Choosing the best leadership style — 5 types to get you started

Developing your own leadership style — one that inspires exceptional performance from your workforce — is an on-going process. The fact is, successful leadership styles are never a “one-size-fits-all” affair; they often reflect the leader’s unique approach to business. But why not learn from the best as you try to formulate the best leadership style for you or your company? Here are five examples to help inspire you.

1. People-centric leadership

In 2014, Arthur T. Demoulas, CEO of the family-owned Market Basket grocery-store chain, was fired by the company’s board of directors. He made international headlines when his employees and customers went on strike for six long weeks to have him reinstated. And it worked.

Why was he so loved? Employees said he regularly attended the weddings and funerals of
his workers, and that he knew the names of all 25,000 Market Basket employees. He consistently
put people over profits while offering customers low prices. His leadership generated an
extraordinary level of allegiance from both employees and customers alike.

This people-centric style of leadership puts people first. These are leaders who pay a livable wage because they want to — not because they have to. They offer hourly workers benefits such as profit sharing. They treat their employees like they matter, because they do. And in return, their employees are often willing to make sacrifices, work hard, and give their all.

2. Charismatic leadership

Charismatic leaders are naturally charming. With qualities similar to those who excel in sales, they demonstrate confidence and draw people in. They easily engage people in conversation and seem to put others at ease.

Indra Nooyi demonstrated charismatic leadership during her time as Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo. Exhibiting confidence, optimism, and resilience, Nooyi was skilled at creating a vision, communicating it to her employees, and garnering their support. One of her favorite ways to recognize employee success was to write letters to their
parents, telling them how well their son or daughter was doing at work. Under her leadership, PepsiCo’s revenue rose 80 percent.

Charismatic leaders are passionate about their vision and are skilled at workplace communications. Their passion is intoxicating, which means they easily attract others to follow their calling. Charismatic leadership is often the best leadership style for organizations
that are going through change or crisis. The leader’s persuasiveness helps to swiftly move the team forward.

3. Disruptive leadership

It’s easy to follow the crowd, but it’s not always effective. Today, leaders are expected to slash a new path in the marketplace for their organization, to disrupt business as usual. Disruptive leadership is about going against the grain. It’s what happens when a leader realizes they need to take matters into their own hands and shake things up.

Disruptive leaders are bold. They have a compelling vision and are relentless in their approach towards achieving success. Leading-edge companies are often started and run by disruptive leaders. Virgin founder Richard Branson is a perfect example. He shakes up every market he enters. Along the way, he works towards building trust with customers and employees. He encourages inventive and unorthodox action, and his excitement is contagious.

4. Quiet leadership

Some of the best, most productive leaders aren’t necessarily the loudest. They go about creating change in a quiet way. This type of leader values thinking before action. They often go out of their way to create an environment where ideas have time to marinate before being cooked up and served.

Individuals who subscribe to quiet leadership:

  • Don’t seek a lot of fanfare.
  • Gain satisfaction knowing they are creating a workplace where people are judged on their
    talent, not their politicking.
  • Succeed by acting rather than talking, and their actions inspire others to do the same.
  • Give credit where credit is due, which encourages exceptional employee

You might not expect the founder of Facebook to be reserved, but Mark Zuckerberg is a classic quiet leader. He works quietly behinds the scenes, carefully orchestrating his company’s next move. And despite what you may think of Facebook, his company is wildly successful.

5. Collaborative leadership

Collaborative leadership is based on the belief that the sum is more valuable than the parts. Teambuilding and power-sharing replace the traditional style of do-what-you-are-told leadership. Collaborative leaders recognize that education, brainstorming, and varied perspectives can bring unique insights to problem-solving as well as product development. And transparency is key.

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh exemplifies this type of leadership. He built a corporate culture that includes all-hands-on employee meetings that are live-streamed online so that everyone, including outsiders, can see into the workings of the organization. And for a small fee, anyone can tour the company at their headquarters in Las Vegas and see first-hand what
collaborative leadership looks like.

Find candidates with the best leadership style for your company

Every company has different needs, and every person has a different set of skills and strengths. But it’s not always clear what those are, or how to find the right fit in a new hire. Get a better handle on finding great leaders for your company with expert recruiting advice and the latest hiring trends from Monster Hiring Solutions.