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6 Leadership Styles and How to Leverage Them

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There are a number of leadership styles, but it is not sufficient to simply master one. It is likely you will have to learn how to utilise a few styles depending on the circumstances. A leader should have the emotional intelligence to choose the correct leadership style depending on the situation, the team and their own personality.

Here are 6 Leadership Styles you should try to incorporate into your management style:

1. Visionary Leadership

When your organisation needs a new direction, visionary leadership style is perfect to move people towards a shared view. It's about getting your team to understand where the company wants to go.

This style promotes autonomy and innovation. A visionary leader encourages experimentation and creates a culture where failure is accepted.

Tip: Don't be afraid to ask your team for help. This will encourage a greater diversity of ideas and will empower your team when the time is right to implement them. It also helps them to become visionaries too.

2. Coaching Leadership

This style is about guiding a person to improve and contribute to the team as best as they can, so that they can meet their own personal objectives. Focus on a person's strengths, not tackling their weaknesses. It's about helping them evolve, not dictating what they should do every step of the way.

As a coaching leader, you need to challenge a person so that they can grow and give them the advice, support and tools needed to succeed.

Tip: As a manager, focus on the growth and evolvement of your employees. Try to schedule monthly one-on-ones where you'll be able to ask them about their challenges and improve upon their strengths.

3. Democratic Leadership

When you need to make an important decision, and you aren't sure which direction to take, use a democratic leadership style. As a democratic leader, you will give everyone on the team an equal say in the decision-making process.

When you ask the team for their input, consider all the ideas put forward. Let your team know that you spent time reviewing each idea and appreciate the time they took to think about the challenges and possibilities.

Tip: It is all about creating group alignment towards a result so stress this in your one on one and group meetings.

4. An Affiliative Leader

Affiliative managers try to create a more harmonious work environment where everyone works well with each other. They make connections in their organisation and fix disagreements among their employees.

Tip: If team members don't get along well, regular team building activities are a great way to bring the team closer together.

5. Pacesetting Leadership

There can be times, for example when a company goes through changes, when you expect your team to go above and beyond to achieve shared goals. You might use a pacesetting style during these periods, setting goals for your team and expecting that they will be reached no matter what. This leadership style is demanding, and for it to not be detrimental to the team, it's best used in short bursts. It's important to let your team know that even though you are expecting a lot from them, it's only temporary.

Tip: The trick is to balance this style with recognition. Recognise their efforts both individually and collectively.

6. Commanding Leadership

Commanding leaders lead with fear, they are usually perceived as cold and emotionless.

This style could be used only in crisis, as most of the time, it has extremely negative effects on company culture and is highly ineffective.

It's generally recommended to avoid using the commanding leadership style.

Tip: Instead of commanding your employees, inspire participation and clearly explain the situation. They will understand what needs to be done.


It's important to bear in mind that there isn't a single perfect approach to leadership and depending on a situation you'll most likely end up using all of them eventually. Also, remember that just because you are a manager it doesn't mean you have to do everything alone. It's ok to ask your team for help and empower your team to become leaders themselves too.

Empower your employees to become great leaders, too. A leader doesn't need to be in a position of authority to have an impact.

Enabling your employees to become leaders themselves will create a more productive and autonomous environment for your team.