There are many different types of leaders, and no style is good or bad. What makes you effective is being able to adapt your leadership style to suit the demands of that particular situation. LEAP breaks down six leadership styles, based on a Harvard study in leadership conducted by Daniel Goleman.
AFFILIATIVE: A leader who focuses on emotional bonds
The hallmark of this leader is to use praise and feedback to create emotional connections that build teams. This style is particularly effective in repairing broken trust in a company, by improving staff morale, increasing communication and creating a sense of interconnection and belonging.
While this leader is great at giving positive feedback, they tend to ignore situations when staff perform poorly. These mediocre performances are then seen as good enough and can lead to the deterioration of the team’s performance.
The affiliative leader in one phrase: People come first.
COACHING: A leader who helps develop people for the future
With this one-on-one style, the leader focuses on mentoring individuals to help them develop their strengths, build their skills and reach their goals. It is particularly beneficial for staff members who show initiative, and are excited about, and receptive to, personal growth.
When an employee is unwilling to learn or change, then this style of leadership is least effective. It can also come across as micromanaging your team.
The coaching leader in one phrase: Try this.
COMMANDING: A leader who demands immediate compliance
This military style of leadership is one of the most aggressive, as compliance from team members is expected and demanded. It is most effective in a crisis, when quick decisions are needed and there is little or no time for group discussions.
It’s a style that is often used but is the least effective and it can be hugely detrimental in the long run. Prolonged use makes members feel stifled, criticised and disempowered.
The commanding leader in one phrase: Do what I tell you!
DEMOCRATIC: A leader who uses participation to reach consensus
When a leader needs buy-in, or an organisation has an unclear direction, then this leadership style is beneficial. By using the collective wisdom and skill of the team, key decisions are made and agreed upon by everyone. Communication is essential and it is facilitated by the democratic leader.
In times of crisis this is not the best leadership style, as there is too much talking and listening and not enough effective and quick action.
The democratic leader in one phrase: What do you think?
PACESETTING: A leader who expects excellence and self-direction
These leaders set themselves very high standards for performance and expect their team to work to the same levels. It’s a style that works best with a self-motivated and highly competent team that has been working together successfully, and who can deliver quick results.
It’s a style that should not be sustained for too long as it can make workers burn out because they can’t keep up with the pace.
The pacesetting leader in one phrase: Do as I do, now!
VISIONARY: A leader who mobilises people towards a vision
A company that needs a new direction or vision is best served by a visionary leader. They provide clear directions, set the goals and inspire others to follow. This charismatic character inspires an entrepreneurial spirit.
While this leader will set the vision, they leave it to the team to figure out the details and how to reach those goals.
The visionary leader in one phrase: Come with me.
Many people have a default leadership style, however, in order for you to be effective, you need to be able to master a variety of styles, to use when the situation dictates. A good leader will be nimble and flexible and will use all of these styles – at the appropriate time – in order to lead a successful team.
Entrepreneurs and business owners will benefit from the services supplied by LEAP. We provide tailor-made solutions and a business support infrastructure, so you can focus on leading your team and growing your business. For more information call us today on 011 449 7974 or visit www.leapco.co.za.
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