Style#1 Visionary Leader
Style#2 Commanding Leader
Style#3 Pacesetting Leader
Style#4 Democratic Leader
Style#5 Affiliative Leader
Style#6 Coaching Leader
1. The Visionary Leader
People using the Visionary leadership style are inspiring, and they move people toward a common goal. Visionary leaders tell their teams where they're all going, but not how they're going to get there – they leave it up to team members to find their way to the common goal. Empathy is the most important aspect of Visionary leadership. When to Use It
Visionary leadership is most effective when the organization needs a new vision or a dramatic new direction, such as during a corporate turnaround. However, it's less likely to be effective when you're working with a team more experienced than you are – here, democratic leadership is more likely to be effective. This leadership style can also be overbearing if you use it too often. How to Develop It
To develop a Visionary style, focus on increasing your expertise, vision, self-confidence and empathy. Get excited about change, and let your team see your enthusiasm. You also need to convince others of your vision, so focus on improving your presentation skills.
2. The Commanding Leader
Commanding leaders use an autocratic approach to leadership. This style often depends on orders, the (often unspoken) threat of punishment, and tight control. People in modern, democratic countries are used to having a level of control over their lives and their work, and this approach deprives them of this. What's more, because this leadership style is so often misused, it can have a profoundly negative effect on a team. When to Use It
The Commanding leadership style is best used in crisis situations, to jump start fast-paced change, and with problem employees. How to Develop It
Be cautious when setting out to develop a Commanding leadership style. Remember, this style is very easily misused, and should only be used when necessary. To work effectively in these high-pressure situations, learn how to manage crises, think on your feet, and make good decisions under pressure.
3. The Pacesetting Leader
The Pacesetting leadership style focuses on performance and meeting goals. Leaders using this leadership style expect excellence from their teams, and often the leader will jump in him or herself to make sure that goals are met. The Pacesetting style doesn't coddle poor performers – everyone is held to a high standard. While this can be a successful style, it can have a negative effect on the team, leading to burnout, exhaustion and high staff turnover. When to Use It
The Pacesetting leadership style is best used when you need to get high quality results from a motivated team, quickly. How to Develop It
Because the Pacesetting style focuses on high performance, learn how to improve the quality of your team's work using techniques like Six Sigma and Kaizen. Train your people properly, and engage in high-performance coaching to help them become as effective as possible. You may also want to work on your motivation skills, so that you can get the best from your people.
4. The Democratic Leader
The Democratic leadership style focuses on collaboration. Leaders using this leadership style actively seek input from their teams, and they rely more on listening than directing. When to Use It
This style is best used when you need to get your team on board with an idea, or build consensus. It's also effective when you need your team's input. The Democratic leadership style shouldn't be used with people who are inexperienced, lack competence, or aren't well informed about a situation. It's best to ask for input from team members who are motivated, knowledgeable and capable. How to Develop It
To develop a Democratic leadership style, involve your team in problem solving and decision making, and teach them the skills they need to do this. You should learn active listening and facilitation skills.
5. The Affiliative Leader
The Affiliative leadership style promotes harmony within the team. This style connects people together, encouraging inclusion and resolving conflict. To use this style, you must value the emotions of others, and put a high value on their emotional needs. When to Use It
Use this style whenever there is team tension or conflict, when trust has been broken, or if the team needs to be motivated through a stressful time. How to Develop It
Leaders who use the Affiliative style are highly focused on emotion. So, learn how to resolve conflict and how to be optimistic. Our article on managing emotion in your team will also help.
6. The Coaching Leader
The Coaching leadership style connects people's personal goals with the organization's goals. A leader using this style is empathic and encouraging, and focuses on developing others for future success. This style centers on having in-depth conversations with employees that may have little to do with current work, instead focusing on long-term life goals and how these connect with the organization's mission. This style has a positive impact on your people, because it's motivating, and it establishes rapport and trust. When to Use It
The Coaching style should be used whenever you have a team member who needs help building long-term skills, or if you feel that he or she is "adrift" in your organization and could benefit from a coaching or mentoring relationship. However, coaching can fail when it's used with an employee who is not making an effort, or who needs a lot of direction and feedback – here, pacesetting or commanding leadership may be more appropriate. How to Develop It
To develop a Coaching style, learn how to engage in informal coaching and mentoring. It's also important to get to know the people on your team. When you know your people, you're better able to see when they need guidance or advice.
According to Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee, there are six emotional leadership styles – Visionary, Coaching, Affiliative, Democratic, Pacesetting, and Commanding. Each style has a different affect on the emotions of the people that you're leading. Each style works best in different situations, resonating differently with your team, and producing different results. Anyone can learn how to use these leadership styles. But it's important to remember that these styles are meant to be used interchangeably, depending on the needs of your team, and the situation.