Understanding Leadership Styles: What Do you Want to Be Known For?

How exploring leadership styles can take your leadership to the next level.

In my executive and leadership coaching experience, clients often seek ways to improve their leadership effectiveness. Understanding various leadership styles—identifying your own, learning how they function, and blending them—can significantly enhance your leadership impact. Here are key points to consider:

1. Learn the Leadership Style basics

There are several different leadership styles that can be utilized when managing a team or organization, including:

  • Autocratic Leadership: Decisive leadership without team consultation, effective in crises but may lower morale.
  • Democratic Leadership: Emphasizes collaboration, fostering creativity and ownership among team members.
  • Transformational Leadership: Inspires teams towards extraordinary results by empowering and developing members.
  • Transactional Leadership: Utilizes rewards and punishments for goal achievement but may lack long-term motivation.
  • Servant Leadership: Prioritizes team well-being and development, creating a supportive environment.
  • Laissez-Faire Leadership: Provides autonomy, promoting creativity but requiring effective management to avoid confusion.
  • Charismatic Leadership: Inspires and influences through strong communication and vision.
  • Pacesetting Leadership: Sets high standards personally, motivating others but risking burnout without balance.
  • Affiliative Leadership: Fosters harmonious collaboration through approachability and empathy, but risks exploitation.
  • Coaching Style Leadership: Focuses on developing strengths through mentoring and feedback.

2. Learn how to adapt—and why

Once you have pinpointed your leadership style, it can be tempting to solely rely on it. However, to maximize your effectiveness, it’s vital to acknowledge when adaptation is necessary to meet the demands of a situation. For instance, a crisis may demand swift, authoritative decision-making without team input, while another project might thrive with minimal intervention. Effective leaders understand that success isn’t tied to a single style but involves the ability to flexibly employ various approaches as needed.

3. Cultivate agility in your leadership—regardless of leadership style

Effective leadership is about being able to adapt one’s leadership style to meet a situation and our team’s needs, but it’s also about employing agility. While adapting is about accepting change, agility refers to managing, guiding, and driving that change. All leadership styles will benefit from promoting agility. To ensure your team can not only adapt, but be agile, it’s important to:

  • Prioritize learning and questioning—both in and outside of your teams’ comfort zone.
  • Allow for mistakes and setbacks to be meaningful opportunities.
  • Practice cross-departmental feedback and a growth mindset.

Effective leadership is about identifying your leadership styles, the ways your style may need to adapt to changing situations, and how to promote agility across your team. A certified coach can help you explore the different styles and how you can become the leader you want to be.

Elevate your Leadership Style and Potential

To learn more about leadership styles and executive coaching, reach out to Ann for a consultation.