It’s no secret – the country is in need of strong leadership.
When it comes to leading a team, one size does not fit all. However, there is no right or wrong leadership style.
Every leader has their own unique voice and individual approach to people and projects.
It is important to realise that different styles may work best at different times, and to achieve different things.
Some leaders are strict, while others are lenient, some are mellow while others are high-strung.
Here, Synapse360 explores the six styles of leadership, their benefits and drawbacks:
1. Authoritative leadership
This is a visionary leader. They lead a business into their vision of what success could look like.
Authoritative, or autocratic, leadership works best when a team needs strong direction.
While an authoritative leader may come across as strict or controlling, they are able to make quick decisions, and every member of their team will know exactly what is expected of them and how they are to perform.
This type of leadership identifies the challenges ahead and focuses the team on a common goal, yet allows individuals to decide how their efforts will get the desired end result.
Of course, drawbacks include employees feeling like they are not personally valued, reduced motivation among team members and an increased risk of employee rebellion.
2. Coercive leadership
Coercive leadership – also known as transactional leadership – follows a “do what I say” motto.
Like a sergeant leading his troops onto the battlefield, this leader is armed with bucket-loads of initiative and balanced with self-control.
This style works well if there is an immediate crisis, a teammate is out of control, or the organisation requires an immediate overhaul.
There are never any surprises around expectations and outcomes! Transactional leaders set clearly defined short- and long-term goals, as well as rewards and consequences for meeting or not meeting those goals.
However, coercive leadership should be used sparingly because it stifles creativity and enthusiasm.
This approach leaves little room for flexibility and team members may end up feeling like followers rather than innovators or leaders in their own right.
3. Democratic leadership
A democratic leader is all for the people! They let their team have input in decisions and share their ideas.
In all decisions, the leader has the final say, but democratic leaders make decisions based on the input they receive from their team.
From polls to surveys, to feedback to questionnaires, a democratic leadership style relies heavily on the views and opinions of their team.
These leaders are typically able to incorporate the broad spectrum of ideas, views and input from valuable employees, leaders and stakeholders to their advantage.
However, this approach can cause a time-consuming decision-making process and poor choices as a result of bad advice from the wrong people.
A democratic leadership style can be a great choice for a smaller team or a team composed of similarly skilled members.
4. Pacesetting leadership
This type of leader has high expectations and wants tasks completed yesterday.
Pacesetting leadership works if the team is already motivated and skilled in their roles, and don’t require much coaching.
There is no time to learn on the job or teach someone a skill with this leadership style.
However, a pacesetting leader must tread with caution as they could intimidate and unknowingly pressure employees, resulting in burnout.
5. Affiliative leadership
An affiliative style of leadership puts people first, concentrating on creating a harmonious working environment and building emotional bonds.
This approach – which requires lots of empathy and the ability to build relationships – is helpful during stressful circumstances. It can also help to motivate team members to push through tough times as well as heal rifts in a team.
On the flip side, this leader can struggle to understand how to improve poor performance and may be more hesitant to provide advice.
6. Coaching leadership
Like the name suggests, this type of leader thinks long-term and focuses on developing others.
Coaching leadership is most effective when employees are receptive to change and learn.
Pushing the bar for consistent growth, while empowering their mentees to learn the skills that will drive the business forward, every step is progress for a coaching leader.
This type of leader understands their team and wants to bring out the best in people.
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