Different leadership styles and when you should use them

leadership stylesleadership styles
leadership stylesleadership styles


Different leadership styles and when you should use them

As the owner, manager or CEO of a company, the way you lead your employees may need to change on a regular basis according to the situation. Some of the best leaders choose their leadership styles as particularly as a golfer would a club, with the aim of using the best tool to achieve their end goal.


The leader that sets the pace

The pacesetting leader expects and models self-direction and excellence from their employees. It is a style that works best when the team is already motivated and skilled, and the leader needs quick results.

This style is best used for a team that is able to perform well under pressure and is already motivated to perform at the highest level possible. Small business owners would benefit from this leadership style, as many employees in a small business are unsure of how to act and need someone to set the pace. However, if this leadership style is used extensively, team members could become overwhelmed and stressed.


The leader who coaches

Often, workloads and targets can cause employees to disregard self-development and productivity burnouts can become a common occurrence. The leader who coaches understands that this is unfair to employees and will provide opportunities to talented individuals to upgrade their knowledge.

This leadership style is a great all-around style to use on a daily basis for your team. Not only will you improve employee morale by helping to improve a stagnating environment, but you will also boost productivity levels and increase the talents and skills of your staff. Being a leader who coaches makes you approachable, and allows your employees to grow within the company.


The democratic leader

A democratic leader is a leader who understands that a successful employee-manager relationship is a two-way street. If you are a democratic leader, you build consensus in your employees by actively participating and by asking for input, suggestions and participation from the team.

If democratic leadership could be summed up in one phrase, it would be, ‘What do you think?’ It is a collaborative leadership style that is good to use when you earnestly need input from your employees on certain issues. This is not an ideal leadership style to use in situations when the time is of the essence or when employees are not informed enough on issues to offer constructive ideas.


The authoritative leader

Rather than being someone who demands attention from all employees, an authoritative leader is someone who mobilises the team toward a common vision and focuses on end goals. This leadership style inspires an entrepreneurial spirit, and encourages enthusiasm in employees.

This style works best when a team needs a new vision due to changing circumstances or when there are no solid guidelines laid out by clients and employees are confused about where to start. You will encourage your staff with ideas and a basic guideline of where to start their journeys. This is not a good choice if the team you are working with has more knowledge than you on a topic.


The affiliative leader

An affiliative leader works hard to create emotional bonds with his or her employees, making stressful situations easier to deal with. When teammates need to heal from a trauma or from a loss of a client, having an affiliative leader can be helpful and soothing.

Being an affiliative leader may not be the best choice for a daily basis, as it can become unprofessional and cause your employees to lose respect for you and your decisions. This leadership style is not needed to reach business goals but is best reserved for highly stressful times at work or when serious change has occurred in the office.


The leader who coerces or commands

Coercive or commanding leadership is a style in which the manager or CEO demands immediate compliance from their employees. This is useful in times of crisis or when there is a time-limit set on a client’s brief, but it can be seen as a militaristic way to manage staff.

While being a coercive or commanding leader can spur performance when your staff needs to deliver in a short space of time, it is not advisable to use this leadership style as your go-to method of managing employees. It can foster fear in your employees when dealing with you, which can make business dealings uncomfortable and slow productivity.


Choose your style carefully

Choosing your leadership style should be taken seriously, and you will need to judge the situation and make your choice accordingly. If your employees need motivation and guidance, you could choose to be a leader that sets the pace. If you realise that your staff needs coaching in order to uplift themselves from a stagnant workplace, a coaching leadership style is a good choice.

You should avoid using coercive or negative leadership tactics too often, as this could cause unhappiness in your office. Speak to your employees in order to understand what they need from you at a certain moment in time and you will soon be able to choose a leadership style to suit the situation.

leadership styles