Leadership Styles and Their Characteristics


Leadership can be defined as the process of directing, influencing, and inspiring other people in order to achieve a common goal. In the general sense of the word, many people define it based on an individual’s position, title, or hierarchy in an organization. However, in simple terms, it can be used to refer to a person’s potential to translate a vision into reality through influence and empowerment. There are four major leadership styles, namely Pragmatist, Steward, Idealist, and Diplomat leadership. Each of these styles has distinct characteristics that influence the effectiveness or the ineffectiveness of the leader. They vary in their approach to openness, control of employees, competition, and collaboration.

Leadership Styles

The Pragmatist Leadership Style

Pragmatist leaders set high standards for themselves and other people. In that regard, they have high expectations with regard to the attainment of goals. Traits common among theses leaders include competitiveness, drive, and focus (Murphy, 2015). They are bold, and usually make unconventional decisions that would elicit anxiety in others. Working under them is challenging, but rewarding because of their mentor-like attitude. Employees get the opportunity to experience unprecedented intellectual growth (Murphy, n.d.). Its downsides include the potential for criticism and burnout, as well as overemphasis on bottom-line results rather than employee engagement and job satisfaction.

The Idealist Leadership Style

Idealist leaders have high energy, and they believe in the potential of their followers for achievement. They value learning and growth, and they want their teams to advance with them (Murphy, n.d.). Traits such as charisma, creativity, open mindedness, intuition, and idealism are the hallmarks of their leadership (Murphy, 2015). Working for Idealists allows employees to develop creativity and express themselves freely without the fear of criticism. The focus less on process and structure, and give their followers the power to present their ideas and opinions. In that regard, this is the most productive as the capabilities of employees, including their creativity are fully exploited.

The Steward Leadership Style

Steward leaders are the foundations of organizations, and they possess traits such as loyalty and dependability. They are very helpful, they assist their followers reach their potential, and they emphasize the need for rules, process and cooperation within their teams (Murphy, n.d.). Stewards ensure that members of their teams are moving at the same pace, offering assistance to those that stall in any way (Murphy, 2015). Employees who work for Stewards enjoy stability, cohesion, consistency, and security. Working for these leaders is suitable for people who value teamwork more than individual achievement and recognition.

The Diplomat Leadership Style

Leaders who adopt this style are good at keeping groups together because they value interpersonal harmony. The traits that define them include kindness, generosity, and helpfulness (Murphy, 2015). They are known for creating personal relationships with their employees and their ability to resolve conflicts. Diplomats focus more on leveraging their followers’ strengths rather than challenging them to attain their fullest potential (Murphy, n.d.). Therefore, working for them can be highly fulfilling and fun. Diplomats also work toward making employees feel comfortable and being satisfied with their jobs.

Current Supervisor’s Leadership Style

The supervisor’s leadership style can be described as the idealist. They value creativity, learning and growth, and open minded. Process and structure is not an issue as long as goals are met satisfactorily and in a timely manner. They promote brainstorming as a way of looking for solutions to problems. In addition, there is a democratic feel associated with working together as individual opinions and thoughts are allowed and valued.

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership is a style of leadership in which leaders empower, motivate, and inspire employees to achieve certain goals and objectives through the embracement of change and the adoption of innovation. This is possible through the creation of a corporate culture that promotes employee autonomy and creativity. Transformational leaders avoid the micromanagement of workers by giving them the freedom to make decisions on critical organizational matters (Thompson, 2019). The four key factors that are central to transformational leadership are idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individual consideration.

Pros and Cons of Transformational Leadership

The advantages of transformational leadership include enhanced openness, honesty, and integrity, high employee morale, the reduction of turnover costs, and the promotion of change. These factors render the style effective as evident in the success of Apple, Google, and Netflix. Its disadvantages include a greater focus on the bigger picture, increased risk and disruption, employee burnout, and increased pressure on employees (Thompson, 2019). Change becomes disruptive if it is implemented regularly, which could harm the organization.


There are four main types of leaders, namely the Pragmatist, the Steward, the Idealist, and the Diplomat. Each has its unique characteristics that lead to either success or failure. Pragmatists are highly driven, focused, and competitive, and Idealists value learning and growing. Stewards are dependable and loyal, and they emphasize the need for rules and cooperation. Diplomats promote interpersonal harmony, and they are kind, generous and social. Transformational leadership is a style of leading that focuses on encouraging and empowering employees to change and innovate. This style encourages integrity in organizations, reduces turnover costs, and promotes change. On the contrary, it increases the pressure placed on employees, and therefore, it could cause burnout.


Murphy, M. (2015). Which of these 4 leadership styles are you?. Web.

Murphy, M. (n.d.). Would your leadership style fit at Amazon?. Web.

Thompson, J. (2019). Advantages and disadvantages of transformational leadership. Web.

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BusinessEssay. "Leadership Styles and Their Characteristics." November 30, 2022. https://business-essay.com/leadership-styles-and-their-characteristics/.