The Dangers of Business Leadership Styles

12 min read
Mar 31, 2022

Have you ever faced a business-related problem, and instead of uprooting its cause, you simply slapped a Band-Aid on top of it? Believe it or not, this is what most business leadership styles do.

Effective leadership is essential for business success, yet most entrepreneurs take little to no time to develop themselves as leaders.

Then, when they can no longer ignore the fact that they need better leadership, they adopt a so-called “business leadership style”, only to not become a better leader. Sometimes, they become even less effective leaders!

That said, we’re sharing why most business leadership styles are utter garbage, and how adopting a specific style takes leaders backwards. Additionally, we’re sharing what CEOs can actually do to become better leaders.

Without solid leadership, your business will:

  1. Plateau
  2. Have a toxic work environment
  3. Never live up to its potential

Bottom line: Adopting a so-called leadership style thinking that it’ll help you be a good leader is like throwing a bucket of water on an already burning building.


What Are Business Leadership Styles (Strategies)?


Before going any further... What exactly are business leadership styles?

Also commonly referred to as leadership strategies, leadership styles refer to the framework of methods, practices, and behaviors that a business leader uses to manage and direct their team members.

Think of leadership styles as different personality types. More often than not, people tend to operate most like one specific personality type.

Depending on who you talk to, there are usually somewhere between 4 and 10 different leadership styles, including but not limited to:

  1. Strategic leadership
  2. Bureaucratic leadership
  3. Democratic leadership
  4. Transformational leadership
  5. Autocratic leadership

If you take a close look at yourself and dive into the different traits of each leadership style, you may or may not see yourself as aligning most with one particular style.

On the other hand, you might take a look at the different styles and see yourself as possessing different traits from each style.

So, why would a CEO be interested in knowing which leadership style they align with the most?

They might for several reasons, including:

  1. Wanting to understand themselves more on a deeper level
  2. Knowing what their strengths and weaknesses are
  3. Looking for new ways to become a better leader

While these are all good reasons, one common and major mistake that CEOs make is simply adopting a specific leadership style, assuming that doing so will make them more effective leaders. However, they eventually find out that doing so only takes them further backward.


What are the leadership styles in business?


Here’s Why Most Business Leadership Styles Fail


Without further ado, here’s exactly why most business leadership styles cause business failure, and why you shouldn’t simply slap on a style thinking it’ll help you become a better business leader.

Instead of putting on a label and calling it a day, what you should be doing is leaning into your own unique qualities that make you the best version of yourself. It’s within those unique qualities where your leadership potential lies!


Most Styles Are Business Owner-Centric


Long story short: Business leadership isn’t about YOU. Sure, you’re the business leader, but if you think that becoming a better leader is all about you, then you’re wrong!

Rather, what leadership is all about is becoming a better version of yourself for the sake of bettering your team members, customers and potential customers, and overall business. When you’re at your best, everyone else rises to meet you.

Unfortunately, even many well-intentioned CEOs make leadership all about themselves.


While there are several reasons, one of the key reasons is because they’re used to run-of-the-mill leadership tools, such as the basic leadership styles that are inherently business owner-centric instead of company-centric.

Rather than making becoming a better leader about improving the overall company, it becomes about making a leader better for the sake of themselves.


Leadership Isn’t About CEOs


Becoming a better leader is the means to the end.

What end specifically?

By the end, we’re talking about your business vision! Your business vision is the reason why you do what you do, and the experience that you’re trying to create through your company.

Unfortunately, many CEOs get things twisted. They start to see themselves at the end goal and the business as the means. Not only is this backward, but a business can’t function this way.

To get yourself untwisted, focus first on your business vision and then ask yourself how you can become a better leader in order to manifest that vision.

A great way to start doing that is by letting go of cheap leadership strategies that only focus on you instead of your company.


What About Your Customers?


How many times have you encountered a business owner who was completely full of themself? Didn’t simply being in their presence make you want to turn around and head for the door?

The truth is that nobody likes a CEO who is in the game solely for themself, particularly their customers.

Whether you know it or not, if you’ve got a self-centered perspective, customers and potential customers know it. You can try your best to hide it, but they’ll know it’s there!

Therefore, if your approach to leadership is all about you, you, and you, then you’re asking for customers to fall off the radar.


What About Your Team Members?


