6 leadership styles: Which is best for your team?

1. The Visionary Leader 1. The Visionary Leader

The Visionary Leader guides people toward a shared vision, telling them where to go but not how to get there. He encourages, openly shares information, arming his team with knowledge to succeed. However, such a style may fail to motivate more experienced experts or peers. It is best suited when a new direction is needed. Expert Marian Iszatt White identified typical phrases which represent the six styles:

In a phrase: ‘Come with me.’

Impact on workplace: Powerful

2. The Coaching Leader 2. The Coaching Leader

The Coaching Leader consistently mentors and joins individual goals with those of the organization. This could include time outside the workplace as well. He excels at delegating assignments and tying employees’ strengths with career aspirations and improving performance, thus generating high loyalty in return. Overdone, this style could be seen as micro-managing.

In a phrase: ‘Try this.’

Impact on workplace: Highly positive

3. The Affiliative Leader 3. The Affiliative Leader

The Affiliative Leader hones in on emotional needs over work needs. She creates harmony within the organization by working collaboratively and inclusively. While she may struggle in distressing situations which require negative feedback or a strong stand, this style complements visionary leadership. It is best suited for healing rifts and moving past stressful situations.

In a phrase: ‘People come first.’

Impact on workplace: Positive

4. The Democratic Leader 4. The Democratic Leader

The Democratic Leader listens to and values input from his entire team to encourage participation and promote consensus in the workplace. This style works best when you need buy-in or require clarity for a situation. However, this manner of leading could seem like a lot of talk without action.

In a phrase: ‘What do you think?’

Impact on workplace: Positive

5. The Pace-setting Leader 5. The Pace-setting Leader

The Pace-setting Leader demands and often represents excellence. He builds challenge and sets exciting goals for his team, expecting poor performers to put their nose to the grind to improve. However, he rarely coaches or guides employees, preferring to complete a task himself to meet or beat a deadline. This style functions for a highly motivated and competent team; but backfires with a team of mixed capability and can create stress and resentment. Often this style may drive short-term results, but cause exhaustion over the long-term.

In a phrase: ‘Do as I do, now.’

Impact on workplace: Often negative because it is often done poorly

6. The Commanding Leader 6. The Commanding Leader

The Commanding Leader assuages fear and brings calm by giving clear directions and expecting full compliance. He can seem cold and distant because most communication is one-sided. This approach works best during a crisis when you need immediate action and with problem employees who don’t respond to other styles.

In a phrase: ‘Do what I tell you.’

Impact on workplace: often negative

7. We want to hear from you! 7. We want to hear from you!

Which of the six leadership styles most closely matches your own? Which would you ascribe to your boss or CEO? How do you think the positive and negative aspect of those styles affect your team or your organization as a whole? What would you change about those styles to help your team/organization be more successful? Join our discussion on LinkedIn to share your thoughts.

Strong managers and CEOs customize their leadership styles, finding the most appropriate technique for their team and situation. In their book “Primal Leadership,” authors Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee describe six leadership styles that have different effects on the emotions and work output of the employees they manage. [Images: Thinkstock]

Already a subscriber? Log in here