Business Category Business: career motivation and tips to move ahead

Factors influencing leadership styles

No two leaders perform in exactly the same way, as each leader tends to develop her own individual style. A number of factors may influence the style a leader uses.

Some of the factors may develop naturally, while others are a product of the leader's environment. Some leaders may even need to adjust their leadership style to adapt to a changing culture.

Personality Traits

A leadership style may become an extension of a leader's personality. If an individual is outgoing and assertive, he may prefer to communicate directly with subordinates through face-to-face interaction or confrontation, either on a group or individual basis. If he is more reserved, he might choose to lead by example or rely on written communication. Rather than addressing a group as a whole, the reserved leader is probably more comfortable meeting with subordinates on a one-on-one basis to provide individual direction.

Level of Control

The level to which a leader wishes to maintain control also influences leadership style. Some leaders want to be involved in all aspects of day-to-day operations and decision-making processes, which requires the need for micromanaging.

Others may be more trusting of their subordinates or may not want the heavy burden of making all decisions, so they tend to take a more hands-off approach by delegating responsibility. Leaders who choose to delegate may need to create an additional layer of management.

Organizational Structure

An organisation's structure and operating methods may dictate the type of leadership style that managers must adopt.

Some organisations place heavy emphasis on encouraging contributions or ideas from their members, requiring an open style of leadership where members have a large say in determining their own roles and functions. Other organisations operate with more of a "my way or the highway" mentality, where leaders dictate direction and deviation or innovation is frowned upon.


A leader's level of experience, both as a leader and with a particular organisation can have an impact on his style. Someone who is new to a leadership role may be more inclined to lead "by the book" to avoid potential mistakes, while a more experienced leader will often feel more confident in following his own interpretation of rules and regulations. A leader who has been part of an organisation for many years will likely have a better understanding of the organisation's nuances than a new member, so she may be more comfortable when making decisions.