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4 Leadership Styles Every C-Suite Executive Should Know

83% of business executives say developing leaders on all levels is pivotal for success, only 14% have the required leadership talent to drive business growth. Are you among the 83 or 14%? Accurately understanding your leadership style is crucial to developing emerging leaders through your executive brand. Let’s explore the 4 leadership styles and how they can revolutionize your executive branding approach. Here’s the thing, while

There are various leadership styles, but these four stand out:

Delegative Leadership
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Transformational Leadership
Gentle Leadership
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Authoritative Leadership

This blog dissects how 4 leadership styles affect your reputation, organizational performance, and executive brand.

What’s the impact of your leadership style?

Your leadership style determines the direction of your company.


of U.S. employees strongly agree that their company’s leaders have a clear direction for their organization.

Understanding your leadership style supersedes personal preference when the organization’s goals are on the line. Why does this matter?

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It enables you to build and strengthen your team’s cohesion – Clarity and consistency in your interactions with your team set a bar for your behavior and communication. This makes it easier for your team members to align their efforts more effectively toward common goals.

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It also allows you to adapt to situational needs – Dynamic environments call for adaptable leadership styles. Providing room for flexibility in your leadership approach increases your effectiveness in managing your team through various challenges and opportunities.

It maximizes your strengths – Different leadership styles highlight different qualities and approaches. You can leverage your strengths to your distinct leadership style to lead effectively. For example, if you are a visionary leader, you could benefit most from transformational leadership by inspiring, motivating, and empowering your team with a clear vision for the future.

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It boosts your brand – A well-defined leadership style will attract top talent, investors, and customers, ultimately strengthening your brand reputation and market position.

The 4 Leadership Styles

1. Delegative Leadership

Delegative leadership, also known as Laissez-Faire, grants team members autonomy in decision-making and project management. This leadership style is often productive in teams with high-quality, responsible, consistent members.

Delegative leadership is often hands-off, refraining from micro-management. It relies on trusting team members to use their judgment to determine the best actions and strategies for their operations. PwC uncovered that nearly half of employees would forgo a 20% raise for greater autonomy and freedom over their work.

However, it can be tricky to find a balance between fostering independence within your team and remaining involved in ensuring that your vision comes to fruition. To ensure that you and all your team members are on the same page, you must guide the project’s start before allowing your team to implement what they’ve learned in their work.

Characteristics of Delegative Leaders:

To thrive in delegative leadership, you must have specific behavioral attributes to implement your leadership style.
These include:

  • Trust.
  • Effective communication.
  • Supportive guidance.
  • Results-oriented.
  • Flexibility.
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One of the best-known delegative leaders is Warren Buffet, the multi-billionaire owner of Berkshire Hathaway, one of the most valuable investment companies in the world. He is known for keeping business decisions in the hands of the companies he has invested in rather than trying to influence their paths after buying them.

Another great example is Robert Noyce, the founder of Intel. His hands-off leadership style attracted highly skilled engineers, leading to the company’s exponential growth.

Some of the advantages of adopting a delegative leadership style include:

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Increased team creativity

By stepping back and giving your employees more autonomy and control, you will encourage them to think and act creatively. It will build on their innovativeness and independence through which an innovative and creative culture will bloom within your teams.

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Encourages employee growth

Implementing a delegative leadership style will promote accountability and more responsibility from employees. As they become more and more involved in your company, they will gain more confidence in their abilities and recognize their unique contributions to your organization. This will allow them to know their strengths and weaknesses, and enable them to craft effective strategies to improve on areas they might be lacking.

However, it is also essential to know when to intervene. Adapting to this style will be an uphill battle, and there is always a chance of something going wrong. When that happens, you must be agile and ready to take charge if something seems or feels off before returning the reins to your team after steadying the ship.

To effectively implement the delegative leadership style, you must encourage your employees to take more responsibility. Giving them ample opportunities to step up will create a sturdy foundation for autonomy and independence.

Moreover, you must also set strict deadlines for each employee and each task. Without a predetermined timeline for work, employees will be more comfortable postponing their tasks and neglecting work because you won’t be watching over them all the time.

2. Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership, on the other hand, focuses on encouraging, inspiring, and motivating employees to create positive changes that will help them achieve organizational goals


of intrinsic motivation in employees is positively influenced by transformational leadership.

At the core of transformational leadership is inspiring growth, promoting loyalty, and instilling confidence in team members. This leadership style motivates using enthusiasm and charismatic inspiration while focusing on commitment and long-term success. Moreover, it uses intrinsic reward systems, where the team members will feel pride in their work, their self-esteem will rise, and even be more confident in their roles and responsibilities.

Characteristics of Transformational Leaders:

Transformational leaders have some tell-tale traits that set them apart from other leaders. Some of the common characteristics of transformational leaders include

  • Adaptability.
  • Active listening skills.
  • Emotionally intelligent.
  • Self-awareness.
  • Supportive.

These traits have manifested in some famous leaders who drove a positive impact on the world at large. Some include:

Adopting a transformational leadership style has several benefits, that would positively impact your company. Some of these advantages include:

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Better well-being

In a survey done in Germany, 58% of employees reported higher levels of well-being with higher levels of transformational leadership in their employers.

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Better Performance

According to Psychology Today, employees in teams led by transformational leaders have better performance and are more satisfied than those in teams with leaders employing different leadership styles.

