Which One Style of Leadership is the Most Effective for Your Startup?

Should you be a strategic, democratic, pacesetting or delegative leader? Here’s what will work for your startup.
Which One Style of Leadership is the Most Effective for Your Startup?
Jacob Wilson

Running a startup business is a lot more difficult than it seems. Your company is young and new in a market that’s infamous for being highly competitive and saturated. Making tough decisions and developing solid strategies will be an integral part of your everyday activities.

So how does a startup succeed in such an unfriendly environment?

Simply put, it all comes down to leadership. As a business owner, you have to take the lead and drive your company forward. You must also ensure that your employees do the same.

If you don’t lead well, your startup won’t last long in the online market. But how should someone lead a startup? That depends on you and what you want to achieve, as well as how fast you must get there.

Some leadership styles may not suit your character but it’s not about you, it’s about your business.

There are various leadership styles suited for startup businesses. Some may not suit your character but it’s not about you, it’s about your business. Therefore, let’s see which one style of leadership is the most effective for your startup business.

Strategic leadership 🚀

This leadership style works exceptionally well for startups. This type of leader is focused on both developing the business further and on providing employees with the best conditions and work environment possible.

The main reason this style is one of the most effective styles for startups is that you don’t have many employees to begin with. Therefore, it becomes much easier to cater to both business and employee needs.

However, for strategic leadership to be effective, a leader must be skilled and able to analyze the situation well so that they can make the right decision and align business goals with employee needs.

In larger companies, this method becomes more complex as there are too many employees to cater to. In such cases, a compromise must be made or one side will have to give in for the greater good of the entire company.

Democratic leadership 🤝

This leadership style is quite effective when it comes to startup businesses. As the name of this style suggests, this type of leadership is based on democratic processes.

It’s a way for a startup owner to establish a meaningful relationship with their employees.

In other words, before making the decision, a leader will consult with their employees and take each and everyone’s opinion into consideration.

However, the leader still holds the authority to make the final decision as they see fit. If a leader is indecisive, they will put the decision up for a vote.

This style is excellent in startup environments. It’s not just a way to make more informed and strategic decisions, but it’s also a way for a startup owner to establish a meaningful relationship with their employees.

When employees are involved in such matters, they tend to become more motivated and productive. After all, their opinions hold value in the company they work for, so they will do their best to prove themselves.

Pacesetting leadership 🏃

This type of leadership style can work wonders for startups, but only in the short-term period. If you’re wondering what is pacesetting leadership, you’re at the right place.

In simple terms, the pacesetting style is to lead by example.

However, the leader will set quite high standards and they will expect from employees to keep up and deliver. This strategy works exceptionally well for achieving goals fast and allowing the business to grow and develop in the desired direction.

Everyone must do their best or this approach might fail. The main reason this style works well for a short-term period is that it may cause burnouts if the pace is kept up for too long. The leader leads from the front and encourages employees to follow.

But, if the leader is unable to give a good example, others won’t perform as well as expected. That’s why the leader is supposed to be knowledgeable and skilled so that they can motivate employees to give everything they’ve got.

Delegative leadership 💪

This is another effective leadership style suited for startup businesses. Delegative leadership, otherwise known as Laissez-Faire leadership, which is a French word for “let them do”. In other words, this style focuses on empowering employees by giving them the authority to make their own decisions.

A leader still has some authority, but most of the effort is focused on employees. They are allowed to analyze the situation and do things as they see fit.

The goal is to trust employees that they will get the job done without being supervised or managed.

Such a leadership style allows startups to thrive in a way that’s both competitive and relevant. The leader focuses their attention on growth opportunities for their startup business, while employees are left in charge of everyday business operations and processes.

However, this type of leadership should not be left unchecked for too long. If a leader doesn’t step in every now and then, the company can miss out on potential growth opportunities and you’ll be stuck in one place when your startup could’ve grown at that point.


Choosing a leadership style that will be the most effective for your startup can be challenging. Everything depends on the nature of your business, the type of employees you hire and, of course, you as a person.

As mentioned before, some leadership styles may not match your character but it’s important to adapt if you want your business to succeed.


Jacob Wilson is a business consultant, and an organizational psychologist, based in Brisbane. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for Bizzmark blog.

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