You are not supposed to be labeled with one of the leadership styles. As we will see, this list is meant to make you recognize in you a little bit of each style, which is, first of all, a behavior. The best part is realizing what kind of leader you don’t want to be. Daniel Goleman wrote his “Leadership That Gets Results”, a landmark 2000 Harvard Business Review, a three-year study with over 3,000 middle-level managers. The goal was to uncover specific leadership behaviors and determine their effect on the corporate climate and on bottom-line profitability. The answer? Provoking.
The research discovered that manager’s leadership style was responsible for 30% of the company’s bottom-line profitability. It’s too much to be unnoticed. The leadership styles, after all, were 6:
1. The pacesetting leader
“Do as I do, now.” It works best when the team is already motivated and skilled and the leader needs quick results. Used extensively, however, this style can overwhelm team members and squelch innovation.
2. The authoritative leader
“Come with me.” He/She mobilizes the team toward a common vision and focuses on end goals. It works best when the team needs a new vision because circumstances have changed. He/She inspires an entrepreneurial spirit and vibrant enthusiasm for the mission. It is not the best fit when the leader is working with a team of experts who know more than him or her.
3. The affiliative leader
“People come first.” He/She works to create emotional bonds that bring a feeling of bonding and belonging to the organization. It works best in times of stress, when teammates need to heal from a trauma, or when the team needs to rebuild trust. This style should not be used exclusively, because a sole reliance on praise can foster mediocre performance and a lack of direction.
4. The coaching leader
“Try this.” He/She develops people for the future. It works best when the leader wants to help teammates build lasting personal strengths that make them more successful overall. It is least effective when teammates are defiant and unwilling to change or learn, or if the leader lacks proficiency.
5. The coercive leader
“Do what I tell you.” He/She demands immediate compliance. It works best in times of crisis, such as in a company turnaround or a takeover attempt, or during an actual emergency like a fire. This style can also help control a problem teammate when everything else has failed. However, it should be avoided in almost every other case because it can alienate people and stifle flexibility and inventiveness.
6. The democratic leader
“What do you think?” He/She builds consensus through participation. It works best when the leader needs the team to buy into or have ownership of a decision, plan, or goal, or if he or she is uncertain and needs fresh ideas from qualified teammates. It is not the best choice in an emergency situation, when time is scarce or when teammates are not informed enough to offer sufficient guidance to the leader.
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