What's your leadership style?

What’s Your Leadership Style?

Have you ever wondered how your employees or your team look at you as a leader?

Your leadership style can make a huge difference in how successful you are at motivating people to complete certain types of projects or learning new skills at work. A better understanding of how you lead others can only have a positive influence on your career.

Although there are countless types and subtypes of leadership styles, these six descriptions are used and referred to often:

Authoritative/Visionary. Authoritative or visionary leaders are focused on the problem at hand, but not too worried about the method of solving it. They’re looking at end goals and allow their team to innovate and work out their own processes for reaching them. This type of leader is perfect for inspiring enthusiasm among a team, but doesn’t do as well when the team they’re trying to motivate is made up of experts that have a great deal more experience with the subject matter than they do.

Affiliate. Leaders who demonstrate an affiliate style try to create emotional bonds and promote a real team atmosphere. When projects have failed or the team is on shaky ground, an affiliate leader can bring them back into a cohesive whole. However, since this leadership method emphasizes team performance over individual accomplishments, some workers may perceive affiliate leaders as being tolerant of mediocrity.

Democratic. A team that thinks together stays together, or so the democratic leader would have them believe. They lead through consensus, deferring to the team for help in determining the direction of a project. Democratic leadership can be invaluable when you have the time to make slow, group decisions, but if you’re handling an emergency or your team doesn’t have much experience with the subject matter at hand it’s not the best choice.

Coaching. When you have a lot of experience in your area, coaching can be a great way to connect to your team members on an individual basis. Instead of focusing on the group, a coaching leader focuses on developing individual team members and helping them connect their professional goals to the goals of the team. Employees who aren’t interested in personal or professional growth may perceive coaching as excessive micromanagement, however, so it’s best used with highly motivated team members.

Pacesetting. Talented teams that are already motivated and skilled can benefit from a pacesetting leader. Instead of just telling these teams what to do, a pacesetting leader models the behavior they expect, as well as demonstrating the high standards they require. Although this leadership style can be highly beneficial to the right group, too much of it with the wrong team can create a toxic work environment where employees feel like innovation is being squelched and that they are consistently failing to live up to expectations.

Coercive/Commanding. Stiff and domineering, coercive or commanding leadership is one of the oldest and least flexible leadership styles. Instead of relying on praise and team building, coercive leaders command their workers and correct problems through criticism. This approach may be effective in times of crisis or when you’re forced to correct a problem employee and should be considered a leadership style of last resort.

What’s your Leadership Style? Knowing a little more about leadership styles can make it easier to understand why your team responds to you in the way that they do. Of course, most people use a combination of leadership styles, so if you’re still not getting the results you’re after, trying out another form of leadership better suited to the situation might make all the difference.

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