Best Leadership Styles with Examples

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The world of effective leadership is illuminated by different styles that resonate in different contexts. These key leadership styles include adaptive approaches that strengthen teams and move organisations forward. As Martin Luther King Jr. exemplified, transformational leadership creates change through inspiration and vision. Situational leadership, as demonstrated by figures such as General Dwight D. Eisenhower, adapts strategies to the developmental levels of followers. Servant leadership, as embraced by Mother Teresa, emphasises humility and healing others. 

Read the article to learn more about the types of leadership styles, their dynamic interplay and significance in today's unpredictable work scape and the senior leadership programs available.

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership is a style that initiates change and innovation by inspiring and motivating followers with a compelling vision. A notable example of transformational leadership is Steve Jobs. The founder of Apple revolutionised the technology industry with his visionary ideas and charismatic communication. His ability to envision a future, where the personal computer is intuitive and easy to use, motivated his team to create unique products like the iPhone and iPad. With his passion and dedication, Jobs showed how transformational leaders can challenge the status quo and foster a culture of innovation that reshapes industries and societies.

Situational Leadership


Situational leadership is a multifaceted approach that adapts leadership behaviour to the individual team members' level of readiness and development. An example of this style is Nelson Mandela, who showed adaptability during the apartheid era in South Africa. Mandela skillfully adapted his leadership tactics to the evolving political landscape and the needs of his followers. He moved from confrontation to negotiation and reconciliation as the circumstances required. That flexibility allowed him to lead his people on a transformative journey to democracy. Mandela's eventual management demonstrates the ability to adapt strategies to achieve optimal results, making it an essential tool in complex and dynamic environments.

Authentic Leadership

Authentic leadership focuses on authentic, transparent, and self-aware leadership practices that build trust and nurture meaningful connections. An illustrative figure of authentic leadership is Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. Through her candour about the challenges women face in the workplace and her personal experiences, Sandberg has inspired a global dialogue on gender equality. Her ability to lead with vulnerability and authenticity made her a role model and helped transform workplace dynamics. Sandberg's approach shows how authenticity in leadership fosters an environment of mutual respect and empowers people to reach their full potential while creating lasting positive change.

Adaptive Leadership

Adaptive management involves dynamic responses to uncertain and rapidly changing environments that foster innovation and flexibility. Elon Musk, CEO of companies like Tesla and SpaceX, embodies this style in his latest technology and space exploration ventures. Musk's adaptive leadership is reflected in his willingness to change strategies, navigate challenges, and redefine industries. For example, in the face of adversity, he redesigned and successfully launched reusable rockets that revolutionised space travel. Musk's ability to lead his organisations through uncharted territory shows how adaptive leadership can promote progress, embracing change, pushing boundaries, and creating new paradigms for success.

Blending Leadership Styles

Combining management styles requires the skilful integration of different approaches in different situations, leading to a comprehensive and effective management strategy. A good example comes from the presidency of Barack Obama, where he perfectly combined transformational and authentic leadership. He inspired change through his vision and charisma, promoting open dialogue and engaging with audiences personally. This combination helped him navigate complex administration and public opinion issues and created a legacy of dynamic leadership. The advantage of such a leadership style is the fusion that lies in its adaptability— it allows leaders to meet multiple challenges, fostering innovation, empathy, and resonance with followers, ultimately fostering a comprehensive leadership path.

Choosing the right style

Choosing the appropriate leadership style depends on several factors constituting the optimal approach in each context. Organisational culture, team dynamics, and overall goals are critical in this choice. A leader's ability to match their style with these elements increases their effectiveness in leading their team to success. Equally critical is self-awareness — a keen understanding of one's strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies. This introspection allows leaders to determine which style best suits their innate qualities, fostering authenticity and resonance. 

The intersection of these elements empowers leaders to make informed decisions, creating a symbiotic relationship between style and environment that propels teams toward achievement while fostering a harmonious leadership journey.


The study of different leadership styles reveals their transformative effects. Imarticus Learning’s Global Senior Management Programme is a transformative course designed to elevate experienced professionals to a new leadership level. While engaged in this senior leadership programming, the immersive experiences, strategic insights, and cutting-edge tools, participants will improve their leadership, strategic thinking, and decision-making skills. This programme empowers leaders to navigate complex challenges, foster innovation, and advance organisational success worldwide.

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