Using different leadership styles, such as visionary, coaching, collaborative, democratic, pacesetting and commanding, you take action to motivate and inspire your subordinates to complete job tasks. Becoming an effective leader also involves recognizing the traits of successful leaders, such as honesty, passion, respect, confidence and focus. To create a productive, safe and supportive environment at your company, establish a framework that defines the leadership traits you value and tips on when to apply a specific leadership style.


Leadership style defines how leaders direct the work of a group of individuals. Leadership style refers to the actions leaders take to gather input from subordinates, make decisions, solve problems and review results. In contrast, leadership traits describe the personality types of successful leaders. Historically, measuring these traits encompasses the emotional, social, physical and intellectual capacity to lead others. For example, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment developed by Kathryn Briggs and her daughter Isabel Myers during World War II, measures psychological preferences and how people make decisions.

Styles in Business

At small businesses, entrepreneurs can use the same leadership styles as world leaders. Using the commanding style, you make decisions without consulting employees. Use this in emergencies. Using the pacesetting style, you set high standards and motivate employees to achieve lofty goals that establish and maintain a competitive advantage. Using a democratic style, you take the time to come to a consensus before making a decision. To use the collaborative approach, get input from your subordinates and make a decision that makes the most sense for everyone. To use a visionary style, focus on defining the mission and allowing your subordinates to come up with the action plan. If your employees lack skills and experience, use a coaching style to get them up to speed.

Traits in Business

Becoming a trusted leader involves exhibiting the characteristics that subordinates expect and respect in authority figures. This typically includes confidence, energy, integrity and compassion. Effective leaders at small businesses succeed by communicating effectively, motivating employees, handling multiple projects at once and expressing a genuine concern for others. Transitioning to a leadership role usually involves focusing on the traits that enable you to get workers to improve processes, eliminate waste and increase customer satisfaction with your products and services.


Choosing an appropriate leadership style typically depends on the situation. Employees at every level of an organization can develop their leadership skills by learning to accurately assess a scenario, consider leadership approaches and take action. For example, to maintain a safe environment, leaders in a construction environment must mandate strict adherence to local, state and federal regulations. In a marketing department, leaders typically use a more collaborative style to elicit creativity and innovation in the workplace.