To become a more effective transformational leader, you must enroll in training programs focused on transformational leadership. Following leadership training, leaders who received executive coaching showed an 88% boost in productivity. You can also develop your transformational leadership skills by being genuine, passionate, supportive, and trustworthy.

3. Gentle Leadership

A gentle leadership style emphasizes empathy, humility, and compassion in management. According to Warwick University, kindness has been proven to impact people’s happiness, and happier people are 12% more productive. This style emphasizes the importance of community and individual empowerment within organizations on the road to success.

One of its core principles is to promote a positive and supportive work environment that showcases the importance of trust and psychological safety in the workplace. This will allow employees to express their views and thoughts easily, fostering teamwork, creativity, and innovation.

Characteristics of Gentle Leaders:

Gentle leadership is guided by fundamental principles shaping the leader’s approach. These include:

  • Empathy and Understanding.
  • Open Communication.
  • Encouragement and Empowerment.
  • Patience and Respect.
  • Trust.

Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s current CEO, uses an empathetic and inclusive style in his leadership process, an essential aspect of gentle leadership. His approach has positively changed the company’s culture and inclusivity efforts.

While often misinterpreted as weak and passive, gentle leadership can make a difference. Some of the benefits of this leadership style include:

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Increased employee morale and satisfaction

According to the Harvard Business Review, when employees feel content and satisfied, business productivity surges by 31%. Additionally, Deloitte reports that acknowledging employees’ contributions enhances job performance and contributes to the overall value of the business. Specifically, recognition boosts employee engagement, productivity, and performance by 14%.

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More robust employee engagement

Employees who feel heard, valued, and supported in the workplace are likelier to be engaged and committed to their work. Furthermore, a study by Gallup highlighted that highly engaged workforces reported a 21% increase in productivity and a 22% increase in profitability compared to lowly engaged workforces.

Building your gentle leadership skills is not as complicated as it seems. Gentle leadership is about being strong and decisive in a compassionate and respectful way. Therefore, paying more attention to your emotional intelligence is pivotal this encompasses self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, motivation, and social skills.

4. Authoritative Leadership

Authoritative Leadership is one of the most common leadership styles in corporate settings. This style’s foundation is based on controlling the followers through the leader’s commands. Also known as autocratic leaders, authoritative leaders always provide clear direction on what, how, and when it should be done. These leaders often make decisions with little output from the team- this is particularly effective in situations that require rapid decision-making and decisive actions.


 of employees idealize a leader who always retains the final decision-making authority, which demonstrates that adaptability and flexibility are essential leadership qualities.

Characteristics of Authoritative Leaders:

Some primary characteristics of authoritative leaders include:

  • Decisiveness.
  • Confidence and Assertivenes.
  • Results-driven.
  • Effective Communication.
  • Clear Vision and Direction.
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Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, is an excellent example of an authoritative leader. He understood how the software industry was progressing and was determined to steer Microsoft in that same direction. His authoritative leadership approach allowed him to maintain control at Microsoft and utilize his authoritative position within his industry and company to synchronize Microsoft’s resources with his distinct vision.

An authoritative leadership style has a lot of positive effects on the direction a company takes. Such advantages include:

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Improved Decision-making

In fast-paced, high-pressure situations, an authoritative leadership style helps make critical decisions, allowing group members to focus on performing specific tasks without worrying about making complex decisions.

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Provides Direction and Offers Structure

Setting clear expectations, creating clarity, establishing deadlines, and establishing rules to follow enhances the overall effectiveness of the work organization. This, in turn, ensures that everyone is on the same page and working towards achieving strategic goals.

Revolutionize Your Executive Brand with Situational Leadership Fluency

Forget the one-size-fits-all leadership style. The key to a powerful executive brand in today’s dynamic landscape is situational leadership fluency.

Here’s how mastering this approach can revolutionize your brand:

  • Showcase Versatility: Move beyond a single label like “delegator” or “visionary.” Demonstrate your adaptability by switching styles based on the situation. This portrays you as a well-rounded, strategic leader.
  • Deepen Team Connections: Accurately diagnosing team needs and tailoring your approach builds trust and psychological safety. You’ll be seen as someone who genuinely cares about employee well-being and fosters a thriving team environment.
  • Become a Problem Solver: No challenge is insurmountable when you can adapt your leadership style. You’ll build a reputation for tackling complex situations effectively, solidifying your image as a decisive and results-oriented leader.
  • Be Transparent: Situational fluency allows you to openly communicate your reasoning behind leadership choices. Transparency positions you as an authentic leader who values open communication.

How to Build Your Brand Narrative

  • Share Stories: Discuss situations where you switched leadership styles and the positive outcomes. This demonstrates your fluency and showcases specific examples for stakeholders.
  • Content Creation: Craft thought leadership content highlighting the importance of situational leadership. This establishes you as an expert and positions you at the forefront of modern leadership practices.
  • Thought Leadership: When discussing company strategy or challenges, emphasize how you’re adapting your leadership style to achieve optimal results. This reinforces your leadership brand as dynamic and adaptable.

Silence isn’t leadership. It’s missed opportunity.

Amplify your voice and impact.

At Reactionpower, we craft data-driven executive branding strategies that transform you into a recognized industry leader. Connect with key stakeholders, drive results, and shape the conversation in your field.

Leave your lasting legacy.

Chacha Lesley is a digital marketing specialist with extensive experience in social media management, copywriting, and graphic design. He is also a creative writer who prides himself in capturing moments before they flee into oblivion; he strives to write stories that evoke emotions and inspire minds to wander. If he wrote less, he would talk about it more.

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