Effective leadership demands adaptability. Leaders must draw from a range of leadership styles, selecting the most appropriate one for each team, person or situation. In this blog, we’ll explore six leadership styles, what each style entails, when to use it, and providing a brief example for context.

The Visionary Leader

What it is: A visionary leader sets a compelling vision for their team or organisation. They inspire and motivate by communicating a clear, inspiring picture of the future. Story telling can be a powerful tool when communicating vision.

When to use it: This style is particularly effective when embarking on a new venture, aiming for transformation, or seeking to align a team around a common goal.

Example: Imagine you’re tasked with revitalising a stagnant project. You paint a vivid picture of the project’s potential, igniting your team’s enthusiasm and commitment to the renewed vision. This inspires them to work with passion and enthusiasm towards that exciting goal.

The Coaching Leader

What it is: A coaching leader is a mentor and guide, focusing on personal development within the team. They provide regular feedback and support for team members’ growth. Coaching builds trust between leader and team/direct report.

When to use it: Use this style when you want to develop individual team members’ skills, foster their potential, or build strong, supportive relationships.

Example: You notice a team member struggling with a particular skill. You offer constructive feedback and mentorship, enabling them to grow and develop their abilities.

The Affiliative Leader

What it is: An affiliative leader prioritizes a harmonious and cooperative work environment. They build strong bonds within the team, offering praise and support to create a sense of belonging. This leadership style is a powerful developer of strong culture in teams and organisations.

When to use it: Employ this style to build culture and team dynamics, boost morale, or create a positive and inclusive work atmosphere.

Example: During a particularly stressful period with competing deadlines, you take particular care to ensure all of your team are ok, that anyone who needs support or a break receives it, and that all members of your team are looking out for each other.

The Democratic Leader

What it is: A democratic leader involves team members in decision-making processes, valuing their input and opinions to create a sense of empowerment. Importantly, the leader is still ultimately required to make the final decision if consensus is not met.

When to use it: Utilise this style when making collective decisions, seeking diverse input, or fostering a sense of ownership and responsibility. It can also be used when the leader is unsure about which way to go, and therefore relies on input from the team.

Example: You need to make a crucial project decision. Instead of making the choice unilaterally, you gather the team for a discussion, encouraging everyone to share their thoughts, recognising that diversity of opinion leads to better decision making.

The Pacesetting Leader

What it is: A pacesetting leader sets high standards and leads by example. They are performance-oriented and expect the team to meet demanding expectations.

When to use it: Apply this style when your team needs a model of excellence or when aiming for rapid results. To be used sparingly and only when needed, as it can leave people behind and see them disengage.

Example: In a project with tight deadlines, you consistently demonstrate exceptional work ethic and precision, motivating your team to match your performance, ultimately achieving remarkable results.

The Commanding Leader

What it is: A commanding leader is directive and assertive, providing clear and direct orders, often suitable in crisis situations or when quick and decisive action is needed.

When to use it: Employ this style in emergencies, urgent situations, or when there’s a need for a firm and assertive approach.

Example: In a sudden crisis, you take command, issuing clear instructions and directing the team with authority to address the issue swiftly and efficiently. It could be you are about to lose your biggest client and need to meet a number of demands in a short time period, or the emergency evacuation of a building.

In Summary – be an adaptable leader

As a leader, your effectiveness hinges on your ability to adapt – to select and employ the right leadership style for the right situation. These six leadership styles provide a versatile toolkit for leaders to draw from. Whether it’s painting a vision, mentoring for growth, building a harmonious environment, fostering collaboration, setting high standards, or taking charge in emergencies, your adaptability and communication skills are paramount to your success. Leadership is a dynamic journey, and mastering these styles will enable you to steer your team towards success.

If you or your team would benefit from enhancing leadership styles and leadership skills, please book in for a free, no obligation Discovery Session, email us at info@full-potential.com.au, or call us on +61 412 403 373. We’d love to chat with you!