5 Types of Leadership the Modern Workplace Needs

by Erin Sevitz on July 17, 2019

Leadership is a role that many ambitious employees consider to be the apex of their career. However, scaling the corporate ladder does not automatically turn someone into a qualified, competent and successful leader.

In the modern workplace, filled with Millennials, Baby Boomers and Gen X employees, a great leader motivates and inspires all of these team members to reach their full potential. A modern leader must also harness productivity, knowing how to boost team morale and performance in a fast-paced digital world—all while checking all the other important management boxes, like driving collaboration and mentoring teams.

“Effective modern leadership is a skill comprised of many different traits or qualities. Some of these qualities include vision, a mission, values, commitment, motivation, and consensus building. The lack of any of these important traits or qualities may greatly reduce the effectiveness of a leader,” explains Greg Thomas, Founder of WeLEAD.

Types of Leadership in the Modern Workplace

As such, your organization needs not one, but many effective leaders, each bringing their own strengths to the workplace. To keep pace with competitors, engage employees, and grow as an organization, make sure your company employs these five types of leaders.

The Servant Leader

This leadership style is based on a people-first mentality in which collaboration is the emphasis, and decisions are made as a group. Strict hierarchies are not imposed, as with traditional management styles, and instead, and each team member has clout.

This allows for collaboration, while empowering teams to take ownership of both successes and the failures. In Reflections From a Reluctant Servant Leader, the editorial team at Develop Intelligence explains:

“When you’re a servant leader, the people around you are happy to share in the blame. They feel some responsibility to any failure to succeed or perform, and they are only too happy to speak with optimism about their plans to recover, to create a new or better solution.”

This goes against the traditional way of leading, suggests Develop Intelligence: “A traditional leader who craves both command and control, barking and telling, pointing fingers and telling everyone around you what to do.” Instead, a servant leader walks alongside their team, not in front or behind. For millennial employees, having ownership is linked to feeling fulfilled and successful in their roles, making this type of leader critical.

The Mentor Coach

This leadership style is based on a commitment to sharing insights, feedback, experience and knowledge with the team in order to enrich personal and professional growth. When leaders act as a mentor, they invest in coaching, empowering and challenging team members to hone their skills so they can achieve their goals, both in and out of the office. Anthony K. Tjan, CEO, Managing Partner and Founder of CueBall explains:

“Having interviewed close to 100 of the most admired leaders across business, culture, arts, and government, one important characteristic stands out: They do everything they can to imprint their ‘goodness’ onto others in ways that make others feel like fuller versions of themselves. Put another way, the best leaders practice a form of leadership that is less about creating followers and more about creating other leaders.”

To be effective in this role, mentor-focused leaders need to prioritize and initiate clear expectations. This gives the mentee a clear path and focus to work toward as they learn and grow. This can be as simple as setting 1-on-1 goals at the start of each quarter and using those as a guide for mentorship.

The Team Partner

This leadership style is based on the idea that to build cohesive team dynamics, leaders must learn how each person functions individually. This enables them to relate to everyone in a way that’s unique and focused on the specific skills and attributes of each individual. Kevin Sealey, VP of Operations at EPOCH Student Living explains why understanding the team, and each member in it, is critical to great leadership:

“Just because you have a team that works with you does not immediately make you a ‘leader.’ A leader is someone who takes the time to understand and know the team members they are working with—what are their strengths, what are the areas of development, how can I better support them?”

This style of leadership allows you to build a team that, at its core, functions effectively on an individual level, but when put together is even more successful. Sealey continues, “Every team member is going to be different, and it is a leader’s responsibility to know how each one works separately, so that when they are put together, you will create positive results.”

The Transformational Leader

This style of leadership focuses on forward motion of the company as a whole and inspires employees to get on board without telling them so. Through accountability and delegation, this type of leader teaches their team how to assert ownership and independence.

“Transformational leaders inspire and motivate their workforce without micromanaging—they trust trained employees to take authority over decisions in their assigned jobs. It’s a management style designed to give employees more room to be creative, look into the future and find new solutions to old problems,” says Sarah K. White, senior writer for CIO.com.

For most organizations, this type of leader is critical, as they fight to stay relevant and successful in increasingly competitive markets.

The Bold Visionary

This leadership style is based on ingenuity, ideation and the power to mobilize a team toward change. The visionary leader is an asset in every business poised for expansion. This leader creates an environment where employees are confident taking risks and willing to weather the storm.

Ultimately, process improvement and efficiency is the force behind visionary leadership. Dave Lavinsky, self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur, says:

“A visionary leader turns vision into reality by creating a vivid image of the target they need to attain and creating a specific strategic plan for the coming year. The leader details what goals the company must accomplish and specific responsibilities of each key team member. Along the way, the leader keeps the team informed of their progress.”

This leader may seem more like a productivity junkie than a visionary—but the end result is the same: progress and efficiency from the whole team.

Find the Best Leaders for Your Modern Workplace

The best leaders of the modern workforce bring these unique leadership styles to everything they do. They motivate diverse teams, drive innovation, and mentor employees so the business can grow and thrive at a time when competition is fierce and employees are ready to be seen and make a difference.

Jessica Thiefels is founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting. She’s been writing for more than 10 years and has been featured in top publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur and Fast Company. She also regularly contributes to Virgin, Business Insider, Glassdoor, Score.org and more. Follow her on Twitter @JThiefels and connect on LinkedIn.


Erin Sevitz

Erin Sevitz is the Senior Director of Marketing at iOFFICE + SpaceIQ.

Capterra Ratings: ★★★★★ 4.5/5