The Six Leadership Styles

How many shoes do you have in your closest? You probably have shoes for a specific occasion, outfit or season. You most likely have a favorite pair of shoes that you wear more often than others and a pair you have only worn once or twice; a pair for comfort and a pair for confidence. Leadership styles are a lot like shoes. Leaders will find they prefer some styles more than others and that a few styles can be really uncomfortable. Just like shoes, there is style for every occasion.  

According to psychologist Daniel Goleman there are six effective leadership styles: visionary, affiliative, democratic, coercive, pacesetting and coaching. Each style is based in emotional intelligence and requires that a leader be aware of their emotions and the emotions of those around them in order to alter their style to best fit the situation at hand.   

Here is a breakdown of each style.Visionary: The visionary leadership style helps move people toward a common goal. It is inspiring and motivating. Visionary leadership provides direction or creates a new vision which can be useful when your chapter or organization is in need of a change.

Affiliative: The affiliative leadership style focuses on creating emotional bonds between members and puts people first. This style of leadership is necessary when members need to feel a sense of belonging and trust. It is useful during stressful times, such as recruitment.

Democratic: This style relies on the ideas of others and a leader's most useful question can be, "What do you think?" Participation from others is the most important part of the democratic leadership. It can be a useful style when trying to get the chapter or group to buy into or have ownership of a goal or project.

Coercive: There is no asking with the coercive leadership style, only telling, and this style can be perceived as aggressive. It requires that a leader give orders and demand action. Coercive leadership should be used sparingly and is best employed in crisis situations, such as an emergency.   

Pacesetting: Pacesetting leadership is best used with chapters or teams that are highly motivated. These types of leaders set high goals for themselves and for others. If used too frequently, it can be overwhelming and cause burnout, but short-term pacesetting is effective for taking your chapter to the next level or successfully completing an event, such as Crescent Classic.

Coaching: This style requires that leaders have in-depth conversations with their members to help connect their personal goals with the goals of the chapter or company. The coaching leadership style closely resembles counseling and is both encouraging and empathetic. This style of leadership is motivating and builds trust with your membership.

You may only recognize one or two of these styles in your own leadership but all of these can be learned and practiced. Which style do you use the most? Which leadership style do you think you respond to best?