No single style is more important than any other. What is important, is to be aware of the six essential leadership styles.
In today’s competitive business environment, leaders face a daily challenge to exceed expectations. The ability to remain focused and proactive, while steering the ship with a steady hand and delivering results requires Leadership Presence. Unquestionably, a nimble ability to adapt to the shifting swings in corporate life is a mandatory component.
At Corporate Class Inc., we recognize that Leadership Presence requires this repertoire of leadership styles for varying situations. Consider playing a round of golf with just one club – would you play a good game? Likely not. The same holds true for a repertoire of leadership styles. While golfers must learn to choose from 14 different clubs for every shot, aspiring leaders are faced with only six leadership styles.
Leadership Presence for aspiring leaders
It’s imperative to understand that there is, indeed, a learning curve. It’s steep, but attainable. One of the first principles of Leadership Presence is that there is no single profile:
“There’s a tendency to equate leadership with command…yet leadership comes in many forms.”
— Dr. Kathleen Kelley Reardon, USC management professor, leading corporate consultant, author and blogger (Excerpt from The Secret Handshake)
These six styles are applicable to any company, any industry and any culture
Although studies have shown that leaders typically have a very narrow range of styles, according to Harvard University findings these six styles create an optimal toolkit and equip people for every situation:
1. Visionary style
A Visionary style provides short, and long-term vision, direction and goals. It’s a style that cannot be overused but it’s most effective paired with other styles to influence employees by explaining both the organization’s interests and employee interests.
2. Participative style
A Participative style invites employees to participate in the development of decisions and actively seeks opportunities for consensus. It is often characterized as a supportive style. A Participative style does not reward individuals but the group as a whole.
3. Coaching style
A Coaching style encourages long-term development of employees. Leaders should know the individual short and long-term development goals for every team member and strive to help them achieve their objectives. A coaching style is logical and persuasive; it relies on careful explanations and reasoning.
4. Affiliative style
An Affiliative style focuses on people, not results – and places emphasis on developing relationships with employees.
5. Pacesetting style
A Pacesetting style leads by example in an atmosphere where there is little patience for poor performance. Pacesetters actively jump in and steer, instead of delegating.
6. Directive Style
A Directive Style uses tight control and demands immediate compliance of employees. It provides instruction, not direction, by telling employees what to do.
What’s important to understand is that when it comes to Leadership Presence, the emphasis is on having a full repertoire of styles. Visionary, Participative and Coaching are all categorized as “long-term styles.” They may be applied in combination and set the tone for sustained productivity.
Affiliative, Directive and Pacesetting are categorized as “short-term.” These three are often effective in highly emotional, difficult and extreme situations. Consider the golf club analogy. Some, like the sand wedge, have very specific and limited application and this applies to short-term leadership styles.
Learn more about our Leadership Presence workshops for corporations and individuals.