Becoming a great leader calls for knowing yourself, and finding ways to leverage your unique strengths and weaknesses to bring out the best in your team. To do that effectively, you need to identify your leadership style, or the characteristics that help you get your team across the finish line.

Taking the time to understand your leadership style not only makes you a more effective communicator, capable of fostering greater collaboration and teamwork, but it can also propel your career by helping you identify opportunities that align with your natural talents.

Read on to learn more about five common leadership styles — plus, how to find and develop your own leadership style and set your team up to thrive.

1. The Visionary

Visionaries have a knack for rallying the team around a mission or cause. They chart a course the team is excited to follow, and focus on providing purposeful work to get results.

2. The Autocrat

Autocratic leaders lean heavily on rules and guidelines, and take a “what I say goes” approach to getting things done. While this rigidity may limit creativity within the team, autocratic leaders’ ability to make difficult decisions can lead organizations through times of crisis.

3. The Coach

Coach-style leaders look at their team and see untapped potential. They have a natural talent for spotting team members’ unique strengths, and have the development skills to help their team set (and achieve) long-term goals.

4. The Teammate

Teammate-style leaders, also called collaborative leaders, love getting down in the trenches. They eschew top-down organizational models and encourage every team member to contribute ideas and share responsibility for the team's work.

5. The Laissez-Faire Leader

Laissez-faire leaders take a hand-off approach, allowing team members to follow their own work process and develop their skills independently. This leadership style provides team members the freedom to work to their full potential, and is best suited to experienced teams.

How to Find Your Leadership Style

These five steps can help you identify the style(s) that suit you best.

Consider your personal mission and core values

While the best leaders adapt their style to suit the needs of their team, they always stay true to who they are. Consider your “ideal” team and role you’d play in it, reflecting on how the skills you’d use align with the leadership styles above. Chances are, you can narrow your ideal leadership to two or three styles right away for deeper exploration.

Inventory your strengths and weaknesses

Each leadership style relies on different strengths to succeed. The Coach, for example, excels at nurturing others’ strengths and talents, while the Visionary has the charisma to rally team members with disparate viewpoints around a common cause. Reflect on areas where you excel to identify which style(s) naturally align with your skills.

Think back on the team’s successes (and failures)

Ultimately, good leadership takes into account your personal strengths as well as the needs of your team, so reflect on your role in the team’s wins and losses. Did you spark innovation by seeking out diverse ideas? You might be a collaborative leader. If your team looked to you as the one willing to take responsibility for tough calls, you might have thrived as an autocratic leader. Keep in mind that many leadership styles are not mutually exclusive of each other, and you may have embodied different leadership styles at different times in your life.

Ask for feedback

Finding your leadership style isn’t just about self-reflection, and soliciting feedback can yield valuable insights to improve your leadership. Ask your teammates how best you can support them — and if there’s anything more you can do. The answers can help you identify the strengths that define your leadership style, as well as illustrate the level of trust and collaboration between you and your team.

Stay flexible

Your leadership style will evolve throughout your career, and great leaders often blend multiple leadership styles and adapt their leadership to suit the needs of their team. Think of your leadership style as a starting point for self-discovery, and a compass to guide the next phase of your career as you work toward your goals.