Most companies claim to want employers who can be strong, effective leaders, but in reality, that can mean a lot of different things. Figuring out the best type of leadership style for you and the people you work with can be confusing. These six common leadership styles all have strengths, weaknesses, and situational strong suits. Read through each of them and learn which style suits you best.
The commanding leadership style is what we tend to think of as pushy and dictating. It is characterized by having a “do what I say” mentality within a group, and particularly in American culture, group members tend to feel like their opinions don’t matter. The commanding leadership style gets a bad reputation in the U.S., partly because it’s a bit too monarchical for our freedom-loving country. But, in reality, this leadership style can be effective, particularly when emergency situations call for quick judgments and immediate decisions.
The visionary leader typically musters the ability to mobilize and energize a group toward a particular goal or vision. This style is best when a project needs revamping and new vision. The visionary is successful when he or she gets the group to want and strive for a particular vision, but when the visionary is all vision and no details, the group may have a hard time finding the steps to get to the vision.
The affiliative leader cares about the people they’re leading. Affiliative leaders tend to focus on the emotional needs of the group over the specific needs of a project or goal. This type of leader is best in situations where group healing is needed or stressful group dynamics have occurred, but it may be a negative leadership style for stressful or urgent projects that require confrontation and fast decision-making.
The democratic leader tries to listen to everyone’s opinions and gain input on all dynamics of a project. This type of leader easily gets group support by ensuring that everyone’s opinions matter, but it may have a hard time reaching decisions or meeting goals. The democratic style is best when there’s plenty of time and when you need employee support and buy-in.
The pacesetting leadership style is great for when your workers are highly motivated and challenged already. This style is characterized by the leader setting exciting and challenging goals for the workers to get a project done. This type of leader does have to have the capability of accurately perceiving the dynamics of the group and applying goals and tasks accordingly, so it’s not always appropriate.
Like the affiliative leader, the coaching leader is people-centric. This type of leader focuses on showing each team member their strengths and weaknesses to help them with career aspirations and to build their team skills. This type of leader can come off as a bit of a micromanager, but is ultimately a great kind of leader for long-term goals and management.