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What are the 7 leadership styles?

We all know that strong leadership is the key to business success. In fact, every company needs a good leader to motivate teams, leverage talent, make decisions, and mentor employees… to pursue the company’s vision and goals. However, this doesn’t mean that there is one generic type of leadership that applies to every business success. In other words, leaders use different leadership styles to achieve their objectives.

This requires the flexibility to switch between different types of leadership styles, which is not always intuitive or easy.

Usually, people use leadership styles based on their preferences, personalities, and backgrounds. And it is a good thing to do! That’s because identifying what type of leadership style works best for you is part of being a good leader.

However, relying on one style of leadership can hinder the growth of your company and employees. So, to boost leadership effectiveness, it is important to integrate different leadership techniques and develop an adaptable style. This will help you adapt and make better decisions when faced with sudden changes and situations.

Well, in this article, we’ll explore 7 different leadership styles and help you identify your own style as a leader.

Let’s dive in!

Here are the 7 styles of leadership

Autocratic leadership

Autocratic leaders construct a distinct vision of the final result and how to get there. They establish precise guidelines and clear expectations for what should be done, when, and how. These leaders typically anticipate that their subordinates would follow their directives without question or delay.

However, autocratic leaders don’t always think of themselves as “omnipotent” who are superior to others. Their leadership attitude stems from their focus on achieving good results.

That’s why they have an obsession-like drive to achieve effective outcomes through activities that they feel are best for the company. Sometimes, an autocratic leader would even consult a small circle of trusted peers before making a decision. This means that this type of leader value cooperation and learning from others’ perspectives. 

Pacesetting leadership

Pacesetting leaders like to get their hands dirty and be part of the action. Usually, they encourage their team members to do their best and overcome challenges. Leading by example and establishing high standards, they motivate employees to work harder, perform better, and achieve greater results.

Also, pacesetting leaders are very energized individuals. Whether meeting deadlines or creating a new product/service, the objective is often to effectively generate outcomes. 

However, this form of leadership fosters a high-pressure climate that not all employees can handle. So, leaders must create a management model that keeps employees motivated without burning them out. This is very essential to maintain a healthy work environment, ensuring good performance & desirable outcomes.

Transformational leadership

Transformational leaders are visionary individuals with a deep commitment to the success of their organizations. They lay out the company’s future direction, goals, and desired outcomes. Then, they use their forward-looking vision & transformative spirit to motivate and engage their team.

That’s why team members of transformational leaders feel empowered and encouraged to push themselves beyond their comfort zones. In turn, this contributes to their own professional growth and the success of their company. 

Transformational leaders also create a safe space where employees provide their opinions & ideas on how to accomplish shared objectives. This alone promotes creativity and innovation among team members… which in turn yields effective solutions, better performance, and good results.

Coaching leadership

Coaching leaders are talent navigators. In other words, these leaders help individuals identify & hone their professional talents, strengths, and skills. Similar to sports coaches, coaching leaders provide their teams and individual employees with the guidance necessary for them to realize their greatest potential.

Coaching leaders identify and develop a person’s strengths via frequent feedback. They also provide inspirational guidance to strengthen a person’s skills & minimize inadequacies. 

Similar to transformational leadership, coaching leadership focuses on employees’ long-term potential and how their individual ambitions fit into the company’s overall vision.

Democratic leadership

Democratic leaders AKA participative leaders always seek feedback from their team before making a decision. Put another way, Before choosing a formal course of action, the leader may raise an issue and request solutions from the entire team. 

Here, the intention is to create an open discussion among team members. In return, that promotes group inclusion and involves everyone’s opinion to whatever the final result may be. This leads to creative and innovative solutions that help the company reach its desired outcomes.

As the name suggests this style of leadership gives everyone an opportunity to voice their opinions & ideas… on how to achieve a common goal(s).

However, it is important to note that the final decision is always for the leaders to make.

Affiliative leadership

Affiliative leaders prioritize the needs of their team. They are very supportive and aware of their employees’ emotional and professional demands. The ultimate goal of this leadership style is to foster harmony and build collaborative and cooperative relationships among team members. Although the majority of choices are made by the team, the leader is still involved. To boost individual and group confidence, affiliative leaders frequently employ compliments and assistance.

So, we can say that the key difference between affiliative leadership and the other styles is that it puts employees first. Contrastingly, most of the other leadership styles focus mainly on generating good results.

Delegetive leadership

Laissez-faire or delegative leaders give the bare minimum of direction. Accordingly, employees are given the freedom to approach challenges in their own unique ways. Also, before giving team members the go-ahead, a competent delegative leader should establish clear guidelines and expectations. 

Moreover, delegative leaders should be accessible to discuss choices as required while the team is making them. They should also keep an eye on team progress and offer regular feedback. 

In other words, this type of leadership pushes employees to improvise and develop a sense of independence when faced with challenges. 

Final thoughts

When it comes to leadership, there are different styles. This means good leadership doesn’t have one specific definition or recipe. Accordingly, good leaders use different styles and techniques to lead their teams and achieve business success.

In other words, effective leadership lies in finding a harmonious mixture of different leadership styles & techniques. This way, leaders will be adaptable to every new situation or challenge. Also, they will be able to make better decisions and stir their companies & teams toward success & growth.

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