What makes you think that if you’re self-centered that your team members won’t be?

When it comes down to it, whatever energy you put into the company will reflect in your team. So, if you’ve got a “me, me, me” take on leadership, then they’ll all take on that self-centered perspective as well.

Moreover, the whole purpose of having a “team” in the first place will all go to shambles because you decided to make everything about YOU.


Entrepreneurs Don’t Fit Into Boxes


The key reason why business leadership styles fail is because the styles simply don’t fully embody all the factors that make a CEO great.

Moreover, a single leadership style cannot fully describe all the goodness that a CEO brings to the table.

Therefore, when a CEO tries to adopt a specific style, what they end up doing is shedding all the factors that make them the most unique. In an effort to try to fit a specific style, they let go of the factors that truly make them their very best.

To put it simply: Great leaders simply don’t fit within the confines of any standardized leadership style. Not only that, but what makes them great leaders to begin with is the fact that they don’t fit into boxes!

If you’re looking to become a better leader, the last thing you should want to do is try and squeeze yourself within the confines of a specific style. Instead, you should be leaning into the traits that make you different from everyone else.


Don’t Try to Fit Into a Box


What inspired you to become an entrepreneur in the first place?

Was it the fact that you had a compelling business idea that you couldn’t stop thinking about? Or do you come from a long line of business owners and wanted to carry on the tradition?

Regardless of the reason why, just about every CEO dives into entrepreneurship because they have at least somewhat of a rebellious side to them. By that, we mean that they simply don’t fit the status-quo of 9-5, and would rather go against the grain than try to fit it.

Therefore, if you’re already a CEO, then we bet that you already know for a fact that you don’t fit into a box. So, why would you try to re-package yourself into one by tying yourself to a specific leadership style? That should be the last thing you want to do!

Instead of crawling into a corner, lean into that rebellious side that motivated you to become an entrepreneur in the first place.


Draw Out Your Own Unique Leadership Qualities


Instead of conforming to your supposed best-fit leadership style, what you should do is focus on drawing out all of your unique leadership qualities and using them to their fullest extent.

Now, that isn’t to say that you don’t need to learn any new skills such as communication skills to become a successful leader. However, that is to say that you shouldn’t change the way you express yourself as a leader.

While every leader must have a specific set of skills and qualities, that doesn’t mean that every leader needs to express them the same way! On top of that, you shouldn’t avoid drawing out your most unique qualities for the sake of fitting a certain style.

The bottom line is that you bring something different to the table than any other CEO on Earth, and it’s within those unique qualities where your strength as a leader lies.


effective business leadership


Styles Don’t Solve Problems


More often than not, CEOs look to standardized leadership styles when they can no longer ignore the fact that they need stronger leadership to run a successful business. They look at their company and say, “We clearly have some leadership problems, maybe I should start by figuring out what my leadership style is!

Doesn’t something sound off here?

Moreover, this is exactly how the leadership styles most commonly act as Band-Aids for larger leadership problems. Instead of actively solving leadership problems, CEOs simply slap on a style thinking that it’ll fix the issue. However, it only acts as a distraction.

A style won’t solve your leadership problem, only strong leadership will solve your problems! Rather than ignoring challenges, face them head-on if you want any hope of overcoming them.


Shouldn’t You Be Problem-Solving?


Nothing solves leadership or general business problems except active problem-solving!

You can sit around all you want waiting for somebody else to solve your problems for you, but that’s probably not going to happen. Not only that, but the longer you wait for somebody else to solve them, the worse the problem will get.

We’ve all been there before! Ignoring problems is much simpler than having to confront them.

But you should do your future self a favor by solving the issue before it blows up into something much worse. While it’s much, much easier to simply ignore problems, the absolute best thing you can do is solve them before they explode!

As a business owner, you’ve already proven to yourself that you’re able to endure momentary discomfort for the sake of long-term success and fulfillment. So if you’ve done it once before, you can certainly do it again.


You Might Not Need More Business Leadership Skills


How often do you think to yourself, “I’ve got this leadership-related issue, so maybe if I just learn this particular skill I’ll be able to solve it!

Here’s the thing: If skills solved problems, then there would be way fewer problems in the business world! The hard truth is that we live in a world full of extremely skilled CEOs who don’t know what to do with their existing skill set. More specifically, they don’t know how to use their skills to solve everyday business problems.

