Effective leaders play a viable role in a successful business scenario. Hospitality industry has suffered a huge setback due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

It is thus crucial for hospitality leaders to step up and help the revival process. This post explores some of the best leadership styles for a successful hospitality career.

Leaders who are tremendously successful use a blend of leadership styles or only one selective approach.

Leadership is a fluid activity that is constantly changing and boosting the company’s growth. The most appropriate style is determined by an organisation’s culture and vision.

Let’s get started!

Different Leadership Styles for Hospitality Career Success

In order to be successful in your career, you must embrace one management style that fits well with your strength and personality. This will serve you the best in your career.

In order to incorporate one of the most effective leadership styles, one must understand the qualities of an outstanding leader

A hospitality leader should be visionary, resilient, emotionally intelligent, accountable, good communicator, team worker, motivator and full of positivity and patience. 

Looks daunting, isn’t it?

Becoming a great hospitality industry leader is not everyone’s cup of tea. At least we all can put the right step forward. It is crucial to know leadership types and styles in the hospitality business. 

The most significant leadership styles for a successful career in hospitality management have been discussed below:

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership is regarded as the pivotal strategy to accumulate success.

Through effective communication and teamwork, transformational leaders motivate and inspire their teams, setting them on the path to success.

This can be a game changer in the hotel industry as the hotel industry is so much people centric.

They establish difficult targets and high expectations for each hospitality employee, resulting in a better outcome.

A recent study has shown the relationship between Transformation leadership, job involvement and job satisfaction among employees of the hospitality and tourism industry. This reiterates the positive impact transformational leadership can have on hospitality professionals.

Characteristics of Transformational leadership in the hospitality industry

  • Ability to Take Appropriate Risks
  • Take Risks and Make Difficult Decisions.
  • Share your company’s collective consciousness.
  • Motivate Those Around Them
  • Entertain New Thoughts.
  • Quickly and easily adapt new approaches

Democratic Leadership

Democratic leadership is another famous leadership style across industries.

It is also known as participatory leadership since it allows hospitality leaders to often ask for aid and involvement from their subordinates.

Individualistic inventiveness may help the hospitality organisation, and this leadership category often reports greater levels of job satisfaction.

However, because this technique involves more than one person in the decision-making process, it takes longer.

Characteristics of democratic leadership:

  • Even though the leader has the last say on choices, group members are encouraged to contribute their thoughts and opinions.
  • Prompts creational values.

Laissez-faire leadership

In French, the phrase ‘laissez-faire’ literally means ‘let them do.’ 

Leaders that use a laissez-faire attitude are recognised for their hands-off approach, which has been criticised for weak management role definition. 

In creative occupations and companies with experienced personnel, this leadership approach is beneficial.

To get the most out of this kind of leadership, however, active monitoring of performance and good communication about expectations from the leader’s end is required.

Think of the top hoteliers like Ritz Carlton and Bill Marriott to emulate this leadership style.

Image Courtesy- Verywell Mind

Characteristics of Laissez-Faire Leadership

  • Taking a hands-off attitude
  • Training and assistance
  • Employees make choices.
  • Recognising and accepting faults

Transactional Leadership

Someone who emphasises order and structure in their job is referred to be a transactional leader. 

They are likely to be in charge of military operations, major enterprises, restaurant operations or multinational projects that require rules and procedures to meet deadlines or transport personnel and materials in an orderly manner. 

Hospitality Leaders and Chefs that employ this approach focus on particular duties and inspire their followers through prizes and penalties.

The Masterchef classes and popular shows like the one from famous celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay display this kind of leadership style.

Characteristics of Transactional leadership

  • Policies and procedures that are well-structured are desirable.
  • Rigorously observance of directions 
  • Increases effectiveness and productivity
  • Incline to be inflexible.
  • Change-resistant

Autocratic leadership

Autocratic or domineering bosses exert control over their personnel and seldom accept or acknowledge the opinions or recommendations of their subordinates.

