Ellie Burke
Ellie Burke
7 min
Board room meeting

QUIZ: What Kind of Leader Are You?

Great leaders often share much in common, but the ways they lead can run the gamut. When you understand your own leadership styles and methods, you can be more self-aware of any associated pros and cons and identify ways you can manage your people more effectively.

This quiz will help you understand the leadership styles you tend to employ. Be sure to write your answers down along the way. At the end, an answer key will give you your results.

Remember, leadership is not a perfect science. What’s best for your organization and people may not be the best for others.

Take the Quiz

1. When you need to make a decision, you typically:

A. Make it on your own
B. Use it as an opportunity to train a subordinate
C. Delegate it to an appropriate team member
D. Consult your subordinates for their expertise
E. Try to help everyone get behind your idea for moving forward
F. First question how the decision will affect tasks at hand

2. When a subordinate takes an action that is less than satisfactory, you:

A. Seek to understand the circumstances that led to the action
B. Help your employee understand how they could improve next time
C. Let them know their action has a negative consequence
D. Calmly explain to your subordinate what the best course of action was
E. Investigate how the action will impact larger projects
F. Tend to ignore it—it will work itself out

3. Which of these statements rings the truest for you?

A. You believe in a “let it lie” policy and know a hands-off approach is best
B. You pride yourself on being a great listener and communicator
C. You’re personally invested in the success of your individual employees
D. You like to have a hand in everything, and need to have the final say
E. You only hire all-stars. You’re pretty sure they’re all smarter than you and that’s a-okay
F. You’re all about goals, deadlines, and doing what it takes to get the job done

4. When someone does something that pleases you, you:

A. Listen to what they thought went well and congratulate them
B. Are ready to move on to the next job
C. Hold off on congratulating them and let your incentive structure speak for itself
D. Reinforce the behavior through acknowledgement and encouragement
E. Let them know that their contribution is important to the team
F. Tend to not acknowledge behavior, good or bad

5. When it comes to your employees, you feel that:

A. As long as they’re getting the job done, you’re happy
B. They must be held to the highest standard
C. They know what’s best for the organization
D. Each has an opportunity to grow personally and professionally within their role
E. Their input is extremely important to the organization’s success
F. They can be persuaded to see your side, if needed

6. Your perfect day is a day:

A. You get to help someone realize their professional goals
B. You get to work as part of the team and collect input from others
C. Everyone does their job correctly
D. You get to spend conversing with others
E. You don’t have to intervene with anyone’s work
F. A big project crosses the finish line

7. If you had to choose one phrase to summarize your organizational culture, you’d say:

A. Open and communal
B. Warm and inviting
C. Unrestrained and empowered
D. Connected and family-oriented
E. Results-driven and process-oriented
F. Orderly and efficient

8. If you had to choose one role model from those below, it would be:

A. Howard Schult, CEO of Starbucks
B. Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo
C. Ridley Scott, film director
D. Bill Gates, cofounder of Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
E. Ronald Reagan, former president of the United States
F. Warren Buffet, business mogul and philanthropist

Leadership Styles Answer Key

Great! Now that you’ve recorded your answers to each question, go through this key and count up the respective symbols for each of your answers. For example, if you answered “A” for question one, you’ll write down “gavel” and continue down the list. The symbol that you’ve collected the most corresponds to the leadership style that you tend to most employ.

Quiz answer key

Have a tie between symbols? That just means that you tend to use multiple leadership approaches. Read all applicable descriptions to get your full results.

If you scored mostly gavels,

You are an Autocratic Leader, like Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott

Autocratic leaders often make decisions on their own and feel they need to be involved in every step of a project. While they tend to get a bad rap, or might be considered a bit cold or harsh, this style also famously gets stuff done. Because you’re not taking time to consult with others along the way, decisions are made quickly and your organization often reaps the rewards from this.

What you’re typically awesome at:
  • Moving everything along
  • Keeping a clear mind in stressful situations
  • Getting control of a group
What you need to be careful with:
  • Overlooking the creative solutions and ideas of others
  • Negatively impacting company morale

If you scored mostly scales,

You are a Democratic Leader, like Indra Nooyi

 INDRA NOOYI

Democratic leaders often rely on their subordinates to help them make decisions. You invite the opinions of experts, the collective thoughts of the leadership team, and often, input from the greater organization. This style tends to unearth new ideas from others and helps employees feel like valued members of a team.

