Leadership Styles Overview


Leadership Styles Overview

Despite the common fundamentals that you can follow to enhance your leadership skills, each individual should also have their own leadership style. This will be dependent on your personality and the situation you are in. Some would describe their style as ‘autocratic’, MBWA ('management by walking about'), 'participative', 'deserter' or 'detached'. These work well in some situations, and we are going to look at how different styles might be appropriate for your organisation. 

According to leadership expert, James Scouller, a leadership style is a classification or description of the main ways in which real-life leaders behave.

A leadership style is a more narrow and specific category than a models or a philosophies. In fact, many leadership styles are contained within leadership models as components of the model. A style is a distinct way of behaving. A leadership style tends to contain and be influenced strongly by the purpose or aim of the leadership and perhaps determined by the personality of the leader, the personality or capability of the followers, and/or the situation in which the leader is leading.

A different way to see this is that a style can be part of a model, but not the other way around. It is a much narrower behaviour, or a smaller set of behaviours, than would be featured in a model. 

It is also important to remember that a leadership style is not an adaptable flexible 'toolkit', it is a relatively tightly defined description of a particular type of leadership. Unlike leadership models, the aim of leadership styles is not to help individuals become better leaders; it is simply to describe the main forms of leadership.

The key leadership styles that we have focused on are as follows:

Transformational, transactional, distributed, liquid, charismatic and narcissistic.

Although there is overlapping within these styles, they all have their own individual traits that make up a particular style of leadership. Note that 'leadership styles' do not in themselves offer a leadership method - instead a 'leadership style' describes a behaviour which characterises leadership. 

Leadership styles can be incorporated within leadership models, albeit under slightly different names and with slightly different features. A style is a description, and there is no right or wrong style in an absolute sense. 

One leader may fit somewhat into many different styles due to personality and there may be specific situations that suit a leadership style more than others.

We hope you can use this information to determine what your style is and discover where your strengths and weaknesses lie in leadership.


Scouller, J. (2011). The Three Levels of Leadership: How to Develop Your Leadership Presence, Knowhow and Skill. Cirencester: Management Books 2000ISBN 9781852526818