Pin Me

Four Styles of Leadership

written by: John P. Reiling • edited by: Tricia Goss • updated: 9/8/2017

What is your leadership style? This is a personal question – and not one that has a right or wrong answer. Learn about the four top leadership styles and how you can leverage the best – and avoid the worst - from each.

  • slide 1 of 6

    Styles Exemplified

    Four Styles of Leadership A quick search of the internet leadership styles shows that there are many styles of leadership and ways to categorize, study and write about these various styles. However, perusing a number of these articles, I found that the themes among them are common. One that stands out as a credible and thought provoking is “Which of These 4 Leadership Styles Are You?" in Fortune magazine by Mark Murphy.

    The article refers to a brief survey you can take to determine your predominant style from among his list of four fundamental leadership styles: pragmatist, idealist, steward and diplomat.

    Following are summaries of each of these leadership styles.

  • slide 2 of 6

    Pragmatist

    Pragmatists have high standards and corresponding high expectations for themselves and their employees. Pragmatists value hitting their goals above all else and, as a result, often fall short on employee engagement and some of the more desirable characteristics inherent to the other three leadership styles.

  • slide 3 of 6

    Idealist

    Idealists are high-energy achievers who believe in the positive potential of themselves and their employees to learn, grow and above all, be open-minded and creative. As with pragmatists, they often fall short on process, structure and some of the more desirable characteristics inherent to the other three leadership styles.

  • slide 4 of 6

    Steward

    Stewards are especially dependable, loyal and helpful, and tend to be a stabilizing influence as they value rules, process and cooperation. While they are strong at taking care and time to help those who struggle to keep up, they often fall short on providing chances for individual achievement and some of the more desirable characteristics inherent to the other three leadership styles.

  • slide 5 of 6

    Diplomat

    Diplomats strive for interpersonal harmony and thus are the social glue that connects people. While they are kind, social, giving and provide a deep feeling of belonging to employees, they often fall short on resolving or avoiding conflicts and some of the more desirable characteristics inherent to the other three leadership styles

  • slide 6 of 6

    What's Your Style?

    The diplomat leadership style is the most common, accounting for over half of American leaders, while pragmatists are the least common at about 10 percent. The remainder is about evenly divided between idealists and stewards. However, pragmatists tend to be more prevalent among top-level executives, while diplomats abound among managers, directors and vice presidents.

    What is your leadership style? Educate yourself on where you fit into the continuum and see what you can learn and adapt from your less preferred styles.

Countdown to Leadership

This is a series covers four unique styles that effective leaders employ, three essentials that you must absolutely have and do to be effective as a leader, two simple things that you can do to put yourself into a position of leadership and one thing that all of the best leaders have in common.
  1. Four Styles of Leadership
  2. Three Essentials for Proactive Leaders
  3. Two Simple Actions to Become a Leader
  4. The One Essential for Genuine Leadership