The Many Faces Of Leadership: A Guide To Eight Styles For Success

Manavi Agarwal

Last Updated: October 4, 2023
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Leadership is like a compass guiding a ship through uncharted waters. It sets the direction, influences the journey, and ultimately determines whether you reach your destination successfully. While many leaders have emerged throughout history, each with their unique approach, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all leadership style. In fact, leadership is a multifaceted concept, with various styles that can drive success in different situations and industries. In this journey of understanding leadership, we’re about to explore the eight distinct leadership styles that have been proven to drive success in various arenas. 

Eight Leadership Styles


The Visionary Leader: Paving The Path To A Brighter Future

Ever heard the story of Steve Jobs, the visionary co-founder of Apple? Visionary leaders like him have an uncanny ability to see the big picture and inspire their teams to work towards a shared vision. They’re not just focused on the here and now but have their sights set on the future. They instil hope, dream big, and propel their organisations to new heights.

The Transformational Leader: Igniting The Spark Of Change

When it comes to igniting change and transformation, transformational leaders take the crown. They are like the wizards of leadership, able to enchant their followers with a compelling vision and empower them to become the best versions of themselves. Through mentorship, they nurture growth, foster innovation, and encourage their teams to challenge the status quo. For instance, Nelson Mandela, Former President of South Africa. He transformed South Africa through his unwavering commitment to ending apartheid. His vision and charisma inspired a nation to embrace change, reconcile differences, and work towards a brighter future.

The Servant Leader: Putting Others First

In a world often dominated by self-interest, the servant leader stands out as a beacon of humility and compassion. These leaders flip the script, putting their team’s needs before their own. Their mantra is simple: “How can I help?” By serving their team members and removing obstacles in their paths, they create a culture of trust and loyalty that drives success. For instance, Mahatma Gandhi epitomised servant leadership by dedicating his life to the service of others and championing nonviolent resistance. His selflessness and commitment to justice inspired millions.

The Situational Leader: Adapting To Every Challenge

Leaders who master the art of situational leadership are like chameleons in the corporate jungle. They understand that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to leadership. Instead, they adapt their style to the situation at hand. Whether it’s offering guidance, support, or autonomy, they tailor their leadership to meet the unique needs of each scenario. For example, Indra Nooyi adapted her leadership style based on the needs of PepsiCo at different times. She provided guidance, nurtured innovation, and empowered her teams as the situation demanded, contributing to the company’s success.

The Laissez-Faire Leader: Giving Freedom To Flourish

Imagine a leader who says, “You’ve got this; I trust you.” That’s the essence of laissez-faire leadership. These leaders provide their team with the autonomy to make decisions and execute tasks without micromanagement. This style can be incredibly empowering, fostering creativity and innovation within the team. For example, Richard Branson encourages autonomy and creativity within his companies. He trusts his employees to take ownership of their work and make decisions, fostering a culture of innovation.

The Transactional Leader: The Art Of The Deal

Transactional leaders are all about the art of the deal. They operate on a system of rewards and punishments, and they expect their team members to meet specific goals and targets. While this approach may seem more traditional, it can be highly effective when used in the right context. Think of it as a carefully crafted agreement between the leader and their team. Jack Welch, Former CEO of General Electric (GE),  was known for his results-driven approach. He set clear expectations and rewarded high-performing employees at GE. This transactional leadership style led to significant improvements in the company’s performance.

The Charismatic Leader: Magnetism That Draws Followers In

Charismatic leaders possess an almost magnetic appeal. They can charm and captivate their followers, making people want to follow their lead. Charisma can come in many forms, from a compelling speaking style to an infectious enthusiasm for the mission at hand. Leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Winston Churchill were celebrated for their charismatic influence.

The Authentic Leader: Leading With Heart And Soul

Authenticity is a quality that transcends leadership styles. Authentic leaders are true to themselves, and their actions and decisions align with their core values. They don’t put on a facade; they lead with heart and soul. This genuine approach fosters trust and authenticity within the team, creating a culture of openness and transparency. Warren Buffett is known for his authenticity in both his personal and professional life. 

So, which leadership style is the best fit for you? The truth is, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Successful leaders often blend elements of multiple styles to adapt to different situations and challenges. The key is to be self-aware and agile, understanding when to inspire, when to delegate, and when to empathise.

Leadership Styles In Action


Let’s dive into some real-world examples to see these leadership styles in action:

  • Nelson Mandela: The Transformational Leader: Mandela’s vision of a post-apartheid South Africa inspired millions. He transformed the nation by embracing forgiveness and unity.
  • Elon Musk: The Visionary Leader: Musk’s ambitious goals for SpaceX and Tesla have revolutionised the aerospace and automotive industries, driven by his unwavering vision of a sustainable future.
  • Warren Buffett: The Authentic Leader: Known for his straightforward, folksy style, Buffett leads Berkshire Hathaway with authenticity and humility. He’s true to his values and principles.
  • Sheryl Sandberg: The Servant Leader: As the COO of Facebook, Sandberg emphasises teamwork, empowerment, and personal growth. She encourages her team members to excel.
  • Jeff Bezos: The Transactional Leader: Bezos built Amazon into an e-commerce giant through a relentless focus on efficiency, cost-cutting, and customer satisfaction.

Exploring Eight Leadership Styles With Mentoria


In this dynamic business landscape, leadership isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavour. It’s an intricate dance of styles, each with its unique strengths and applications. Whether you’re a visionary pioneer, a transformational force, or an empathetic coach, understanding these eight leadership styles can empower you to drive success in your career and organisation.

But remember, leadership isn’t just about knowing these styles; it’s about applying them effectively. That’s where Mentoria comes in. Our platform offers personalised leadership development programs that help you harness your unique leadership style and unlock your full potential. From one-on-one coaching to tailored resources, Mentoria provides the support you need to become a more impactful leader.