Many people have qualified different styles of leadership; even more have debated which is the best style. Instead, consider carrying these with you like a multi-tool or swiss army knife. They will always be there; you just need to choose the right tool for the situation. During the normal operation of one’s organization they will probably become comfortable with one or two styles that come together with their personality to create the kind of leadership they will be known for. But all good leaders need to adapt to whatever is in front of them.
The pacesetting leader is one who says, do as I do now. This is also known as leading by example and often what people consider leadership to be. However, if your team are only ever doing as you do, there is no room for innovation or growth.
The authoritative leader demands come with me. This style is great for when a new vision or direction is needed. Often when an organization needs immediate change this is a great style to get your team motivated and moving in one direction.
The affiliative leader tells us that people come first. This style is often needed if there are tough times in the company and team members are hurting. It is nurturing, but too much nurturing leadership can weaken performance if team members come to rely on the leader too much.
The coaching leader encourage us to try things. This is a successful style when trying to establish a chain of leadership and responsibility in an organization. This kind of leader identifies his team members’ personal strengths and helps develop them, but it won’t work with a team that doesn’t want to learn or develop.
The coercive leader demands do what I tell you. This style of leadership is widely considered to only be a good choice in emergencies when decisions need to be made and executed swiftly. In long term use it will alienate team members.
The democratic leader asks what do you think? This is a great style for generating new ideas, team building or leadership building. It may not always be productive in everyday use as it slows things down.