When leadership discussions drift to matters of “style,” we generally put on our skeptical spectacles and try to slip quietly out of the room.

Our problem is that when you try to reduce effective leadership to a “style,” you’re usually drifting into matters peripheral and ephemeral – silly, superficial stuff that’s nothing more than a veneer trying to cover up inadequate, inferior character.

Not so with the results of a study conducted by LearnLoft, a leadership development company which exists to turn managers into leaders. The company studied over 40,000 organizational leaders in all different leadership roles to determine exactly how love and discipline in one’s leadership approach influenced effectiveness.

Five clear-cut leadership styles emerged. But one style proved to outperform the others both in performance and praise from their people.

As reported by John Eades, CEO of LearnLoft and author of  Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Other to Success, the five styles the company identified are:

  • Managers
  • Pleasers
  • Rulers
  • Supporters
  • Elevaters

We won’t keep you in suspense. Leaders whose style is to elevate their employees report having higher-performing teams than those with all other styles combined.

They have more top performers on their teams, do more internal promotions and see much less voluntary turnover.