Leadership styles vary greatly from one person to the next. These different methods and attitudes can have an impact on your business. It’s important to understand common leadership styles and how to effectively incorporate them into your workforce.
So many differences can be a positive and a negative. If not taken into consideration, you could wind up with personality clashes and people who aren’t living up to their fullest potential. However, if the leaders within your organization promote consistent performance, the organization benefits in the long run.
Common Leadership Styles at Work
Leadership style affects many factors, including productivity, motivation, engagement, morale, and effectiveness on the job. It can also have an impact on employee retention.
The first step is to understand your leadership style as well as those of your employees. This will help you figure out how to best adapt to optimize the positive qualities of each approach.
- The Democratic Leader
A democratic leader believes that every team member’s opinion is important. This approach can be great for employee morale because it makes everyone feel like they are being heard. Problems can arise when balancing opinions with direction. Having a leader who is reluctant to make decisions on their own can make a company feel lost and directionless.
Another setback of the democratic method has to do with being outvoted. Even though allowing everyone to vote on a change or decision sounds fair, you will eventually encounter someone who feels resentment when their choice or preference is outvoted.
Situations that allow time to build a plan and hold votes among team members who are highly skilled and eager to share their knowledge is usually best suited to democratic leaders. When applied properly, it can make employees feel like their contributions matter and open the organization to new ideas that might not otherwise be heard.
- The Coaching Leader
A coaching leader is one with an eye for strengths and weaknesses. They focus on bringing out the best in their team. They tend to focus on motivation and encourage everyone to improve. Coaches usually practice goal setting and are more inclined to supply regular feedback or present new challenges to their teams.
This can be one of the most beneficial leadership styles but is often one of the most underutilized. That’s because it takes more time to administer effectively. Projects with short deadlines and fast-paced environments may not be a good fit because a coach needs the time and space to dive into empowerment and skill development with their staff.
- The Authoritative Leader
An authoritative leader is one who uses a strong hand when making decisions. They tend to enforce rigid lines when it comes to performance, conduct, and progress. Employees are more likely to become fearful of an authoritative leader because they are more likely to face backlash in case of a mistake or missed goal.
These factors can hurt employee morale if not balanced with coaching and motivation. Authoritative leaders can be very effective in settings with hard goals, like sales quotas. However, it is important to make sure that other styles are incorporated to ensure that employees understand goals and that fair timelines and expectations are set.
- The Pacesetter Leader
A pacesetter leader pushes their team to work harder through their own actions. They are the ones setting the bar when it comes to productivity. They are usually high performers, which gives their team something to strive for.
The downside is that constantly pushing to reach high goals can lead to burnout for those around the pacesetter. Motivation drops when workers realize that they cannot realistically keep up. They stop trying and may even reduce their productivity.
Pacesetters excel when they are paired with coaches to help others build skills and increase performance while staying motivated and engaged.
- The Affiliative Leader
The affiliative leader takes a very different approach compared to their authoritative counterpart. They prefer to build friendships with their team and fellow leaders. This is a great way to nurture a positive work environment. They tend to be viewed as approachable and are often trusted, which makes others more willing to discuss issues or concerns with them.
The downside is that friendships can complicate working relationships. It’s harder for an affiliative leader to take disciplinary action or handle potentially negative situations like layoffs. Negativity among workers can also appear when someone is bypassed for a promotion despite being friends.
- The Laissez-faire Leader
The laissez-faire leadership style can work – in the right situation. This approach is very hands-off. The leader prefers to sit back and let their team work with little to no guidance or supervision.
Feeling free to work without micromanagement or scrutiny can improve morale and make employees feel more relaxed, but it can also make them feel lost. Workers that require some direction will miss the guidance they need to be successful.
This leadership style works best among teams of self-motivated people who are highly skilled. These are individuals who can work without constant feedback and instruction and will remain on-task.
- The Transactional Leader
A transactional leader uses rewards to boost motivation. Tasks or goals are usually presented, with something given upon completion. For example, reaching a sales quota to receive a bonus. This style focuses solely on performance results.
Employees will receive frequent feedback and reviews with clear expectations that can help them along. It also creates opportunities to discuss setbacks, improvements, or corrections. The downside is that transactional leaders tend to promote the status quo, which can leave little room for new ideas and experimentation.
- The Transformational Leader
The transformational leader wants to bring about change in the organization. They look for areas that could be improved. They will collaborate with staff and peers to determine what needs to be changed and how to go about doing it.
This style can be a very valuable asset if applied properly. Transformational leadership nurtures growth and betterment. It helps staff find ways to adapt to changing markets or environments.
Problems can arise when a transformational leader encounters an employee who is averse to change. The employee is less likely to remain motivated and engaged.
Nurture Leadership Through Employee Training
While each leadership style has benefits, it also has potential problem areas. In many cases, balancing one style with elements of another can strengthen your team. One way to do that is through leadership training.
If you don’t already, you should consider including this in your employee training curriculum. The right LMS can help you administer training on an ongoing basis, allowing you to harness the full potential of your team. Visit LMS.org and read our learning management system reviews to find out which platform will give you the best results.