Taking on a certain leadership style often encourages CEOs to develop more skills. And, while that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, what would probably be better is if CEOs focused on how to empower themselves to apply the skills they already have!

This isn’t to say that learning new leadership skills, such as self-awareness and communication, isn’t important. But it is to say that having skills alone won’t solve issues.

From now on, whenever you’re confronted with an issue, ask yourself, “How can I use my existing skills to solve this”, instead of “What new skill do I need to learn to solve this?” Because, more often than not, you already have more than enough skills to solve the problem at hand!


Leadership Styles Are Distractions


Having to face the music is difficult, to say the least. By this, we mean having to confront an issue head-on is extremely challenging. In fact, accepting the fact that an issue is present to begin with is sometimes more challenging than actually solving it!

If you’re having a difficult time facing the music of your own challenges, perhaps the worst thing you can do is surround yourself with distractions.

For example, if your business strategy is driving your company into the ground, then the last thing you want to do is surround yourself with other, smaller distractions that take your eyes off the strategy.

Oftentimes, leadership styles act purely as distractions! Instead of confronting their leadership-related issues and actively solving them, CEOs use leadership styles as a distraction from actually solving their issues.

Unfortunately, adopting a specific style will never fix your issue for you. In most cases, it’ll only distract you from the issue at hand.


Get an Accountability Partner


When CEOs are distracting themselves away from business issues, it’s sometimes difficult for them to even realize that they’re doing it.

For example, you might be in the thick of a terrible company culture, but not even realize it because you’re unconsciously distracting yourself with other things.

Why is it so challenging for CEOs to stop distracting themselves and confront their challenges?

It’s challenging because our own human nature distracts us for the sake of comfort! Instead of facing pressing issues, human nature influences us to look away, because having to face the issue forces us to step out of our comfort zone.

To help keep human nature at bay, find yourself a business partner who can help keep you on top of your challenges. By doing so, you won’t let distractions swoop in and prevent you from doing what you need to do.


How Will a Label Solve Your Problem?


At the end of the day, leadership styles are just labels. 

While it can be fun to have a label or feel like you’re a part of a specific group, being labeled as some specific type of leader will never actually help you become a better leader. On top of that, it won’t solve your problems!

So try to keep into perspective what styles are: Labels!


business leadership styles


You’re Most Confident When You Are Yourself


We’ve got a question for you: Are you more confident when you’re being true to yourself? Or are you more confident when you’re pretending to be somebody who you’re really not?

If you’re like most people, then you’re more confident when you’re being true to yourself! Sure, you might not like everything about yourself, but trying to be somebody you aren’t only makes you feel worse in the end!

Unfortunately, many business owners change themselves for the sake of fitting a specific style that sounds best to them. Even if doing so forces them to betray who they really are, they try to fit the style because they think it’ll help them in their leadership role.

Over time, they come to realize that changing who they are to fit a label only makes them worse leaders in the end!

Bottom line: If adopting a specific style forces you to change who you are, then it’ll only crush your confidence and make you a worse-off leader in the end.


Short-Term Thinking = Long-Term Disaster


Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “But I genuinely don’t like who I am, and certainly feel more confident when I pretend to be somebody else!

Okay, so maybe pretending to be somebody you aren’t makes you feel good in the short term, but what about the long-term? What happens when people start to like and respect you for the person you’re pretending to be and not who you truly are? What happens when your team members and customers start to realize that you’re not who you say you are?

Pretending to be something you’re not for the sake of short-term confidence is the definition of “short-term thinking leads to long-term disaster!”

If you want to be successful as a leader in the long run, then you’re better off putting up with the short-term of learning to be confident in yourself versus being somebody who you’re really not.


Final Thoughts on Why Most Leadership Styles Fail


No more slapping Band-Aids on problems thinking that they’ll solve the root problem. Instead, it’s time to start uprooting the causes of problems, and that includes problems related to your business leadership!

No more trying to conform yourself to a label; It’s time for you to draw out all of your best leadership qualities to become the type of leader you need yourself to be and your team members you need to be. 

Instead of slapping on a leadership style and calling it a day, draw out your own unique qualities to become the most effective business leader version of yourself.

Grow your business

Achieve what your business is capable of

Schedule a time to meet and see what BOLD CEO can do for you.Talk to a Strategist

Become an Insider