Daniel Goleman suggested that there are a total of six unique leadership styles – and these six different leadership approaches will affect organizational performance and results differently. Therefore, understanding of these different leadership styles can be important. That is not to mention that understanding about these different leadership styles will also offer guidance how an effective leader switches between these styles seamlessly and also uses a combination of these styles depending on the business situation. The six distinctive styles of leadership are: coercive, authoritative, affiliative, democratic, pacesetting, and lastly, coaching style.
The Coercive Style. Leaders whom practicing a coercive leadership style are those who seek immediate compliance by employees. He can be often quoted to say things such as ‘Do What I Tell You’. Often, the managerial power and authority is used as the main control mechanism to demand the workforce to perform something. Such a leadership style is the least effective one, primarily due to the top-down decision making process. The main drawback of such leadership style is that it stifles the contribution of ideas and the creativity from the bottom level of employees.
The Authoritative Style. The authoritative style leader has a vision, and he motivates the workforce by communicating how everyone fit into the larger organizational context. Leaders with such a leadership style often able to command commitments from the workforce, towards achievement of the company’s vision and missions. It is said that such a leadership style works well in most of the business situations, particularly when managing and leading change in the organization is in progress. However, pursuing such a leadership style when leading a team of experts may not be relevant, if the leader is less knowledgeable or experience than the professional knowledge staffs under his team.
The Affiliative Style. The affiliative-style leadership approach is mainly people-oriented. The leaders may value individuals and their respective emotions more than the assigned tasks or company’s missions. Very often, the leader aim to ensure the employees are happy and human relationships within the group is of harmony. Such a leadership style often enhances trust within workforce, and encourages sharing of ideas. The leader will also provide much flexibility to the employees on how to carry out their respective tasks. However, as such a leadership style focus exclusively on praise and value human relationships more than missions, many wrong doings and underperformance by the employees may not be corrected or addressed sufficiently.
The Democratic Style. The democratic style leader builds mutual trust, respect and commitment by negotiation with his people. By allowing his employees to participate and involve in decision making process that affect their objectives and how they perform their work, such a leadership style can promote flexibility and responsibility within workforce. Researchers are claiming that such an approach is ideal when a leader is uncertain about the best move to take and require ideas, assistance and guidance from the workforce. However, the drawback of this style is that it can cause endless meetings where ideas are critically debated, but consensus is not achieved. When this happens, people will end up confused and leaderless. Secondly, such a leadership style is not rational to be used when workers are not competent or properly informed to offer good advice or suggestions.
The Pacesetting Style. Such a leader often set overly high performance targets is highly obsessive about completing things better and faster. The leader will pinpoints the poor performers and demands better performance from them. If the poor performers remain weak and unable to meet the leader’s expectations, he will be replaced. This destroys the organization climate, as employees feel overwhelmed by pacesetter’s demand for excellence and their morale drops. Such a leadership work best when the employees are largely self-motivated, such as in the situation of a professional consultancy or legal firms. However, such a leadership style may cause huge tension and stresses that can de-motivate employees.
The Coaching Style. By utilizing a coaching leadership style, the leader assists the employees to identify their respective strengths and weaknesses, and to include such issues in their personal and career plan. The leader will give a lot of feedbacks and instructions to the workers. Although such a leadership style sound reasonable and logical, it has several limitations as well. Firstly, such leadership style is seldom employed because the leader often does not have any time to slowly coach the employees. Secondly, such a leadership style is inappropriate when the workers are habitually lazy or reluctant to improve. Besides, such a leaderships may not be relevant when the workforce is stubbornly resist against any new changes.