leadership style

Which Leadership Style Fits You Best?

Daniel Goleman, author and psychologist found six distinct styles of leadership based on his research and knowledge of various emotional intelligence. Understanding the effectiveness and downfalls of each leadership style can help leaders learn how and when to apply them.  It will be challenging, but will pay off in productivity. When you decide which leadership style fits you best, there is no right answer. Instead a mix of the six styles is the most effective solution.

The Coach Leadership Style

The coach leadership style is focused on the potential of the team as much as their current capabilities.  They work one-on-one with employees to reach excellence.  If the goal is immediate, this may not bear fruit in time to meet the current deadline.  However, in the future this team will be stronger and more effective spawning more leaders than other teams might.

The Pacesetter

The pacesetter is a leader who garners respect.  They walk the walk and talk the talk every day setting standards and examples for the team. But because they are incredibly high achievers, no one else can maintain their pace.  This type of leader often burns through subordinates and has a high turnover rate.  

Democratic Leader

Every member of the team has a say in the workflow.  While the work tends to be more collaborative, there is much more time spent in meetings.  As a result productivity is much slower too. Sometimes, it can feel like no progress is made when the team can’t agree on the method of production.

The Affiliative Leadership Style

Affiliative leadership style
Affiliative Leadership Style

This leader is all about their people. They take the time to form a connection with their people and to get to know them well.  There is a downside of this leader too.  While praise is in abundance, actionable direction or correction is rare.  Team members under an affiliative leader can begin to feel leaderless, and employee development is haphazard.

The Visionary

Authoritative leadership gives the team a goal and a general direction.  How the team achieves that goal is up to them.  While visionary/authoritative leaders can be inspiring, if team members don’t have enough training to achieve the goal, it can be frustrating and ineffective.

The Commander

Command Leadership Style
Command, or Directive Leadership Style

A Commander, also known as directive leader, is coercive in their approach.  This is a get things done now, which works great when the situation is urgent.  When a fire that needs to be put out, the commander leadership style can resolve the problem quickly.  Though it works well when the situation is urgent, over prolonged periods of time, this type of leadership burns out employees.  It is most effective when reserved for critical situations.

What if Your Leadership Style is a Mixture?

If you’ve begun to feel like you don’t fit perfectly into any category, relax.  It’s actually better to use the style of leadership that fits the situation and the team.  If you inherit a new team that is struggling to unite, the coach can develop the team to prepare them for future goals.  When your team has a critical deadline, bringing out the inner commander might be the fastest way reach the goal.

CommandReady leadership development doesn’t pigeonhole anyone into a specific leadership style.  We guide our members to recognize and develop their own strengths.  Pairing your own strengths with that of your team strengthens leaders even more.  From there, understanding of the right leadership approach for the individual and the situation grows.  Got comments or questions?  Welcome!  Contact us or check out our leadership development programs here