My own definition of leadership is this: The capacity and the will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence.
~ General Montgomery

Effective leaders know there is not a “one-size-fits-all” leadership style to use for every situation. Leaders, like organizations, must be flexible and nimble. They must adjust to fit the needs of the people they are leading and the challenges and opportunities affecting the organization, at any given time. Following are six leadership styles and when they should be used. Mastering these leadership styles, and using and combining them to their maximum potential, will help propel you from a great leader to a truly exceptional leader!

  • The Affiliative Style – The affiliative style of leadership uses the collaborative power of teamwork and works to form bonds among team members and build trust within the group. This style is best when group harmony is needed and teams are the most effective means of accomplishing organizational goals.

  • The Coaching Style – The coaching style of leadership is a one-on-one leadership style. This leadership style is effective for times when you want to develop the skills or knowledge of a specific employee. The challenge with this style of leadership, however, is to prevent it from being seen as micromanagement. Instead, approach this style as more of a mentorship relationship with the employee.

  • The Democratic Style – The democratic leadership style taps into the power of your employees, using their collective wisdom and experience to help make decisions and decide on direction. One of the benefits of the democratic style is it naturally creates group buy-in on the decisions that are made. However, when a quick decision is made, waiting for a consensus from the group, with the democratic style, may not be the most efficient form of leadership.

  • The Visionary Style – As the name implies, the visionary style of leadership centers on developing and promoting the vision for the organization. This is the style you should use when you need to move your organization in a new direction. This style of leadership doesn’t worry about the details about how the organization will get to their new destination, but instead focuses on where they are going and exciting others about this new destination.

  • The Pacesetting Style – “Do as I say AND as I do!” is the motto of the pacesetting leader. This leadership style is effective when you can be a role model for employees on how to exceed expectations and really go above and beyond in your duties. The primary challenge with this style is it can lower the morale of your employees, if you’re constantly outshining them.

  • The Commanding or Coercive Style – Again, the name says it all in this style of leadership. Using the commanding leadership style is a simple “do as your told” style. Militaristic in approach, this style is typically the least effective. This may be an appropriate style when there’s an organizational crisis or when no other methods have worked with a difficult employee.

About Colleen Kettenhofen, Leadership Expert

CREDENTIALS: Colleen Kettenhofen is an international workplace and employee management expert, award-winning corporate trainer, and conference keynote speaker. A media veteran, she has appeared on numerous radio shows around the country and has written more than 40 popular articles on diverse workplace issues. Colleen has delivered more than 1,100 entertaining programs in 48 states and five countries. She is the author of 10 published audio programs and two books including SECRETS YOUR BOSS ISN’T TELLING YOU.

Colleen Kettenhofen is available for keynotes, breakout sessions, and seminars by calling (623)340-7690.