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  • Writer's pictureManale

Styles of leadership depicted

Updated: Sep 5, 2022

Leadership is one of the key factors in deep relation with the success and failure of a given organization. In this post, we will describe the types of leadership and the situations in which they can/should be used.

Depending on the authors, leadership styles can be categorized in 5 or six styles. Indeed, many authors describe different types of leaders. According to modern leadership styles (Harris et al., 2007), leadership styles can be categorized into five. As for Goleman et al. (2000), they describe six different types of leaders as shown in the Figure below.


Leadership styles acts directly on people’s emotion and their effect is dependent on the way they are applied and used. Each style has strengths and weaknesses depending on the situations in which it is applied. According to Goleman and his co-authors, one must vary the types of exercised leadership type from time to another. Indeed, the six styles should be used correspondingly according to the situation and its specific needs but also as a function of the people the leader is dealing with, their expertise, position, and characters.

Coercive Leadership Style

It is commonly referred to as “directive” or “commanding” leadership. The commanding leader soothes fears and gives clear directions via his/her powerful position, commanding and expecting full compliance. They need emotional self-control for success and can appear cold and distant.

When to use it

This approach is used best in times of crisis when you need unquestioned rapid action and with employees who do not respond to other methods. This style could be used during disasters or dealing with under performing employees, or for enforcing health and safety compliance improvements under law.

Authoritative Leadership Style

It is known as “visionary” leadership. The visionary leader guides people in the direction of a shared vision. The leader tells them where to go without proposing how to do it - thus motivating them to fight forwards and reach the business objectives. They openly share information and giving knowledge power to others. These leaders can encounter failure in case they try to motivate their peers or more experienced expert.

When to use it

This style can be used when a new direction is required. It allows to people and managers to establish a vision and think about the way forward. Overall, it has a very strong influence on environment.

Affiliative Leadership Style

The affiliative leader connects people within the organization and harmonize their exchanges and their coexistence. It is a collaborative style preferring emotional needs over work relationships. It avoids emotionally stressful situations such as negative feedback, which can be considered as a shortcoming in some situations. Indeed, all types – positive and negative - of feedback are essential to allow business and people progress. this type of leadership is often used together with visionary leadership.

When to use it

This type of leadership is best used for filling gaps and overcoming tense situations.

Democratic Leadership Style

The democratic leader values inputs and commitment by participating, and carefully listening to all kinds of news – bad and good ones. When done badly, it leads to a lot of listening but with very slight adequate and effective actions.

When to use it

It is best used to enhance peoples’ engagement to the business strategy and when simple inputs are required. Remember, decisions still have to be made, so effective decisions are a must. It has a positive impact on work atmosphere.

Pace setting Leadership Style

The pace-setting leaders build challenge and exciting goals for people, expecting excellence and often demonstrating it themselves. They have the ability and capability to recognize poor operators/performers and ask more of them. If necessary, they interfere and rescue the situation themselves. They quickly get short term results. However, over a long period this style can become annoying and irritating and leads to decline. When done badly, it shows signs of a lack in self-management competencies and emotional intelligence.

When to use it

It is best used to get results from a motivated and competent team that has worked for a long time on a specific matter. Indeed, it allows the leader to pace the things and bring them to a higher level.

Coaching Leadership Style

The coaching leader connects needs to the organizational goals, helping people find strengths and weaknesses and tying these to career ambitions and actions. They are good at delegating challenging projects, demonstrating trust that demands justification and which leads to high levels of loyalty. When done badly, this style bears a resemblance to micromanaging.

When to use it

It is best used to allow peoples building long-term capabilities and competencies. It is also a receptive style but leaders using it need to be careful with overuse, and avoid working harder than the "mentored" person.

In conclusion, many leadership styles are possible; All of the have some advantages but also some inconvenient. The best way to lead a business is by combining different leadership styles and using them according to the situation and the people to be followed up and led.


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