Staff seldom respect leaders that rule with an iron fist, which can lead to high turnover and absenteeism.

Flexibility is unusual in an autocratic workplace.

The hospitality industry seems to have evolved from this type of leadership style. However, a lot of hospitality organisations and their leaders still seem to be change resistant.

Characteristics of autocratic leadership

A few features of authoritarian leaders have been discussed below:

  • Enables very little participation from members of the organisation and forces leaders to make practically all of the choices.
  • Allows leaders to impose their work techniques and processes.
  • It makes the group feel as though they aren’t trusted with key choices or jobs.
  • It tends to produce situations that are very organised and inflexible.
  • Encourages ingenuity and out-of-the-box thinking but discourages originality.
  • Establishes regulations that are usually well-defined and articulated.

Charismatic leadership

A leader who uses his or her communication abilities, persuasiveness, and charm to persuade others is described as charismatic.

Because of their capacity to connect with people on a deep level, charismatic executives are especially effective in firms that are going through a crisis or striving to move forward.

This is the leadership style that is the need of the hour for the hospitality industry to bounce back in style.

We need more Richard Bransons, Rata Tatas and Conrad Hiltons to help the quick recovery of the travel and hospitality industry.

Characteristics of charismatic leadership

So each charismatic leader has a unique appearance. However, most charismatic leaders share several crucial characteristics:

  • Excellent communicator
  • Compassionate and relatable
  • Confident
  • Motivational
  • enthralling and charming
  • Optimistic

Many characteristics of transformative leadership are shared with charismatic leadership.

While they are similar, there is one significant difference: charismatic leaders use their personality and skill set to persuade their followers to take action, whereas transformational leaders use a shared vision to bring about change.

As a result, while most transformational leaders are charismatic, not all charismatic leaders are transformative.

Leadership Styles: Do You Know What Kind of Leader You Are?

In general, successful leadership is a method of managing people’s interests. As a leader, you’ve probably wondered, “What kind of leader am I?” You’ll know your response after you’ve discovered your style.

An article on most common leadership styles by hubspot has explained in detail on what type of leader or manager one can become. This has been explained in their diagram below.

It is also useful to understand your management style to determine your leadership style. A couple of crucial management styles are mentioned below. 

Strategic Management in the hospitality industry

This leadership style entails a leader who is effectively the organisation’s top authority.

Strategic leaders, on the other hand, are not confined to the company’s highest-ranking officials. They appeal to a broader range of people at all levels who desire to live, work, or lead a high-performing life, team, or an organisation. 

Because of its particular approach, this is regarded as the most preferable leadership style.

Salient features of strategic Leadership in hospitality

  • Participation of senior management
  • Large-scale resource requirements have an impact on a company’s long-term success.
  • Future-oriented
  • Consequences of a multi-functional or multi-business nature
  • Decisions that aren’t self-generative

Bureaucratic Management

Bureaucratic leadership paradigms are best suited to administrative organisations where rules must be followed and a hierarchy must be established. 

One can easily relate this type of management with the hotel industry.

This leadership style constructs a fixed code of instructions, regulations, and guidelines that the leaders strictly observe and ensure the compliance of these policies by their employers as well.

Hotel management is deep rooted in this this of management and thus leaders need a paradigm shift to move towards transformative leadership.

However, this type of management can be good for the hotel industry due to decreasing profit margins and increasing competition.

Characteristics of Bureaucratic management 

  • Well organised management
  • A genuine hierarchical system.
  • brave and strong-willed
  • Task-oriented and diligent


In reality, the finest hospitality managers may combine components of several styles to create a vibrant and distinct management and leadership style. 

Effective hospitality leaders know that changing their leadership style may help their staff and the entire workplace, and they’ll be open to learning about various techniques while keeping in mind that no method is flawless. 

To reap the rewards, great leaders establish strong connections with their teams, foster trust between members and the leader, and assist when needed.

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