Four Different Styles of Leadership

Whether you are leading teams, organisations or communities, you are using one of the four different styles of leadership. These styles of leadership are basically mounted on three levers of openness, enablement and control and depends upon our access and intensity of application of these levers, which support a particular leadership style.

The three levers:

Openness: Being open to share ‘the why’, ‘the what’ and ‘the how’ of the intent, objective, task, and the process with others.

Enablement: Is to build the skills and arrange the resources required to walk the shown path.

Control: is to bind others to the process and the outcome.

The four leadership styles:


Control: Leaders who use inspiring style drop control about the process and outcome. They foster an environment of creativity and learning by allowing freedom to explore and experiment

Openness: They are open about their opinion of what, why and how of the task. And they are also open to accept and change based on others opinion.

Enablement: Inspiring leaders also enable others through skills and resources to achieve the purpose. People who are inspired often experience freedom, growth and autonomy.


Control: They exercise some degree of control over the process and outcome

Openness: Leaders who use influencing style are also open about their opinion of what, why and how of the task. They are strong advocates of their opinion and do not encourage different points of view.

Enablement: They may be good at motivating people to action but focus less on enabling others to achieve the desired outcome. People who are influenced feel pushed and motivated, yet may also feel unsupported and independent.


Control: The managing style of leadership is high on control about the process and outcome. It is more about enforcing and monitoring the laid down processes and procedures. Leaders using this style would share only required information and resources to achieve the outcome

Openness: Moderate on Openness

Enablement: Moderate on Enablement

People who are managed often lack the view of the big picture, are required to take approvals and are expected to follow instructions.


Control: exercise high degree of control

Openness: Leaders are manipulating when they are not open about the intent and outcome

Enable: They would enable the team only to the extent of achieving their secretive outcome. Their teams experience confusion and frustration about purpose and the expected outcome of the task assigned.

Which style is better? Practically, we all use all styles in different situations. The question is not about which style is better? The question is whether are you aware of your style? And whether are you choosing consciously. This is easier said than done, unless we understand what makes us choose these styles.

What makes us choose these styles?

At the heart of these styles is the relationship between trust and need for power. To be precise Trust divided by need for Power. The more power you need the more control you exercise. And the less trust you have on others, lesser is the openness and enablement.

Next time you are leading a group, inquire yourself of your trust and power relationship with the group. When you change these dynamics you automatically would change the levers of openness, enablement and control and hence your style. Choose consciously, the legacy that you wish to create.


Picture of Adi Raheja

Adi Raheja

Adi is an educator and facilitator with creativity as one of his strengths that motivates him to give his best. A wanderer and adventurer at heart, he loves to trek. Mountains call, push and challenge him to be himself. He is fond of kids and loves engaging with them in conversations.

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