I found a great article this morning from the site FastCompany.com called 6 Leadership Styles, and when you should use them. The article is based on a study by Daniel Goleman. The study called Leadership that gets Results appeared in the 2000 Harvard Business Review but you can read the highpoints for free here. Goleman found 30% of a company’s bottom-line profitability stems from the manager’s leadership style. Most of us have a particular style with which we are most comfortable. The study shows long-term success is reliant upon the ability to utilize the appropriate style based on current conditions and goals. I summarized the styles below.
- The pacesetting leader expects and models excellence and self-direction. This is the “do as I do, now” style. This is great for an already motivated and skilled team and quick results are needed. If it is overused it can overwhelm team members and squelch innovation.
- The authoritative leader mobilizes the team toward a common vision and focuses on end goals, leaving the means up to each individual. This is the “come with me” style. This is best when the team needs a new vision because circumstances have changed and inspires an entrepreneurial spirit and enthusiasm for the mission. It is not ideal if working with a team of experts who know more than the leaders.
- The affiliate leader works to create emotional bonds that bring a feeling of bonding and belonging to the organization. This is the “people come first” style. The affiliate leader is best in times of stress or when the team needs to rebuild trust. Sole reliance on the praise and nurturing from this style can cause mediocre performance and a lack of direction, so it should not be overused.
- The coaching leader develops people for the future. This is the “try this” style. This style effectively builds lasting personal strengths in teammates making them more successful overall. It is not affective with defiant teammates, teammates unwilling to change, or a leader lacking proficiency.
- The coercive leader demands immediate compliance. This is the “do what I tell you” style. This is most effective in times of crisis, company turnaround, takeover or during an actual emergency such as an earthquake or fire. This style controls a problem teammate when everything else has failed but should be avoided in nearly every other situation. The coercive leader tends to alienate people and stifle flexibility and inventiveness.
- The democratic leader builds consensus through participation. This style is summed up as the “what do you think” phase. The democratic leader is most effective when the leader needs the team to buy into or have ownership of a decision, plan or goal. It also works when the leader is uncertain and needs fresh ideas from qualified teammates. It is ineffective in emergent situations, when time is limited, or when teammates are not informed enough to offer sufficient guidance.