10 Leadership Types For CEOs

Jul 18, 2023 | C-Suite Dynamics, CEO Best Practices, Leadership

Do you know the type of leader you are? There are many benefits to understanding the different approaches of leadership, such as flexibility, self-awareness, and building a strong foundation. Below you will learn 10 leadership styles you should know about by Torch. Torch exists to unlock the potential of people, teams, and organizations.

1. Autocratic Leadership

Autocratic leadership is defined by a top-down approach when it comes to all decision-making, procedures, and policies within an organization. An autocratic leader focuses less on collecting input from team members and tends to make executive decisions that others are expected to follow.


  • Can be efficient, especially when it comes to decision making
  • Keeps teams cohesive and consistent since one person is taking charge
  • May make everyone’s individual roles clearer since they’ll be delegated specific duties


  • Can stifle creativity, collaboration, and innovation
  • May lead to disengaged individuals and teams who feel like they don’t have a voice
  • Doesn’t allow any room for mentorship or professional growth
  • Can lead to abuse of power

2. Transactional Leadership

Transactional leadership is defined by control, organization, and short-term planning. Leaders who adopt this style rely on a system of rewards and punishment to motivate their followers.


  • Can be an efficient way to reach short-term goals
  • Clearly defines expected behavior from team members with reward and punishment
  • Provides structure and stability


  • Limits creativity, growth, and initiative
  • May not be impactful on people who aren’t driven by extrinsic motivation
  • Can be discouraging for those who are looking for development opportunities

3. Bureaucratic Leadership

Bureaucratic leadership relies on a clear chain of command, strict regulations, and conformation by its followers. As the name implies, this is a leadership style that’s commonly found in government entities, as well as military and public organizations.


  • Stable in terms of job security and outcomes
  • Removes favoritism from the equation
  • Very clear roles, responsibilities, and expectations
  • A highly visible set of processes and regulations


  • Inefficient since everything has to go through a chain of command
  • Doesn’t encourage an individual’s personal or professional growth
  • Stifles creativity, innovation, and free thinking
  • Doesn’t foster collaboration or relationship building within teams
  • Can make it difficult to respond to change

4. Charismatic Leadership

Charismatic leadership is defined by a leader who uses their communication skills, persuasiveness, and charm to influence others. Every charismatic leader looks a little bit different.


  • Highly inspirational and motivating
  • Encourages a sense of camaraderie, collaboration, and union
  • Makes followers feel heard and understood
  • Creates movement toward positive change


  • Can become more focused on themselves than their people
  • Has the potential to become self-serving
  • Frequently viewed as shallow or disingenuous

5. Transformational Leadership

Transformational leaders create a vision based on identified needs and guide their teams toward that unified goal through inspiration and motivation. The main difference between transformational leadership and the other styles is that this one is focused on changing the systems and processes that aren’t working.


  • Motivating for the team
  • Conducive to building strong relationships and encouraging collaboration
  • Gives team members autonomy to do their jobs
  • Can lead to more creativity, growth, and empathy on teams


  • May not be the best fit for specific organizations
  • Can cause feelings of instability while disrupting the status quo
  • Lots of pressure on the leader, who needs to lead by example

6. Coaching Leadership

Coaching leadership is a style defined by collaboration, support, and guidance. Coaching leaders are focused on bringing out the best in their teams by guiding them through goals and obstacles.


  • Encourages two-way communication and collaboration
  • Facilitates the personal and professional development of individuals
  • Focuses on being supportive, not judgmental
  • Creates opportunities for growth and creative thinking


  • Resource intensive since it requires a lot of time and energy
  • Doesn’t always lead to the fastest, most efficient results
  • May not be the ideal choice for high-pressure or strictly results-driven companies


7. Democratic Leadership

Democratic leadership, which is also commonly known as participative leadership, is about letting multiple people participate in the decision-making process.


  • Encourages collaboration
  • Inclusive of a variety of opinions and ways of thinking
  • Leads to higher group engagement and productivity
  • Can result in more creative solutions
  • The outcome is supported by the majority


  • The minority opinion is overridden
  • The involvement of multiple people can lead to more communication gaps and confusion
  • Can take a longer time to come to a decision
  • An unskilled or untrained group can result in more decision making

8. Collaborative Leadership

Collaborative leadership is focused on encouraging people to work together across organizational boundaries to accomplish shared goals.


  • Can lead to more creative, innovative ways of thinking
  • More opportunities for diversity
  • Can strengthen cross-team relationships
  • Builds trust within an organization


  • May lead to ambiguity in roles and responsibilities
  • Can create cross-team conflict
  • Potential power struggle between leaders

9. Servant Leadership

Servant leadership puts the needs, growth, and wellbeing of their organization, employees, and community above everything else.


  • Focuses on the development and growth of others
  • Can lead to improved performance, innovation, and collaboration
  • Creates a safe environment where people aren’t afraid to fail
  • Reduces turnover and disengagement
  • Increases trust with leaders


  • Servant leaders can become more easily burnt out
  • Resource intensive
  • Difficult to train other leaders in the serve-first mindset
  • Can take longer to see results or reach goals
  • Has the potential to be perceived as ‘weak’

10. Laissez-Faire Leadership

Laissez-faire leadership takes a hands-off approach to leadership and gives others the freedom to make decisions.


  • Empowers individuals to practice their leadership skills
  • Can lead to increased creativity and innovation
  • Less fear of failure
  • Encourages trust between team members and leader
  • Instills a sense of independence


  • Can result in low productivity
  • Conflict amongst team members is common
  • May lead to confusion about roles and responsibilities
  • Won’t be effective with an unskilled or unmotivated team

Understanding the various leadership styles is an important first step. Next, effectively implementing your leadership style requires your understanding for leveraging the “Pros” while managing or in some cases overcoming the “Cons” of your leadership style.

Additional Leadership Resources

Leadership Styles of the Most Successful CEOs Ever

12 Quotes From Amazing Leaders

CEO:  The Corporate Cheerleader


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CEOs and Presidents are invited to register to participate in this exclusive community and receive the latest news and important resources sent directly to your inbox: