Leading people is more than just making decisions and being vocal. Leadership includes: encouraging people, doing the right thing, and creating a vision for others. Just as each of us has a unique personality, we also have a unique style of leadership. Each style has characteristics that work well and not so well. If you understand your leadership style, you’ll be able to capitalize on the strengths and minimize the weaknesses. Success for workplace (and team) leaders comes when they are able to adapt their style to the group’s dynamics.
- Affiliative Leader – This style emphasizes the importance of teamwork. These leaders strive to create harmony by building relationships within groups. They believe if you increase teamwork, then communication, morale, and trust increase as well. The downside is that often group praise can make mediocrity appear acceptable. Be sure to correct others when you notice their work could be improved.
- Coaching Leader – This style focuses on developing individuals and demonstrating how they can improve performance. One-on-one leading helps individuals connect their goal to the goals of the organization. At times, people may perceive you as micromanaging or undermining their abilities. Continue to foster relationships so individuals understand you trust in their abilities. You are just helping them towards success.
- Commanding Leader – This style is also referred to as “military style.” Leaders criticize often, which undercuts morale and job satisfaction. It is rarely successful, but under crisis situation when urgent results are needed it can prove to be useful.
- Democratic Leader – This style draws upon the individual abilities of group members. Leaders capitalize on people’s knowledge and skills to create commitment to the group. When a group relies on an individual’s specific talents, he/she feels more accountable. This is a good approach when the leader wants to maximize group commitment, but it is not great in crisis situations when a quick decision needs to be made.
- Pacesetting Leader – This style needs to be utilized with caution. Leaders sets high standards, which isn’t bad; however, they often become obsessed with doing things better and faster. When a team is already motivated, this style can increase performance for a specific task. If used often, it can poison morale.
- Visionary Leader – This style works best when next steps are unclear. The leader paints a picture of shared dreams and trust in the innovation of the group to get them there.
These six approaches are based on Daniel Goleman’s Leadership Styles. There are many more labels to give leaders’ styles, but this provides a comprehensive breakdown of the most widely used.