can be a problem when there are tight deadlines or a need to react to quickly changing circumstances.


Completely the opposite of the consensus-building leader, an autocratic leader makes every decision himself without input from the team. The success of this style is very much based on results. If the team is exceeding expectations and receiving the proper recognition, everyone is happy. If the team is falling short, everyone will be looking to the leader to place blame. While this is a good style when decisions must be made quickly, it also hampers creativity and innovation from team members.


A mentoring or coaching style involves the leader building relationships with individual team members and pushing them to reach their potential with the goal of maximizing team performance. This style is best with relatively inexperienced team members who are highly invested in their own personal development and advancement. Some independently minded or more experienced team members, however, may feel like their performance is being micromanaged.

The hands-off approach

Leaders who largely leave team members up to their own devices are showing a lot of faith and trust. This means team members must set their own expectations and deadlines. A good hands-off leader will still step in with advice, feedback, recognition or direction when the situation calls for it. This style works best with an experienced team of self-starters.


Some leaders push their team by setting high standards and then being there to support team members in order to reach lofty goals. This style is a great way to drive high productivity, but it runs the risk of burning out team members faster than a less-driving style might. Therefore, it is a style that should be used sparingly, like when the team must tackle a major, important project.

At LTI, we are comfortable working with leaders of any style. If you are currently looking to support your team with a talent acquisition or managed services solution, please contact us today.