Know the Best Leadership Styles for Startup Owners

Being a leader is not a cakewalk. Not everyone is cut out to become a leader.

You may try to follow in the footsteps of certain great leaders. But even so, that can never shape you into a great leader. And ultimately, you will be mulling over How & Why ‘they’ became successful and you haven’t yet.

And if you’re starting a business, the pressure is even greater. There are a lot of things to think about when you’re running a startup. But one of the most important factors is your leadership style. The way you lead your team can make or break your business.

The Mainstream Leadership Styles

The traits, working methods, and leadership qualities tend to vary as no two individual is similar. And these differing traits gave birth to various leadership styles.

Out of all the leadership styles the most common and prominent ones are the Autocratic and Democratic leadership styles. Now, why you may ask?

Because autocratic style has been an all-time favorite. While the democratic style has gained popularity in recent times.

Not just decades, for centuries people were aware of only one leadership module, i.e. autocratic. Until democracy won and started spreading like wildfire.

Even now, you will find leaders preferring either autocratic or democratic style more. Hence, to become an effective leader, you should be aware of the perks and drawbacks of both styles, which are mentioned below.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Democratic Leadership Style: What & Why

Democratic leadership means encouraging your employees and team members to participate in decision-making.

For example, take Google. During decision-making, Google employees are encouraged to take on participative leadership roles.

As a leader, you will still hold the power to make the final decisions. But you will have to take into account what your team has to say. Becoming a democratic leader means getting rid of your judgemental side to ensure equal participation and trade of ideas.



1. Encourages Creativity

When you allow your team to participate in the decision-making process, it gives them a sense of ownership. And with that comes creativity.

Let your team be free from the clutches of traditional SOPs. Then only you will see creative minds blossom and do wonders.

2. Strengthens Team Bonds

A significant advantage of the democratic leadership style is that it strengthens the bond between you and your team.

Since team members are allowed to share their opinions, they feel appreciated. As a result, they start respecting you more. It also helps build trust as team members know that, irrespective of the situation, you the leader will hear them out.

1. Increases Procrastination

As a democratic leader, you will often depend on your team for decision-making. It might seem like a great framework, but with time too much dependence can lead you to procrastinate.

You as a leader should be able to take decisions in the spur of the moment for your team. But by following this style, with time you might lose that ability.

2. Uncertainty Persists

With this leadership style, the final decision is always in a grey area. You cannot be sure what decision to take as it depends on too many opinions.

We all know that ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’ , which sometimes holds true for the democratic approach.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Autocratic Leadership Style: What & Why

The autocratic leadership style is the exact opposite of the democratic leadership style. Here, leaders make all the decisions without taking into account what their team or employees have to say.

For example, SpaceX and Tesla. The owner of both companies, Elon Musk follows an autocratic leadership style and is known as an autocratic leader.

However, becoming an autocratic leader hasn’t stopped him from attaining success.

Generally, autocratic leaders chalk out their own rules, SOPs, objectives, and plans. It is a ‘one-man rules all’ arrangement.



1. Quick Decision Making

Since all the decisions are made by the leader, there is no scope for any delays.

You as a leader can take quick decisions without getting into a discussion or debate. You won’t need to keep track of individual opinions as you will have the last and first say in the company.

2. Enhanced Productivity

The autocratic approach ensures tangle-free communication.

The presence of one chief commander makes the work plans and methods sorted and clear for teams.

As a result, there are lesser chances of any misunderstanding. And with that comes enhanced productivity as employees know exactly what is expected from them.

1. Fuels Resentment

In an autocratic leadership arrangement, employees have no say in the work process.

They feel like caged birds and eventually start resenting the leader. So be prepared to handle some serious employee dissatisfactions.

2. Burdens The Leader

With an autocratic leadership style, the leader has to juggle too many hats.

As an autocratic leader, you will have to plan, decide, solve, guide, and set examples for your team. Whether it’s a minuscule decision or crisis handling, the leader will have to bear all the headaches.

Some Other Leadership Approaches

Now that the foundation is laid, let’s move on to some of the other leadership approaches.

Pacesetting Leadership Style

The pacesetting leadership style is all about setting high standards for the employees. The leader here expects his team to match his standards.

Basically, you will lead by setting standards or examples.

Lassiez-faire Leadership Style

As the name suggests, this leadership style is quite laissez-faire or hands-off.

If you are looking forward to taking up this style, then be ready to give complete freedom of work to your team. As this approach leaves no scope for micromanagement.

Also, you will have to focus on relying on your team’s working methods more.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Leading To The End

To conclude, remember that as a startup owner you will have to don multiple hats.

So it’s important to know the different leadership styles and what they entail.

Keep your objectives clear in mind and then nurture your leadership qualities accordingly. Don’t limit yourself to just one leadership approach, if and when required combine one or more to achieve the best.

Also, take some time out to know your employees better. Only then you will be able to find the best leadership style for your startup. Learn, adapt and lead.

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