6 Highly Effective Leadership Styles to Use in Your Business

Being an effective Chief Executive Officer (CEO) takes more than managing chaos, original thinking, a hunger for knowledge and strong team building and communication skills.

In fact, the best leaders have a distinct leadership style and a way of doing things that supports and nurtures a business’s full potential.

It’s this leadership that’s key to business success. The best CEOs aren’t merely ‘leaders’ – they’re people others want to follow.

Every successful CEO has their own leadership style. Although efficiency, agility and resilience are still essential to the mix, emotional intelligence and leadership focus are also among the core components needed to drive results and truly lead.  

According to a study done by Harvard Business Review, a business’s leadership styles can contribute to 30% of its profits. Leadership equals success. Businesses who can mix various leadership styles can benefit from better direction.

If you want to yield more efficient results, it is beneficial to understand and apply characteristics from different styles of leadership. Emotional intelligence expert Daniel Goleman has identified six leadership styles with distinctive characteristics that businesses may find useful.

1. Authoritative Leaders

Do you use goals and targets to drive team results? Authoritative CEOs move people towards a vision through leading by example. Their focus is on expected work, rather than people, and is inspired by enthusiasm for individual and team success.

Although authoritative leaders are quick decision makers their leadership style can sometimes cause friction. Such leaders are also usually the sole decision maker within a business.

The Who:

Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Martha Stewart and Adolf Hitler are examples of authoritative leaders.

The What:

Characteristics of CEOs with an authoritative leadership style include confidence, quick crisis management and a willingness to accept any challenge. However, a tendency to micromanage and not allowing employees to problem-solve independently can be a downside.

2. Coaching Leaders

CEOs who use a coaching leader style mentor and encourage their team.

They coach staff to build on strengths and develop people for the future. Because coaching leaders are very driven, they inspire fierce loyalty and happy employees.  

The Who:

Nelson Mandela, who inspired and encouraged through leadership. However, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg have also employed coaching leadership styles throughout their careers.

The What:

Coaching leaders are open to giving things a go and are experienced, highly competent and knowledgeable. Although they are capable of multiple roles, this leadership style isn’t effective to emulate if you lack proficiency.

3. Coercive Leaders

CEOs that pride themselves on intuition and creativity should avoid this leadership style.

Coercive leaders are rarely popular because they can stifle the creativity and ideas from other staff. However, their ability to get the job done quickly and efficiently is almost unparalleled.

CEOs with this leadership style will have a “I’m the boss” attitude. They demand immediate compliance through a ‘do what I say’ boldness, which can be helpful for high-pressure situations.

The Who:

Leaders with coercive personalities can be destructive. However, Steve Jobs is an example of a CEO who has effectively used all six leadership styles. When Jobs was the CEO of Apple initially, he used a coercive style to get the perfection he required. When he returned to the position, his maturity and confidence had grown which allowed his leadership style to adapt and change accordingly.  

The What:

Coercive leaders have tough characteristics and expect compliance without question. This leadership style is helpful when a business is in trouble or there’s a need for crisis management.

4. Affiliative Leaders

Affiliative leaders take a more positive approach than coercive CEOs.

They cultivate a culture of loyalty and belonging, putting the team and its people first. CEOs with this leadership style build emotional bonds and encourage everyone to work together to win.

The Who:

Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer at Facebook, is recognised as an affiliative leader because of her compassion and team-first approach.

The What:

As the social glue of the business, affiliative leaders have strong team building skills. Whilst they may have a tough time dealing with conflict, they create a harmonious team environment where people enjoy coming into work.

5. Democratic Leaders

This leadership style forges consensus through participation. Democratic CEO’s are focused and always looking ahead to concur future stages of business growth.

Democratic leaders draw on people’s skills to build a team who are united behind the same goal. They use their leadership skills to tap into the collective wisdom of a group, encouraging team contributions and a consensus-building approach.

The Who:

Founders of Google Sergey Brin and Larry Page, as well as Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai, are examples of when democratic leadership works.

The What:

Democratic leadership styles aren’t suitable for crisis situations. However, democratic leaders are most effective when a business needs fresh ideas from qualified team mates.

6. Pacesetting Leaders

Leaders who follow the pacesetting approach lead by example and deliberately set high performance standards.

Pacesetting leaders are play makers and expect excellence and self-direction. They use quick wins and challenging short term objectives to achieve results.

The Who:

In Steve Jobs’ early days at Apple, he switched between coercive and pacesetting leadership styles. His creativity and diligence paid off, but he would become domineering if his high standards weren’t met.

The What:

This leadership style is naturally intense, which can be overwhelming for some people. Although pacesetting leaders are necessary to improve business standards, they can create a highly competitive and unhealthy work culture.

Taking a team from ordinary to extraordinary means various leadership styles need to be understood and embraced. However, the most effective leaders, will cultivate characteristics of each style to adapt to different business situations. What leadership style works for you? Leave your comments below.

Author Bio

This article is written by Jayde Ferguson, who recommends Future Institute of Australia – A professional leadership, customer service/sales and business training company. You can catch her on Google+.

Author: Jayde Ferguson

Founder of Toward Music, Jayde is a scripturient with a consuming passion to write. With 12 years experience as a freelance music journalist, she’s also a dedicated writer in the business industry with an undying love for typewriters & street press.

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