What you’re typically awesome at:
  • Bringing the group together to discuss and making everyone feel heard
  • Weighing input and multiple perspectives before making a decision
What you need to be careful with:
  • Taking too long to make a decision because you feel the need to reach a consensus
  • Appearing like you’re holding back your own thoughts and opinions

If you scored mostly hands,

You are a Laissez-Faire Leader, like Warren Buffet

Warren Buffett

French for “allow to do,” laissez-faire is a government policy that involves allowing the free market to run its own course without the government’s interference. In terms of a leadership style, a laissez-faire leader often delegates tasks to others and grants them the authority to make their own decisions. Laissez-faire leaders, typically remaining uninvolved, equip subordinates with what they need and then hand over the reins. They are, however, still ultimately responsible for the collective actions of the team.

What you’re typically awesome at:
  • Building a topnotch team of experts
  • Giving subordinates a sense of autonomy
  • Getting involved only when necessary
What you need to be careful with:
  • Failing to assemble the right team—for example, this style is less effective when members can’t self-manage their time
  • Misdirected team members who end up focusing on the wrong areas due to a lack of guidance
  • Using your detached style as a scapegoat to avoid responsibility for the group’s actions

If you scored mostly coffee cups,

You are an Employee-Centered Leader, like Howard Schultz

Howard Schultz

Employee-centered leaders are committed to the success of each and every one of their team members. They often feel comfortable delegating tasks and are concerned with the personal and professional growth of their subordinates. They work hard to make sure employees feel they have a path to advance and achieve their individual goals. This type of leader tends to thrive at the executive level as their focus on relationship-building and morale propels the team forward.

What you’re typically awesome at:
  • Helping people realize their fullest potential
  • Facilitating relationships across teams
  • Making employees feel respected, trusted, and valued
What you need to be careful with:
  • Focusing on your grand vision so much that you miss opportunities to contribute at a granular level
  • Keeping key tasks and projects on your radar
  • Sugarcoating difficult news or information

If you scored mostly pens,

You are a Job-Centered Leader, like Bill Gates

Bill Gates

Task-centered leaders will make sure things get done. They’ve got their eye on the prize and are great at facilitating subordinates to complete a larger task. While a task-centered leader is detail-oriented and precise, they can also tend to keep tabs on their subordinates’ work and progress, and be pretty vocal about specifics and deadlines.

What you’re typically awesome at:
  • Making lists, plans, and schedules
  • Helping the team understand their responsibility
  • Keeping everyone on track and ensuring quality work
What you need to be careful with:
  • Causing employees to feel micromanaged or not trusted
  • Focusing on the nitty-gritty so much that you lose sight of the larger picture
  • Becoming autocratic

If you scored mostly smiley faces,

You are a Charismatic Leader, like Ronald Reagan

Ronald Regan

Charismatic leaders are captivating. They have no trouble gathering a room’s attention. They’re confident and have the ability to communicate in a way that can transform their subordinates’ values and beliefs. They tend to gain their organization’s trust easily and inspire others to get onboard with whatever decision is on the table.

What you’re typically awesome at:
  • Getting everyone to understand your vision
  • Making people feel special and inspired to succeed
  • Taking initiative and confidently moving forward with decisions
What you need to be careful with:
  • Your followers possibly losing steam and questioning your authenticity
  • Taking advantage of your “powers” to persuade someone to make a bad decision

 

These results are just a few of the many different leadership styles. To learn more about how you can impact your organization and help your team succeed, check out our Leader’s Guide to Motivating Employees.


Image sources: Houston Style Magazine, LinkedIn, Vintage Value Investing, The Wrap, TechSpot, Forbes

  • Tracy Lynn Stanley

    Mostly coffee cups and smileys, with a few scales haha makes sense! Employee-centered and charismatic, with a touch of democratic.

  • Will Schmidt

    Howard Schultz, which is funny because I don’t drink coffee 🙂 but I do love employee-centered leaders!

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