Leadership Behavior and Leadership Style – What Matters?

Leader behavior and leadership style – what’s most important?  While behavior is the most obvious, it is also transient and changes quickly.  Style is the most significant as it is the leader’s style that largely determines whether followers develop or… wither.

As a leader, you are what you do, not how you think you are doing.

Get out of your head to fully realize how you are perceived by followers and then to arrive at an understanding of the next steps to embark on change. When done properly, anonymous survey feedback from followers and peers can be highly informative and useful and we can assist in coordinating this effort.

Read on to discover the most common leader styles in the workplace. We also discuss the findings of a study that looked at job satisfaction regarding 3 of the most common leadership styles.

The term “leadership style” will yield a wide variety of leader types, styles, and activities when an online search is conducted.   A handful of actual leadership styles are researched the most.  These include:



Laissez-faire (free reign/hands-off)




Can I change my leadership style?

Yes, but generally by degrees.  Having a mentor and/or coach at work can make the journey far more understandable, enlightening, and rewarding. Remember, leadership style develops over time and involves the coalescing of behavioral patterns used to influence followers.

I mentioned the power and usefulness of research – here is a brief summary of a study conducted by J. Handsome (2010) entitled “The Relationship Between Leadership Style and Job Satisfaction.”

The study looked at these 3 types of leadership:

  1. Transformational
  2. Transactional
  3. Laissez-faire (free reign/hands-off)

What did the findings indicate?

  • A statistically significant and moderately strong positive correlation existed between job satisfaction and the transformational leadership style.
  • A statistically significant and slightly weak correlation between job satisfaction and the transactional leadership style.
  • That there is a significant and moderately strong negative correlation between job satisfaction and the laissez-faire leadership style.

One of the instruments used was the “Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire” (MLQ 5X), a valid and reliable tool that we use in our leadership development work.

Some studies are difficult to interpret and that is why so many are ignored. (Contact us if you have any questions- we’re happy to chime in and discuss). The fact is that this one can be understood by many leaders and managers of all levels of your group or organization.

If you have chosen to be a leader, work hard but always work smart.  Avail yourself of resources through your organization, those leadership development tools that can put you on the road of personal and professional growth.

Thanks for stopping by – stay in touch!


Joe Lemmon, Ph.D. & Staff


About WorkLife Xcel

We provide focused, custom-designed services to enhance leadership and organizational performance. Could your organization benefit from these enhancements? WorkLife Xcel partners with you to facilitate exemplary organizational and leadership growth. Get in touch today to help your organization achieve its true potential.

Share This Post!

Scroll to Top

View our New Service: Organizational Covid Interventions